What is your favorite modification to the equipment you use for SOTA? (Starting from “as purchased” or “as designed” if you built it.)
For myself, I got frustrated one day because one my digital recorder has non-standard AA battery contacts. One must use really good light to find the tiny embossed “+” in order to properly orient the cells.
I took some red nail polish, gathered pretty much every battery-powered trinket in the house, and put a red blob near the positive end of the battery holder. I am pleased each time I put a battery into any of the devices.
73 DE K4KPK / Kevin
I modded my dead microwave oven into a 400-watt HF linear - does that count?
I’m still using the FT-23, FT-411, FT-470 handhelds. Modified the 12V battery pack with three 18650 cells and charger PCB serving for years up to now.
I started with a 5el yagi for 2m. The boom used as walking stick pointed with a PE piece from the lathe. One day I forgot the boom in the car, and just used the folded dipole solely. Never took the 5el again, never missed the dBs… Moving around with the 2m handheld to find the max signal strength is as good as a 10el yagi fixed in my experience. Well, for some very rare events I missed the yagi, just to hide QRM from the back.
MTR3B Frankensteined to include:
I don’t have it anymore but one of the most valuable specifically SOTA related mods I have done is to fit a 2500 maH LIPO battery and modified cable harness to replace the horrible NiCD battery pack in my Yaesu FT-817ND.
I particularly admire the creative tweaks people apply to their MTR.
I have been looking into, for no other reason than for something fun to do, creating a titanium case for my MTR5B and replace the screws with titanium. See just how light I can make it. I just need super precise case measurements for machining it.
(Not sure if the case and screws are used to complete a circuit. That is something I’d do before I actually did this.)
Titanium is heavier than aluminum. The reason folks use it is that it is much stronger, allowing one to thin it. Net result… lighter product. Best way to lighten the screws? Eliminate them and use high-tech adhesives that conduct electricity, such as DELO, assuming this is a proof of concept and you never again need to get inside the box.