My Amateur Radio Targets for 2015 10

Last year I set myself some targets for what I wanted to do in Amateur Radio and found this to be a good way of focusing the mind in what is a very wide hobby. I blogged about my targets and more crucially reviewed them at the end of the year (see Did I Achieve my Amateur Radio Targets for 2014?), this made me publicly accountable for these targets and made me more likely to follow them through.

This post covers my amateur radio targets for 2015, it’s quite ambitious but achievable. Since getting my advanced license at the end of 2013 I’m really enjoying the practical side of the hobby and the privileges my M0 license gives me. So here we go…

Moonraker 2m Yagi and Mast

1. Use the VHF Bands

Since getting licensed I’ve almost exclusively used HF, while unfairly dismissing VHF as not having the same interesting propagation as HF. Recently I’ve realised that if anything there’s an even wider variety of propagation types on VHF than HF!

Towards the end of 2014 I started making a few tentative QSO’s on 6m and 2m; during SOTA activations and a RSGB UKAC contest. In 2015 I plan to make more use of the VHF allocations.

I’ll be using my Yaesu FT-857D for 2m/6m UKACs, 2M Backpackers Contests and some SOTA activations.

2. Start Copying CW

In 2014 I really started to appreciate just how far QRP SSB could go, so I started thinking just how far can 5W CW reach if i’m regularly hitting the US & Canada on 5W SSB? Pretty damn far I reckon!

The one fly in ointment is that I haven’t learned CW yet, so this will be my target in 2015, to at least start copying Morse.

Many SOTA activators use Morse and many have learnt it just for SOTA, so the writing is on the wall for me!

3. Have a Satellite QSO

During 2014 I became increasingly interested in Amateur Satellites, even going as far as setting up a spare Raspberry Pi to track the orbits of Amateur Satellites. During 2015 I want to have a QSO through an amateur satellite and learn more about this fascinating side of our hobby.

Elecraft KX3 Setup on Trig Point4. Reach 100 SOTA Activator Points

I started taking part in Summits on The Air (SOTA) in 2014 and really enjoyed activating various summits out /p.  As of right now I have 9 activator points, before the end of 2015 my target is to exceed 100 activator points.

This will be helped by my planned mini-DXPedition to the Canary Islands in January, here I have planned 16 summit activations and if all goes well this will net me 92 points. This is a big if, as the high scoring mountains on Tenerife and La Palma (all 10 pointers) will be tough.

5. Activate SOTA Summits in 5 Associations/Countries

My second target is related to my first one, and this is to get the Mountain Explorer Award (Bronze) for activating one summit in each of 5 associations (basically countries).

I’ve already activated summits in G (England) and CT7 (Portugal). EA8 (Canary Islands) and HB (Switzerland) are planned in for next year. I’ll also be visiting D (Germany) for a family wedding and hope to activate a summit on the alps while over.

The XYL has mentioned a visit to the Swiss Alps for an organised running event, so this should offer an opportunity or two for some activations in this association!

6. Beat G0POT’s UKAC Score

Ok, this one isn’t a target as such, but to challenge ourselves me and Michael (G0POT) will be having a friendly battle between ourselves to see who can beat the others RSGB VHF UKAC score. This ties in nicely with my other target to use the VHF bands.

My chances are slim! I have little contest experience on HF let alone on VHF and Michael is a much more seasoned operator than me. I have invested in a half decent 2M Yagi to go with my 6M Moxon and a mast with a car stand.

All January UKAC’s are out for me as I’m in the Canary Islands and my participation will also be limited to 6m & 2m contests time permitting.

We’re both QRP enthusiasts so we’ll be entering the AL (Low Power < 10w) section and I’ll be locating some choice hills near me for an advantageous VHF take off 🙂

7. Continue working Portable & QRP

2014 was the year of operating portable using QRP power for me. I want to continue this in 2015 as it was a lot of fun with simple equipment and low power (100mW SSB anyone?).

Worked All Britain have just announced a new Trigpoint award for 2015, this encourages operators to activate the 6000 trig points in the UK. There’s a cross over between this and SOTA as most summits tend to be located near a Trigpoint as well. I’ll be aiming to activate 15 trig points during 2015 to get the1st award.

Portable operating makes up the bulk of my operating now, so this shouldn’t be too hard to achieve.

8. Have an SSB QSO in German

My XYL is German and I have a smattering of German so I thought it would be interesting to try and have a QSO in German in 2015. I need to learn the usual operating routine in German and give it a go when I have QSO with a SOTA chaser from DL land.

 SoftRock Amp Circuit Board9. Build HardRock 50W Amplifier

I purchased the HardRock 50W Amplifier to go with my Elecraft KX3 in 2014, but I didn’t complete it despite having 9 months in which to do it (hey, the first half of the year was hectic and then I wasn’t very focussed after this!).

My target in 2015 is to finish this and start using it!


So 2015 will be an interesting year and I have my work cut out to achieve all of these, but once again I have foolishly publicly declared and committed myself to these targets… bring it on!

10 thoughts on “My Amateur Radio Targets for 2015

  1. Reply richard G0IAX Dec 31,2014 10:21

    hi James
    good luck in trying all that for 2015,i want to copy cw at much faster rate somewhere about 25wpm.(been saying that for 20 years hi hi)i try not to set to many targets as i never seem to find time to acdhieve them.maybe sometime in 2015 we can make a qrp sked! good luck,dx,and all the best for 2015

  2. Reply Phil Catterall Dec 31,2014 11:09

    Wow…plenty to do then – good on you! Maybe I ought to layout my ham radio plans – which mostly involve SOTA Chasing and Activating, travelling and keeping healthy doing it… I’ve got DXing and Contesting out of my system now it seems.

    Happy New Year James,

    Phil G4OBK

  3. Reply Thor Jan 18,2015 20:56

    I guess I can be your QSO partner for goal no. 8 😉

  4. Reply Tim Kerby 2M0TXK Jan 19,2015 14:51

    How much did it cost to get your Hardrock 50 shipped over here and were there any customs / VAT charges when you imported it? I’m thinking about getting one for a bit more power on my FT-817ND and trying to decide whether to spend the money on an amp or a more powerful portable transceiver

    • Reply James Stevens Jan 19,2015 16:38

      Hi Tim,

      I can’t remember exactly now but it wasn’t too bad and it didn’t attract the attention of the tax man either. It’s a good way of giving the FT-817 or KX3 a bit of extra grunt, plus you have the bonus of building the kit 🙂

      James M0JCQ

  5. Pingback: RSGB UKAC 6m Contest 27-Jan-15 ← M0JCQ's Ham Blog

  6. Reply John Coleman VK6NU Feb 24,2015 05:47

    Hi James

    I use the Hardrock 50 with the internal ATU, works great with the FT-817 with auto band switching, great piece of gear.

    Be careful and follow the instructions in order when you build, it makes sense why as you do it, it helps line stuff up later in the build etc.

    Hope we can have a qso sometime, if you hear me on a Summit from VK6, most likely I’ll have the amp connected.


    John VK6NU

    • Reply James Stevens Feb 24,2015 09:11

      Thanks John, I’m pretty far through the build now, I just need to finish it off. Trouble is I keep using my down time to go out and operate from SOTA summits 😉

      A VK contact would be great, I keep meaning to get out on a summit early in the morning to catch VK on 20m 🙂

      James M0JCQ

  7. Pingback: Did I Achieve My Amateur Radio Targets for 2015? ← M0JCQ's Ham Blog

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