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Apologies for no 2M on NW-007


After the recent thread on the problems with the input power connector on the FT817, what did I do today, break the power connector.

Today I walked up Aran Fawddwy, had a quick 2M SSB summit to summit with Caroline and Martin, then operated 60M for around a dozen contacts. When that quietened down, I wanted to go back to 2M. Now normally my FT817 is safely protected in a plastic case with cut out foam for each item. However for the 2M operation I moved closer to the trig with just an MFD and the FT817 with external supply. I must have knocked the connector, because next I am operating from the knackered internal batteries and get all of 5 seconds life. Agh! Shame as both Roger and Frank were romping in with extremely strong signals. Nothing I could do, and I had left the handie at home to save weight.

And yes Frank, we did walk back over Glasgwm, and no, we didn’t get from the col to the summit in 20 minutes.

Tomorrows job, fix the connector and also fit a new internal battery pack. I have been putting this off for some weeks, so it serves me right.




In reply to G0IBE:
Sorry to hear of your technical problems on AF. You had a good run of contacts on 5MHz, so no need to apologise for the lack of 2m activity. I managed to head off for an activation in South Wales on Tuesday with my VHF and UHF antennas sitting in my drive. I had to use my backup dipole on 2M and resort to HF to qualify the second hill.
You were a remarkably good signal on 2m,when you were working Caroline, given that you were not using a Yagi.
Glad you made it over Glasgym. It is quite a steep pull up to the summit, but worth it for the views.
I hope you manage to repair your power connector on the 817.
73, Frank


In reply to G3RMD:

And I forgot the patch lead that goes from my rig to my ATU two weeks ago when I activated G/SP-007 Fair Snape Fell…

These things happen from time to time, but with a little experience, we tend to get by :wink:


Mark G0VOF


In reply to G0VOF:

A mere patch lead Mark? I forgot the main feeder! - a 5m run of RG-213 was left in the car when I activated the Worcestershire Beacon WB-009. I had to use the RG-58U patch leads I had with me to connect the antenna to the rig which was only one metre above ground. As you say, we tend to get by… One thing I would say though is that I do now carry a full back-up system with me. I think it is very much worthwhile carrying a little extra weight when so much time, expense and physical effort has been put into getting to the summit.

73, Gerald


In reply to G4OIG:

One thing I would say though is that I do now
carry a full back-up system with me.

Crumbs! Do you carry two complete systems up each hill or do you mean you have spares in the car?




In reply to G3CWI:

Hi Richard,

I’m not Superman, nor do I have a Sherpa! I do however take a large box of kit on an activation and leave most of it in the car. Since I rarely activate just one summit in a day, I would not want to be left with nothing with which to activate the second summit.

The additional equipment that I take up the hill is not intended to replicate the main station, but provide the means to put together a reduced spec system with the aim of qualifying the summit. For example this might be based around a handheld and a backup antenna for 2m. I have had the 817 go down on a couple of occasions and coaxial connectors have failed a few times. Under such circumstances the Standard C520 handheld to the SB5 has produced entirely acceptable results, as has the 817 to its standard rubber duck. I never have just one rig with me on a summit - more like 3 or 4 sometimes!

73, Gerald


Back up is quite a good idea, but ours is less elaborate. Jimmy and I both have a Yaesu handheld clipped to our rucksack straps for easy access. Back up is therefore limited to 2m FM and a rubber duck antenna, but it is often sufficient (and not often necessary). I also carry a SMA - TNC adaptor so that the HHs can be connected to the SOTA Beam if desired.

A spare feeder can be useful as well. I have two, but only carry both if I’m doing a 2m specific activation, like a Backpackers contest. They need some attention though, as one has lost its croc clips and something is amiss with the SWR when using the other. Willl try to remember to address before the 2m AC in a fortnight!



In reply to M1EYP:

At least you are thinking about it Tom - I hope everyone else is as well. I have tried to apply the 6P principle and prepare for every eventuality… and still I had to go back to Rhobell Fawr on account of the snow. Drat, forgot the snow chains for the car on that occasion!

73, Gerald


In reply to G4OIG:

You can’t have enough backups! Perfectly demonstrated today. I abandoned all attempts at Messrs, Beinn Spionnaidh, Cranstackie, Farrmheall and Ghlas-bhein due to low cloud. 300-350m cloudbase low cloud! And rain. And dreick. And more rain and dreick. I thought I’d see if it would brighten up a bit nearer lunch time so I went up to Balnakeil Beach to play 20m with a vertical. On setting up, the antenna which was working fine at home, wasn’t resonant. After faffing about I tried my SOTA dipole. I was using a RG58 long feeder so I could sit in the car with the antenna nearer the beach. When the SOTA dipole wouldn’t work I knew it was the feeder. I’ve carried a tiny DMM up the last 160 summits and today was the first time I needed it… when I was at sea level! There were two leads, a BNC male to female and a BNC male to male. Testing with the DMM showed the male to male shield to be open. I got the tiny RG-188 extension lead I take up the summits and that was now faulty, the inner was OC. More rigorous testing showed that the OC outer was actually dirt/oxidation on the connectors and some frantic plugging and unplugging with a BNC adapter got it working.

Took about 45mins in the end. When I finally went on 20m there was the mother of all Russian contests on. Still I worked LY9Y first call. Not bad for 5W SSB when most of Eastern Europe were screaming at each other. I have to say that a vertical on a beach works rather well… VK8PDX in Alice Springs was 59+ as was JA6GCE. I wasn’t going to crack the pileups on them with just 5W though!

So finally carrying the DMM has payed off. Just as having several cables and not one did too. I’m not sure I’d have spent so long on top of a hill faffing about. Well perhaps!

MM0FMF/A in IO78


In reply to MM0FMF:

Hi Andy,

As Mark said, we tend to get by. I qualified Waun Rydd GW/SW-004 without the feeder properly attached to the dipole on the 2m beam - just a capacitance connection between wire ends wrapped in self-amalgamating tape (which is why I couldn’t see it!). I now take both 5D-FB and RG-58U feeders, a couple of inline choke baluns and various other connectors. I have thought about taking a DMM - I’ll look out for a small one.

It was a shame that you couldn’t get the activations done due to the weather. Hopefully something more amenable will be coming your way over the next few days.

73, Gerald


In reply to G4OIG:

It’s not looking good. Of course I’m disappointed but I had to use up this holiday which I carried over from last year before March 31. A definite use it or loose it. Maybe Raasay will be doable. But anyway, it was well worth coming this way to see the view of the land between Cranstackie, Foinaven and Gualuin House. Strath Dionard is the most bizarrely beautiful landscape. It’s just so unlike the rest of the UK. And I did sit on the beach in sun most of the time. And what a beach, out of the window I could see An Garbh Eilan, the island that is used for live bombing runs when the Cape Wrath range is in use.

I have a photo that shows the contrast between Durness on the coast and Strath Dionard now in the SOTA group on Flickr.

MM0FMF/A in IO78


In reply to MM0FMF:

Replying to myself, oh dear. Well I got out and had a great time including another bash working the marauding chasers on 30m. But I’ve had another equipment failure. My little 0-30V 1.25A PSU has stopped working. This means charging batteries is a pain. However, I have several SLABs with me. I’m using them to power the LiPo charger and I can charge those in the car tomorrow on the way to Raasay (wind and ferries permitting)!

MM0FMF/A in IO78 (soon to be IO67)


I enjoyed listening to your CW activating Andy, FB. I couldn’t hear you on your 5MHz SSB or on 10MHz CW, but you were loud and clear on 5MHz CW - so I logged you as ‘heard’ in the SOTA SWL section.

Hope the batteries, ferries and weather all play fair by you tomorrow.



In reply to M1EYP:

I forgot how far NorthWest I am… I was able to work G4WSX on 30m! I’ve got one LiPo unused and the other should charge up to about 70% from one of the SLABs. That should be more than enough. I only put the SLABs in at the last minute… “just in case”. As it was I used one when playing on 20m on the beach and I’m just discharging that to death into the LiPo.

EDIT: Hey, I didn’t realise that NS-146 had never been done before. Woot & pwned as my youngest would say. :wink:

MM0FMF/A in IO78


In reply to MM0FMF:

I had quite high noise on 5MHz today & with the QSB I was struggling with SSB from GM/NS-108. It was very nice to work you on CW though :slight_smile:

Enjoy the rest of your trip.


Mark G0VOF