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SOTA - From A Beginner's Perspective!

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by W5KV, May 14, 2017.

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  1. W5KV

    W5KV XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thank YOU for your service! Hooah!

    I'll keep those summits in mind, I'm sure as I venture further into SOTA, the road trips will get longer! Thanks!


    Wow! The coveted Mountain Goat! Very cool... Thanks for all your hard work! & Congrats Ray - W7USA!
  2. K0VWA

    K0VWA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Congrats and thanks for sharing. We've done two official SOTA activations (W0C/FR-052 and W0C/FR-165) and a few just for fun. You're right about it being addictive. Now we always search the SOTA site for nearby activation points wherever we go camping.
    W5KV likes this.
  3. W7JET

    W7JET Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Your welcome enjoy SOTA. For almost all the activations I have done I use a home brew linked Dipole and for the radio it's either my Yaesu FT-817 or a Youkits HB1B CW radio. I use a collapsible fish pole for the support. For 2m I use and HT with a roll up j-pole. I usually carry 3 to 4 liters of water here in the desert along with other equipment but try to keep my pack weight below 25 lbs. A normal load for me is 23 lbs. My early packs were around 32lbs till I figured out what I need and don't need.
    W5KV likes this.
  4. N9UO

    N9UO Ham Member QRZ Page

    Nice work! You're right, it is addicting. I love being outdoors and half the fun is the hike up there. Hope to work you sometime.

    W5KV likes this.
  5. KD5OM

    KD5OM Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Sounds like you really enjoyed your activation. I like to see how far I can get, on the air and climbing, and with much less gear. My only constructive advise is to LIGHTEN YOUR LOAD! No need for 8X. You could feed the antenna right from the place you are sitting and have no feedline. The TS-480 is a very nice radio but would not be my first choice to go on a hike with. You can make great contacts with QRP. And I do hope you pick up CW. Next time see if all your gear can be packed in less than 10 pounds including battery. Best of 73s and I hope to hear you on soon. Jerry KD5OM.
    W5KV likes this.
  6. W5JPT

    W5JPT Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Although at my age SOTA is out of the question, it DOES look like lots of fun.
    W5KV likes this.
  7. WD0BCT

    WD0BCT Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Congrats on your first SOTA. I've been looking into this as I'm severely limited at my home base station by a stealth antenna.
    I've taken my QRP rig with a 5AH SLAB and had fun setting up in parks and picnic areas. Reception is much better than my home base station even using an ATAS-25...however I have a difficult time being heard QRP with a limiting antenna. I'm working on a better antenna, however, peaks here in Colorado are close to tree line or above.....which means a lack of antenna support. So I'm looking at a collapsible mast and tripod. More stuff to haul.

    I'm interested in your battery. I'm thinking a more powerful transceiver than my FT-817ND might be nice but I was wondering how much your 20AH battery weighs? Is it a SLAB? If I have to haul a tripod and mast to a summit I'd like to keep the battery weight down.

    I'm retired and approaching 71 years....a man has to know his limitations! My Beagle uasually accompanies me on these I have to carry gear for her too...tether, ground anchor, food and water. QRP may be the only way for me for SOTA...perhaps a portable 100W rig for vehicle camping at lower elevations.
    W5KV likes this.
  8. W5KV

    W5KV XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    The Bioenno 20ah is just a tad over 5 lbs, their 30ah is a tad over 8 lbs if I remember correctly. In comparison, my 7.2aH SLA weighs 6 pounds! My goal is to encourage 100 watt SOTA activations - with these batteries, it's totally doable. In retrospect, for SOTA activations, I could have went with the 30aH. With SOTA - your transmit rate is much higher due to calling CQ frequently - so at 100w, I had used almost a third of my battery just after about 2 hours of operating, but this helped shave a bit over 3 pounds, I think I can shave weight elsewhere too, i.e. no more spider pole - that 12m pole isn't light!

    QRP on SOTA activations can work great too, though i'd probably opt for a bit more efficient antenna than an end fed if I do go that route! Give it a try! I started by just taking local trips to the park (some completely unsuccessful, lol)
  9. WD0BCT

    WD0BCT Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Yep....that stuff adds up quickly!
    Good to know about calling CQ often as SOTA activator. Most of my forays to local parks were trying to break into pileups or responding to someone calling CQ without a pile up so battery usage wasn't too bad. More tuning around rather than transmitting. Pileups on QRP are discouraging. You can easily tell when you are competing with big rigs. On QRP I have yet to break into a pile up. I'm reading up on QRP operating tricks to help out. Most require lots of listening and returning to a freq in hopes that the pile has reduced itself.
    W5KV likes this.
  10. KC6SOT

    KC6SOT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Congrats on your first SOTA. Sounds like fun.I didn't see were you attached your antenna at the top. The video doesn't show it. Did you also have a counterpoise?

    Bob KC6SOT
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