Yesterday I activated GW/SE-023 ( Allt yr Esgair) and had a number of firsts!
First No. 1; I used my KX2 for the first time yesterday, and loved it! Still learning the neuancies and subtlies of this rig, but the IC-705 is going to be resigned to the RV. The KX2 is so much lighter and works perfectly. I’m going to Hamzilla (Dover Rally) next weekend and going to look for a cheap 2m/70cm handheld to round out my kit with the KX2 for proper hike-outs. Will still be lighter than trekking with the IC-705 and ATU and external battery (to allow the 705 to run 10W).
First No. 2; I learnt that I should use ‘W’ in my callsign when operating from within Wales as the regional secondary locator, even though my main station is in England (or the necessary RSL in other parts if the UK, when appropriate). I must admit that my operating procedures about this sort of thing must be pretty rusty, and I should brush up on this stuff!
First No. 3; This activation was a bit more than a gentle stroll from the car. I’m an experienced hill walker, but been loath to hike up a big hill to find my equipment not working, or some other technical challenge. I’m glad I did my first few activations at summits with nearby parking, but after doing a real walk, I’m looking forward to some more serious activations. Scafell Pike at Easter is the plan, but I’m looking forward to some more practice runs in before then
First No. 4; I had my dog for company activating a summit, and he was well behaved! I was worried he’d be a pain, but he just chilled out!
Can I suggest you don’t look for a cheap handheld but for a handheld that works well when on a summit close to other transmitters. Much better to buy something that works well for SOTA and buy once rather than buying something that is not very good for SOTA and then having to sell it and buy something else.
I suspect that I’ll not be operating too many locations with transmitters on them (I usually spend the summer months in Scotland in my RV - I’m lucky that I can work away from home in a virtual office and an understanding employer!), so I suspect that I’ll get something like the Baofeng GT-3WP, but it all depends on what I find at the rally (new or second-hand!).
Stay clear of the cheaper brands - get something like a Yaesu, Icom, Kenwood etc. The Chinese stuff is frankly mostly illegal anyway. Combine that with poor RX performance and you can say that Andy is spot on with his comment above.
A Yaesu needn’t be expensive, a new budget one is less than £100.
I’m 90% sure that I can convince Simon @GM4JXP that my spare handheld will be more effective than setting up his mast and beam for the limited number of contacts available from our local summits. It would certainly make summit to summits quicker.
When I activated Ben Tirran last weekend, I left the APRS enabled yaesu ft-3d at home and took the vx7r with me. The first person I spoke to on 2 m asked me if i wouldn’t mind pinging the APRS rx i-gate that he was testing. . .
I’d avoid the Baofeng too! I bought my ones mainly for crew to crew comms. when we are doing recovery at race circuits or rallies. I have a UK Business Radio Light license for this. In their defence, they have proved robust and reliable, however their RF performance is questionable.
There are 87 GM/ES summits and I can think of one with a windfarm on top and a further six with transmitters on, so not to many, but they are mainly one pointers, so be aware!
YES! I borrowed one of those the other week to activate a summit on that other summit scheme, who we shall not mention… attached it to the FT4XE with the sotabeams filter in place, and it was superb! not quite as good as a roach pole and slim G, but for a quick “smash and grab” activation, it was really hard to beat!!
My 4th or 5th activation of a summit with commercial repeaters on today. Hampered by repeated peaks of noise at 50khz spacing (extending 10kHz each side of peak) all the way down to 20m. Never hit issues with transmitters interfering on HF before. Looked like rural broadband (LTE 700MHz) & commercial VHF plus microwave uplinks - so why interfere so low I don’t know.
Maybe the power or solar charge system? But I’d expect that to be worsr on 40m, which was clean.
Glad to hear you’ve got a Yaesu VX-7R which I have been using as my only radio for years - but with the SOTAbeam filter when necessary. I also recommend the RH770 telescopic aerial but do be careful with it and don’t tug on it when you are sitting (inadvertently!) on the rather thin top section…! However, to our amazement it still seems to work quite well without the top 2 sections and has gained us quite a few quick s2s when the mast has been packed away and we are about to walk off.(or have just arrived on the summit). I hope you have a lot of fun with your radios.
73 Viki M6BWA
Thanks for the photo. It’s always interesting to see how different the SOTA experience is in different locations. For example in W4G almost all summits are tree covered and while we do get some snow it is usually only there for a day or so.
For those who are interested, I did make an attempt on Scafell Pike over the Easter weekend. I climbed it from Seathwaite Farm with my sister. It was a glorious day for fell walking; 15 degrees and sunny. Unfortunately we didn’t quite make the summit. My sister had suffered an open fracture on her foot from a bookcase falling on it in September last year. She has mostly recovered, but she struggled with the big rocky boulder field east-north-east of Scafell pike (Pin point and share locations with dropped pins | OS Maps). She found the going too difficult and did not want to aggrivate her injury, so for safety we turned around and retreated back to the campsite; it was galling to lug my kit up the majority of the climb and not make the activation zone, but the mountain will be there to climb another day!
It was still a significant hike reaching an altitude of around 920m and a hike of around 11km and we had some lovely views of the surrounding peaks and the Irish sea. Visibility was excellent that day.