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The ultimate kit list.... Holy grail or reality?


At least I know that I’m not alone now. I always thought it was just me who took everything up the summits with them!

I always activate alone, so I tend to be on the safe side when packing my bag.

My kit normally consists of:

FT817 + mic + straight key, VX-150 2m HH + 1/4 wave ant, DJG5-EY 2/70 HH + spare batt, 7AH SLAB.

Sotabeam SB270 with 7m SOTA pole, Rucksack special and linked dipole.

Waterproof paper pad + automatic pencils / Fisher Spacepen, Laminted A5 SOTA ARM and Radio Licence.

Hat, gloves, waterproof jacket + trousers, fleece jumper.

Safety items:

Spare hat, gloves and jumper in waterproof bag. Whistle, map + compass, headtorch.

First aid kit containing usual first aid stuff (bandage, plasters, painkillers etc) aswell as spare compass, whistle and torch.

Secondary emergency package containing chocolate, kendal mint cake, space blanket, cigarette lighter, swiss army knife, flint and steel, Hi Viz vest, spare boot laces and spare batteries for headtorch.

Also packed is standard orange plastic survival bag and 2 person emergency shelter (similar to a KISU).

I always seem to bring most of my drinking water back with me! (forget to drink whilst concentrating on operating radio!).

I like the idea of the chalk that was suggested, a piece will find it’s way into my emergency bag now!

I haven’t weighed my kit, as I don’t really want to know what it weighs, suffice to say that my wife struggles to lift my pack!

Colin M0CGH

For weather info I use



Hello everyone!

I like the ideea of walinkg on mountains and talking to my radio!
I have a FT 857D and a few weeks ago I was planned to sell it. But, after a visit on a exhibition at Army Museum, where a lot of radios was displayed, I decided to make my own backpack rig.
So, I made a aluminium frame in order to keep the radio, the SLA battery (12v, 7.5 Amps or 12 Amps) and the antenna(s).
You can see in the pictures the result. May be a good ideea for others!
Between the radio and the frame are some spacers made from PVC. The dash support for the radio is used to support the battery.
Because I like SSB on HF, I made two antennas: one for 20m and another for 11 m.

Next week I plan to go to Busteni, a resort situated near Carpathians Mountains. Maybe I will be active from around 2.000 m altitude!
Till then, I wish U all, a great SOTA week-end!

Regards from YO3HJV, Adrian.

Photos about backpack I made on Flickr or on my ham blog!


In reply to M0CGH:

Hi Colin,

You reminded me that I too carry a couple of ally foil space blankets. The emergency kit lives permanently at the bottom of the rucksack - I really need to check it out before I go out again. The problem is that everything has its place in my rucksack and it is more or less permanently in a “ready to go” state. I only dismantle it all when it gets a good soaking.

I know what you mean about drinking while operating. I am getting better at it and I often get caught out with a bite of cereal bar in my mouth when the mic is passed back without warning. One thing I have found is that when doing multiple summits, “lunch” is best eaten at the car after an activation before I drive to the next one. When walking between summits, it is best eaten at the beginning of an activation so that it has some time to digest before the next walk starts. Common sense really.

73, Gerald

P.S. Can anyone vouch for Autan as an effective deterrent against midges (as opposed to mosquitoes)?


In reply to G4OIG:
I think I have tried everything. The damned midges are so eager to get to me they drown in the preparations as I am putting them on! I am very sorry to say this but for me the only solution for the voracious Scottish midge is to avoid Scotland between June and September!


Brian G8ADD


In reply to G8ADD:

I think I have tried everything.

You have to use sufficient amounts of repellent if you want to keep them away and most people don’t put enough on. They contain chemicals like DEET which you probably want to limit your exposure to such things! Or you can use something that doesn’t keep them away but stops them biting. Avon’s Skin So Soft is in the later group. It stops them biting. But the little buggers still pester you and drive you mad. They just don’t bite.



In reply to MM0FMF:
Its the biting part that I can’t handle, it triggers an allergy with severe swelling, but the little beggars bite me even with a copious covering of Avons finest! Oddly enough its only the midges in the Highlands that cause the swelling, in other parts of the UK they are just a nuisance. I firmly believe the Highland midge has tungsten tipped teeth!


Brian G8ADD


In reply to G8ADD and MM0FMF:

Obviously you are better off than I am Brian. I carry anti-histamines as a matter of course, but I still swell up and the bites itch like mad. I’ve about 50 bites from head to ankles from Hirfyndd GW/SW-017 last Sunday. They got through the zips in the legs of my trousers - I should not have worn the ones that zip off into shorts, as if I ever dare wear shorts!!! Both Paul and I were applying the sprays every few minutes and they were swimming in it.

Maybe a mosquito net should be added to my kit.

73, Gerald

P.S. I was using Neem spray which works okay for Mosquitoes. I don’t like Deet Andy, I am chemical sensitive and have to be very careful… 2 pints of lager can make me feel like I have flu, hence the preference for the real thing and. of course, that natural juice from north of the border.


In reply to G4OIG:

I am one of these lucky people who doesn’t suffer from midges, or should I say that I haven’t in the past. That all changed on the DM/BW tour, even though I sprayed regularly with Autan, I sam still covered in scabs from head to toe from the multitude of bites received over there and resemble a victim of a shotgun attack.

73 Mike


In reply to G4YTD:

I started first ski touring in Alps and the SOTA came only later. Thus for me it was natural to use our standard check list for the outings and add some lightweight radio equipment to it. Here is my check list


Of couse you can leave out the skis in summer unless you go to high altitudes above 3500 m. I should update the list also for ATS3B, which removes about 1.3 kg from the total weight.

73, Jaakko OH7BF/F5VGL


Thanks to everybody who has contributed to the list. Looks like I need a bigger pack now for all the good ideas that have come out of this.
Thanks again.
Keep warm


In reply to G4OIG:

P.S. Can anyone vouch for Autan as an effective deterrent against
midges (as opposed to mosquitoes)?

Most definately!

I used Autan for mosquitoes in the Amazon in Brazil (sadly, no radio operation), and after that, have used Autan for midges at home (in Ireland).

It doesn’t keep the horseflies away though…



In reply to MM0FMF:


like DEET which you probably want to limit your exposure to such

Small piece of advice with it comes to DEET. We had to visit a tropical disease doctor before a trip. When it came to repellants he had one piece of advice:

don’t use a product with more than 60% DEET. High concentrations of DEET can have bad affects. Put 60% concentration repellant on more often.