A homebrew tarp for a sunny day

Hello SOTA mates,
Last July 3rd I did a joint activation with Jorge, EA2LU, and went to activate Mt. Baratxueta, EA2/NV-068.

The weather is very hot nowadays and I thought it was a good oportunity to test a homebrew tarp I built. It is made of a nylon fabric I bought in a kite shop.

The material is very very light, watertight and wear resistant. It is hold with one walking stick.
We arrived in the summit and started setting up our stations.

Jorge had brought his umbrella to protect from the sun.

I moved a bit apart to have less RF interference and deployed the antenna and fixed my tarp to test it.

I felt the tarp worked just fine to provide certain level of sun protection, but I touched the transceiver after a while and it was very hot, although I kept it under the tarp all the time. I think this fabric is good against the wind but it is not good enough to protect against UV rays.

I have to think on how to improve it; any ideas to make it better?
Maybe I need to add an extra piece of protection just for the rig.

Additional trouble:
During the activation I suffered a bit from another problem: some cows aproached near my operating position. I was a bit afraid as I was trying to get two stations Summit to summit by the time, but it all went fine in the end…

Don’t look at me, please!!

Oh my God, it’s not Sanfermines yet…

Hope you find interesting the tarp for summer time. I know there are commercial avalilable tarps but they are much bigger or heavier.

73 de Ignacio


Hi Ignacio,
Something I learnt while in Australia, adding white plastic to the top of my black FT-817 made all the difference in keeping it cooler in the hot sun. This is the sticky backed plastic sheet that can be bought from craft shops, stationary supplies, supermarkets etc. and is often used to line drawers.

73 Ed…


Good idea Ignacio !
And hahaha … I especially like that last picture … the dangers of SOTA !

As for the KX3, when I know it will be a hot day, I pack my little fan-in-a-box :

Total weigth is 120g.

It has short leads with Powerpoles, and I use it toghether with the Powerpole accesory I described here :

Sometimes I also use an umbrella, or my writing board, to give the KX3 some extra shade.

73, Luc ON7DQ

That box should be labelled AMD not AMP as we all know the correct (as defined by my old employer IBM) is “Air Movement Device” - hence AMD (nothing to do with the chip manufacturer).

73 Ed.

Ah yes Cows and SOTA - I think they want to know where the goats are that they’ve heard about! In my pack on Ammerleite there was no Bull thankfully!

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Not normally a problem in Scotland Ed, but I needed to make a sunshade last weekend as the 817 was too hot to touch just laying in the sun. The white plastic sounds like a good solution.

I didn’t think I’d need it after moving back to Europe and removed it - a couple of months later a new piece was being fitted!

By the way, rememeber to punch holes or cut a circle out of the plastic before fitting it, otherwise the FT817 speaker sounds somewhat muffled!

73 Ed.

or else, use earphones and forget about the speaker, as I do… :wink:



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Yes mee too, when signals are hard to hear, but actually real over-the ears headphones with noise cancelling function built-in - AU$40 from Aldi about 5 years ago.

73 Ed.


Hi Ignacio,
I like your comments!
I use what you see in the photo. It offers many configurations and is perfect for us.
Greetings to Jorge.

73 de Dani EA5FV.

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Today 24th July, Jorge EA2LU and I went to activate Mt. Dulantz, ref. EA2/NV-052
According to my previous experience (see top of this thread) my homebrew tarp wasn’t good enough to produce a good shade and keep the tranceiver cool in bright summer days.

Today I decided to test a new solution v. 2.0
I receintly bought a survival blanket. This one is not a very thin and light type of blanket that can be used a few times in case of an emergency.

Mine is a bit stronger and can be used as a shelter for many more times.
It contains two layers, one reflectant made of metalized polyethylene (silver color) and the other one is a rugged material to make it more resistant (orange). It includes metal grommes to aid in the fixation.

Dimensions: 2 x 1,5 meters and weights 320 gram.

After a nice walk towards the summit I deployed the antenna and settled the blanket holding it between the fishpole and a walking stick. I must say it would have been difficult to fix it if there was stronger winds as the blanket is very light.

I felt this shelter worked properly, the shade was comfortable and I didn’t feel very hot with it. On top of that, it is watertight to withstand rain in case of a summer storm.

Here my rig: note the homebrew paper log holder made out of a 1,5mm polycarbonate sheet and painted in yellow to improve visivility for when packing down. The SOTA sticker adds a nice looking:

The transceiver was cool with the tarp and I am happy of the positive result.

This is EA2LU in its operating position, comfortably seating further meters ahead in the trig point. On his background another SOTA can be seen with low clouds: Mt. Beriain EA2/NV-015.

The activatioin went fine, although conditions were better on 40 meters than on 20, where I received low reports. A pity I heard some other SOTA activators and tried S2S but I coulnd’t get them all in my log.

This picture is taken in our way back to the parking lot:

73 de Ignacio (now looking forward my next project).



today I went to activate Mt. Elomendi EA2/NV-037 together with Jorge EA2LU.

Last days the weather has not been that sunny, but cloudy and a bit rainy.
Today the weather is improving but it seems the sun is not as bright as in my recent past activations.

Therefore I decided to test the solution v. 3.0, just to provide some shade for the transceiver to keep it cool.

I prepared a square piece of greyboard, and painted it in white (as suggested by Ed, see above). It is light and robust enough.

This little piece can be attached to the rig to avoid direct sunlight, see the pictures:

I placed not only the TRX but also my battery and smartphone, and they all seem to be happy under the greyboard.

Nevertheless today I did a long activation and the rig, although protected from the sun, became hot due to TX.

I will need to test another version soon…

73 de Ignacio