Hello Ken. Sorry I haven't replied before but I hadn't found the thread. Very glad to hear that there is someone else out there with 70cm kit (even if inadvertently!) As you may have gathered I decided to start trying to qualify all my SOTA summits with 70cm fm as well as 2m about 3 years ago. The kit is a VX-7R with a 2m Sotabeam dipole which seems to work even better on 70cm! Hence I can change frequency at the flick of a button (if everything is working OK). Very occasionally I have 2 radios with me and have to just swap from one to another.
I nearly always call (and qualify if I can) on 2m fm first and ask every caller if they can work 70cm (usually on 433.475) as well as I know that getting 4 on 70cm can be difficult - and sometimes impossible. When the main pile-up has died down (if there was one!) I QSY to 70cm after promising that I will return to my 2m frequency as soon as possible. On 70cm I get, if I'm lucky, enough of my 2m chasers to qualify but often it seems to be 3 - and sometimes nil. I nearly always go quickly to 433.500 to see if I can pick up any listeners (G3XEV is the most likely person to be found - thanks John) but any answer is rare. Then I'm back to my 2m frequency and then the 2m calling channel - with a special plea for 70cm if I am short of contacts. I do occasionally get pile-ups on 70cm (Titterstone Clee and Stiperstones come to mind) and can get 17 or more contacts but this is not frequent.
I am very grateful to all those who have helped me to qualify my hills on 70cm - fellow activators (especially GW4VPX, Allan), keen 70cm chasers (M0CQE, Paul) and the many callers who aren't interested in SOTA in any way but will always give a helping hand - especially when I only need one more callsign to qualify and am obviously desperate.
I would happily join in a 70cm SOTA day if one is suggested and I am available. Meanwhile whether you are in the shack, the car or on a hill, don't forget that your cheap handy may well work on 70cm and make the contact - especially if you poke it out the window, get out of the car or even run to the top of the house and put the fishing pole out of the window (thanks for the many difficult contacts G0TDM, John!)
73 Viki M6BWA