Posted by: GW7AAV | November 6, 2010

Sota and Pile Ups

Being on the end of a amateur radio pile up can be quite a buzz, that is one of the reason I like doing Summits on the Air activations. Recently the SOTA pile ups getting a bit out of hand due mainly to the popularity of SOTA, but also because some summits in the program also qualify for a WFF World Flora and Fauna Award. The popularity of WFF has added to the already growing pile ups that some SOTA activators are having to deal with and the frustration of long time SOTA chasers like myself.

The problem is made worse by the brainless idiots who have to call in to a pile up whatever it is for and those who do not listen. One station I was trying to work was trying to work kept telling people he was not in a WFF area and that he was working Summits on the Air, but seven separate people posted him on the DX cluster as WFF. Strange they got his callsign and name right but not the reference. The most ridiculous thing is that an hour into the activation there were still stations saying “You are 59. What is your callsign?” and “What is the event”. Two hours later the station went QRT with me having been unable to break through the pile up.
Bearing in mind this was a mid-week activation running 5 watts on SSB, he was 59 with me but I could not break though before his batteries went. I was running my normal 100 watts. More than one station gave a 59 report asked how much power the SOTA activator was running before saying they were running 2kW. One moron actually said “I turned up the power to 2kW because I was having trouble hearing you”. What planet are these guys on?

Unfortunately this sort of thing is becoming the norm and putting quite a few people off what is a great program. It is no better on CW either or so I am told and I leave you (if you don’t already know) to imagine what the weekends can be like. In some ways the survival of the program as a viable concept is only ensured because sometimes there is poor propagation to keep the callers down to a minimum. In my area two metres FM can be nearly as bad as HF but for most places this is not the case which means maybe the evolution of SOTA may be tending towards its hand held two metre FM roots. It is a two edged sword. We want SOTA to grow so we can work summits 24/7 all around the world and we like the pile ups, but we then have to deal with them without letting our frustration ruin the pleasure. At least there are not too many on 23 and 70cms although even there I sometimes wish there was. CQ SOTA CQ!

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