Today, I’ve participated in this month’s national V-UHF from Cerro de San Pedro, SOTA summit EA4/MD-020 (1425m). I arrived the summit a bit before 10:00UTC and worked until the end of the contest (14:00UTC). The equipment was the usual: a Yaesu FT-817ND and an Arrow satellite yagi antenna (3 elements in 144MHz and 7 elements in 432MHz).
Find below the map of stations worked. My location is in red, stations worked both in 144MHz and 432MHz are in green and stations worked only in 144MHz are in blue.
Propagation didn’t seem so good as in last month’s contest. In fact, if you cross check the maps of both contests, you can see the difference. A few stations complained that they were having trouble getting out in 23cm. Also, activity was lower. It seems that there is more activity earlier in the morning (around 7:00UTC and 8:00UTC), when people wake up and get a bit of radio time before having to attend their daily chores. At 13:00UTC, almost everybody had gone QRT. This is not surprising, as this time coincides with the Spanish usual lunch time.
After the contest finished, I called for about 20 or 30 minutes in 145.500MHz FM to let people have a chance to work the SOTA summit. I managed to contact 5 stations: EA4GLI, EA4BVL, EA4GMO and my friends Luis EC4TR and EA4SG with whom I had a small chat before hiking down from the summit. EA4BVL made a small test transmitting with only 200mW. He was S9+ on my FT-817ND when my yagi was pointing more or less in his direction. I tried to point my yagi off to one side to see how low his signal would get. I managed to get him in one of the nulls and lose his signal completely. However, moving the yagi 10º from this position made his signal go back to about S6. This is not so surprising, since I probably had him almost in line of sight. Still a good show of how far can 200mW get you. What is a bit surprising is that EA4GLI reported that he was also hearing EA4BVL at S9+.