Chaotic activations and don't want to bring wire on a summit anymore

Last Thursday I saw a little chance for my first SOTA outing this year on Friday. I charged the battery. Friday late forenoon an appointment was canceled and so doing SOTA was possible. Quickly I grabbed the SOTA boxes and two poles and went out.

I had two goals, testing my new build high band QMX with a new antenna configuration on the first summit and looking for DX from the second.

On DM/TH-004 I took my EFHW (9.x m long), used sometimes before vertical, wound slightly around a 10 m pole, now mounted horizontal. The transformer end was fixed with 3 m string to my backpack on the ground

and the other end to the tip of a 5 m CAPERLAN fishing pole standing behind the branch of a tree.

It’s a quick deployment. The wire was optimised for the old configuration. I was curious about the SWR for the new configuration.

After switching on the QMX I saw a frequency in the 80 m band! ??? Oh, I grabbed the low band QMX. Ok, also good for 20 m. (This was my first error but not the single one). Checking the SWR (nice feature of the QMX) and … the next surprise – a value a bit below 4. So much effect from the different deployment? But I was after my schedule. Lets check this later at home. The match was done by the ATU and lets start calling. RBN found me (7 skimmer from 600 km to 1100 km, as I saw at home) during my first CQ. 15 QSO came in the log in the next 29 minutes. I was surprised about W2WC on 20 m.

Disassembling the station I’ve found this.

Aaaargh, how stupid. I didn’t connect the antenna wire to the terminal (second error this day but one more was waiting). But 15 QSO and one W!? I guess 3 m koax, 3 m counterpoise, the station and myself were acting as an antenna. Should I bring antenna wire on summits anymore? Following a rough calculation maybe around 10 mW could reached the antenna via the tiny capacity from the wire to the terminal. After connecting the wire a last test brought a SWR of around 1.6, ok.

Next destination DM/TH-064 is a convenient summit with bench and a restaurant on the top, luckily reopened some months ago. Without the high band QMX I had to use my backup FT817 for 10 m. I opened the antenna box to get my 6 m vertical but … not there!?! Last year I added some guying material and had to put the vertical in a small extra bag. Because of the hurry before starting from home this bag was forgotten (third error). But folding back the 9.x m wire to half made a EFHW for 28 MHz. Mounted vertical at the longer pole and span the counterpoise horizontal and elevated transformed this more to a FW dipole.

My first CQ was picked by a scimmer only 20 km away! In the next 11 minutes I could work five US-stations in CW. Changing to SSB added one more US and two ZS5!

All in all a good outcome despite the errors. A big coffee and a piece of cake in the restaurant completed this special SOTA tour.

Thanks a lot to the chasers
S57S ; EA2DT ; M0RJPp ; G4AFI ; EA7GV ; SP9IDE ; SM5LNE ; S52CU ; SA4BLM ; S58MT ; F8AOF ; OE6GND ; G0HRT ; W2WC ; 2W0ILQ ; @WA7JTM : NT2A ; @KB7HH ; @N4MJ ; @WB8BHN ; @ZS5APT ; @ZS5AYC ; NW4TF

Cu on the band from the next summits.

73 Ludwig


A great rescue Ludwig. Known round here as a good bodge.


I likewise managed to work F5PYI from ZL4 (and several other local stations) with no connection between antenna and UNUN. Unlike you my SWR was near 1:1 so I guess the coax was resonant!

Antennas are overrated.


Some days are like that. All those errors makes your activation report a bit more interesting than a trouble free activation. Also, it’s amazingly that you got all those contacts with the wire not connected.

I once did an activation with kx2 and ax1 whip antenna, a compromised antenna to start with. The rig struggled a bit to tune it. Then I proceeded to make 31 contacts, 4 of them dx. When I took antenna down I realized I’d forgotten the counterpoise.

Thanks for the report.


Well, if we’re festing up about activations we’ve had despite not setting up our antennas properly….

  1. Once I had a run of 30m CW QSOs wondering why the reports I gave and received were disappointing and only afterwards realised that I had forgotten to extend the 5.2m long telescoping whip on my Chameleon MPAS Lite vertical. It was still in its collapsed (58cm long) position…

  2. I was using a 4m long pole for my 2m J-pole antenna which is light enough to hold manually rather than guy for quick activation. I was having my first 2m FM QSO when I noticed the pole/antenna was lying on the grass. I had forgotten to raise it vertically. Good job the contact was reasonably local.

You’ve got to laugh. It bound to happen to the best of us if you do a lot of activations.


I love these stories, and once again shows that contacts are often possible with a much less than textbook setup!


One more reason to work exclusively with EFHW antennas… they also work if you don’t connect the antenna to the transformer.

Seriously, this is explained by the high impedance at the antenna end. The unwanted capacitive coupling is sufficient to pass on part of the EM field present at the transformer connection to the antenna.

The EM energy does not flow in the conductor, but in the space surrounding the conductor.

73 Chris


You dont even need poles !

Zoom in to see wire on the ground from Saturday. Very difficult conditions (60-70 kph wind) meant only a short activation and putting up a mast would have been an exercise in frustration. 7 qso’s in 3 mins on 40m and then QRT.


also here

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@ EI9KY That’s quite brilliant…impressive. I had to think what I would have done in the same situation. I probably would have just turned around and gone home defeated, and yet you have now shown us other possibilities. Thanks for sharing that with us.



Hello Chris,

So we bothe together with Matt discoverd a new type of antenna NCEFHW (not connected EFHW). :laughing: