German Mountain Activity Group

This post is a reminder of the German Mountain Activity Group (GMA), which I have mentioned previously on my site.  The GMA group is dedicated to amateurs who enjoy outdoor operation.  The GMA also offer a number of award certificates which are well worth applying for.  The GMA website can be located at….. gma_title-009 There are currently 434 amateurs registered on GMA.  But there are only three from Australia: myself, Nick VK3ANL, and I am unsure of the other? Screenshot 2014-09-14 20.00.12 Mountain award (MA) certificates are offered to both activators and chasers.  There is also the Mountain Challenge (MC).  The GMA Mountain award commenced on 1st April, 2012, so only contacts on or after that date count towards the award.  You can apply for the GMA award certificates online, and also keep track of your award certificate progress on the GMA website. Screenshot 2014-09-12 23.19.26 The GMA points scoring system is different to the SOTA scoring system.  In GMA a summit is definable when it is 100 metres or higher. Each full height of 100 metres is awarded a point. Examples: 120 metres = 1 point, 700 metres = 7 points, 1299 metres = 12 points. For the GMA program, I am currently sitting on 398 activator points, and 9,600 chaser points.  I need a further 102 points to obtain the 500 point Activator certificate, and a further 400 points for the 10,000 point Chaser certificate. On the GMA website you can view a GMA ‘Honour Roll’ in 2 formats: Activation by Points, and Activation by QSO.  I am currently in 53rd position for the Activation by points, and 32nd position for the Activation by QSO. There is also a Region hoppers list.  Nick VK3ANL features on this list and is in 15th position with 11 different regions activated.  I have activated a total of 7 different regions. There is another really neat feature, where you can click on ‘act. Summits‘ in the left hand column.  This will take you to the Adventure Radio mapping site, and show you on a world map, where your SOTA activations have been. Screenshot 2014-09-13 10.24.55 To get started, simply upload your Summits on the Air (SOTA) logs to the GMA site.  Once having done this, you can view some very interesting statistics relating to your SOTA activations and SOTA chasing.  Many of those statistics are not able to be viewed on the SOTA website. Tonight I rechecked my SOTA statistics on the GMA site and found that I have undertaken a total of 70 SOTA activations.  However, I checked the SOTA database, and 10 of those are double ups.  In other words, they are activations that overlap the UTC rollover.  Prior to the instructions from the SOTA MT, I was submitting 2 logs for activations involving the UTC rollover. Screenshot 2014-09-13 12.04.20 Screenshot 2014-09-12 19.13.33Activator. I have not been active at all with SOTA activations during 2014.  In fact I’ve had just 7 activations this year, compared to 63 activations last year in 2013.  My lack of activity hasn’t been for a lack of desire.  I’ve just been so busy at work and had other commitments, that my mountain top activities have been curtailed. pieChart_jpg I have accumulated a total of 1,754 QSO’s during those activations (1,437 in 2013, and 317 in 2014).  All my QSO’s have been on HF.  I’ve never had a VHF/UHF contact.  I have activated summits with Ian VK5CZ who has operated on those bands, but I’ve never taken hold of the VHF/UHF gear.  And all of my contacts have been SSB, despite some strong encouragement from Ian VK5CZ to have a go at CW.  Of the 1,754 contacts, 1,527 of those (87.1 %) have been on 7mhz on the 40 metre band, whilst 227 contacts (12.9 %) have been on 14mhz on the 20 metre band. pieChart_jpg My total operation time is 79.4 hours (3 days and 7 hours) with an average operating time of 68.1 minutes.  I can’t believe I’ve dedicated all that time.  Perhaps if I asked my wife, she would say, ‘yes you have!‘.  Marija has accompanied me on many activations.  What is interesting, is that the average number of QSOs per activation is up from 22.8 in 2013, to 45.3 in 2014.  Perhaps a testament to the popularity of the SOTA program in Australia. The most QSO’s have come from 2 activations at Mount Gawler VK5/ SE-013, otherwise known as Mount Nigel (VK5NIG), and 1 activation at Tothill Range VK5/ SE-010 in the mid north of South Australia.  On 12th January 2014, I activated Mount Gawler and obtained a total of 61 contacts.  And I reactivated Mount Gawler on 27th April 2014 and obtained 54 contacts.  My one and only activation of Tothill Range was on the 18th May 2013, when I obtained a total of 55 contacts.  I was only new to SOTA at that time and I recall working quite a bit of DX from the summit with my meagre 5 watts. Screenshot 2014-09-12 21.29.21 During my short SOTA life, I have activated from four associations:

  1. Germany – Low Mountains DM
  2. Belgium ON
  3. Victoria VK3
  4. South Australia VK5.

So I am just 1 association off reaching the SOTA Bronze Mountain Hunter certificate.  I was fortunate to activate a German summit and a Belgium summit during my recent trip to Europe.  Many thanks to my good mates Marnix OP7M and Eddy ON6ZV.  I managed 51 contacts from each of those summits, which were also in World Wide Flora and Fauna (WWFF) areas.  In 2013 I journeyed over to Victoria and activated 11 summits with a total of 374 contacts. I have activated a total of 50 unique SOTA peaks around the world. pieChart_jpg My most regular activated summit is Mount Lofty, VK5/ SE-005.  Not surprising, considering Mount Lofty is just 15 km to the west of my home.  This is followed by Mount Gawler, VK5/ SE-013, which is also close to my home.  Mount Gawler is inaccurately recorded as Mount Gowley with GMA. Screenshot 2014-09-12 21.27.49 My most regular chaser is Peter VK3PF with 38 contacts, closely followed by Ernie VK3DET with 37 contacts, and then Peter VK3FPSR with 33 contacts.  Brian VK5FMID comes in at number four, followed by Col VK5HCF.  A total of 620 different operators have made contact with me whilst I have been on a summit.

Screenshot 2014-09-12 21.40.21

Once you have logged in to the GMA site, and you click on ‘Activator Log’ in the left hand column, you can view your activator progress.  You can either select specific years or all of your activator history.  There is a ‘Rate’ column where you can rate a summit for its access, etc.  There is also a ‘WWFF mailed’ column.  Here, with the click of a button, you can mail your log to the relevant World Wide Flora and Fauna (WWFF) co-ordinator, should your SOTA activation have been within a WWFF area.

You can see from the image below, that as I have previously mentioned, the GMA points system is different to that of SOTA.  Mount Lofty for example, is worth 7 GMA points, but only 4 SOTA points.  Bonus points are issued for activations ‘during the months of November, December, January and February’.  Each activation is awarded an additional 3 winter bonus points.  Clearly these months are not winter months in Australia.  It is our spring time and summer time.  I have pointed this out to the GMA organisers.  However, remember, GMA was originally for German activations.  Just like the issue with the SOTA Database not considering us down here in Australia with the UTC roll over issues we have all experienced.

Screenshot 2014-09-13 09.51.25

In the colin marked ‘Rate’, you are able to rate a summit.  Ratings are from 1 + bad to 5 + excellent.  The rating involves ease of access, noise levels, etc.

The green ‘i’ icon in the ‘cdx’ column indicates that there is information available from the DK0WCY aurora beacon during the time of the specified activation.  This information includes the SFI, and the A and K indexes.

By clicking on the ‘red’ diamond in the ‘WWFF mailed’ column, your log will be automatically sent to the relevant WWFF co-ordinator, should our activation have been in a WWFF area.


Unfortunately, my chaser statistics do not match with those recored on the SOTA database.  The SOTA database shows that I have worked a total of 467 unique summits.  However the GMA database shows that I have chased a total of 424 unique summits.  I will follow this up with the GMA co-ordinators as there have been prior issues with data that has been entered via GMA.

Thanks to the many keen European and United Kingdom activators who are now listening for Australian SOTA chasers, I have worked the following DXCC entities:

  1. Germany
  2. Spain
  3. England
  4. Scotland
  5. Wales
  6. Hungary
  7. Austria
  8. Czech Republic
  9. Slovakia
  10. Slovenia
  11. Poland
  12. Greece
  13. Australia
  14. Norfolk Island
  15. United States
  16. Romania

GMA also record your personal milestones: DXCC’s chased, Regions chased, Region hopper, and Globetrotter (you need 5 DXCC’s activated to qualify for this). Screenshot 2014-09-13 09.02.08

Screenshot 2014-09-12 21.25.55

Peter VK3PF is well known as a very keen SOTA and parks activator.  And this is reflected in my Top 25 chased Activators.  Peter is ranked number 1, appearing in my logbook 65 times, followed by parksnpeaks author Allen VK3HRA on 52.  In third place is another SOTA guru, Andrew VK1NAM on 50.

Screenshot 2014-09-12 21.53.32

The above figures differ slightly to the SOTA database (as shown below).  The GMA database does not show duplicates, e.g. a chaser working me twice on the same day.

Screenshot 2014-09-14 21.01.31

Thanks to a number of VK5’s, particularly Nigel VK5NIG, Mount Gawler VK5/ SE-013 is ranked number 1 in my Top 25 chased Summits.  Mount Gawler is situated in the foothills of the north eastern suburbs of Adelaide and is very easily accessible.  This is followed by Mount Taylor VK1/ AC-037, and in third place is Mount Donna Buang VK3/ VC-002.  These figures differ slightly to the SOTA database.  For example, the SOTA data base shows that I have worked Mount Gawler 32 times, not 28 as indicated by GMA.  However, the GMA database only shows the 28 QSO’s where I have worked the summit for GMA points.  The other 4 are dupes, e.g. worked this summit twice on the one day.

Screenshot 2014-09-12 21.54.02

 Here is the SOTA database figures…..

Screenshot 2014-09-14 21.01.29

As per the activator feature, you can click on ‘wkd Summits’ in the left hand column, and this will bring up the Adventure Radio site and it will show all your worked summits on a map.

Screenshot 2014-09-14 19.55.48So why not register for the GMA.  It is free and easy.  There are some very interesting statistics to be viewed.  And you can earn yourself some more ‘wallpaper for the shack.