Happy disaster activations!


happy disaster - what a nice title. I only can remember some horrible and even worse disasters, most of them ending in no QSO at all (thunderstorms, cables, antennas left at home or lost in the darkness of woods, etc.).
I just remember my activation of OE/KT-154 where I had no pencil for the log.
You cannot call this a disaster. Normally everything works perfectly or everything goes wrong.
At my first attempt for this summit I had no skies. It took me more than an hour for the last 500 meters robbing/digging through the 1,5 m of light snow. A local huntsman told me the wrong track and then I was 2 hrs late for the arranged 2 m sked stns. it was too cold, no pwr from my Pb-battery. Only some ragchewers received my sigs on 20 m and told me impolitely to QSY. -no QSO
Completely exhausted, frozen and wet I had to descend slipping on my butt…
I have many more stories like this one - always happy to arrive at home in the evening…
Well I conjure it up somehow. I do it not only for the sota points but for the experience, the thrill and the stories to tell, hi

73 Martin OE3VBU

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:scream: that must have been a shocking moment, i hope it did not get damaged!

but my XYL makes sure that we don’t make any stupid attempts.

I think the tour should fit for the weather and i would not want to put myself in a dangerous situation but it can also be fun outside if the weather is gray / cold / rainy it depends on the company. But you need good clothes. Not everyone feels comfortable being outside in bad weather.
That’s what i like about SOTA, everyone can do the activation whenever he or she wants :slight_smile:
But after such an activation I always feel a bit proud and there have been some high fives after successful activations in the rain or in the hail :grin:

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Hi Martin

Thank you. I tried to focus on the topic about some small struggles or problems but ofcourse not on any serious accidents. It should be about issues that we expierienced but hopefully can look back at with a smile and without any further sadness or pain.

In the past year before I got my license I joined HB9PIM every weekend to a summit(as I do now). And on different occasions things got forgotten at home. He forgot to pack water or food but never forgot the antenna or cable. Since we were two persons and since I always carry way to much stuff with me to the summit it was never a problem and we could share my rations and water.

Your activation to OE/KT-154 sounds like a real disaster worthy of that name. I’m not really a friend of snow I also had to slip once on the HB/GL-044 and landed on my butt, and ofcourse it was the one and only point with a stone directly underneath. My back hurt for a week :rage: and on an other day on our way back from the HB/OW-016 where we thought it would be creative to find our own way down, i walked through muddy ground and ended up with one leg in hole filled with stones and water, just big enough for my leg to fit in up to the hip. I scratched my leg but i was able to make the way down.

I experienced my share of minor injuries but the positive aspects of being in nature outweigh everything :slight_smile:

same here! … and the exercise

73 Sabrina HB3XTZ

Or buy the heat shrink with the glue already inside ready to use, much easier. Various names but double walled heat shrink seems to be a common one.

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Yes, I have some of the glue lined shrink. I should have said I find the PVA glue plus heatshrink works best when you are using RG-174 sized cable and you only have RG-58 sized connectors.


I feel like an ignorant. Turns out we already have these glue lined shrink at home. But ofcourse I usually do not go snooping anround in HB9PIM`s shack. Hahahaha

The silicone we used is the one without the mentioned acid.

I hope this will keep it save for the next activstions.
At least to my novice eyes this looks pretty solid:

Sabrina HB3XTZ

I’ve just abandoned my evening activation on G/SP-015. 6 QSOs on 70cm FM when the storm intensified and took down my mast and antenna. It’s eased now, but immediately after that incident my enthusiasm evaporated, and so I’m descended, sat in the car and about to drive home.

Sorry to hear that. But in my expierience a wise joyce to return to the car. I think there is no joking with storms on a summit.
But 7QSO is not bad for a weekday or not?

Here in Switzerland near Zürich it is currently also extremly windy.


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Oh yes, I know this too well.


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Hi Sabrina,

only because I’m curious: Why do you use H155 and N-plugs?

H155, compared to the RG58CU, has explicit less attenuation but is also explicit more stiff. How long is your cable, on which frequency are you working and what is the maximum power? The most of the ham gear up to 2 m comes with “UHF”-plugs ore in some cases with BNC. N is common from 70 cm up. Which devices are with N-plugs?

73 from Ludwig DH8WN

Hi Ludwig

The radio is a FT-857 and it came with an N plug.
Also the antenna has N. Thats why we use N plugs on the cable. The cable is H155 because it has less attenuation. The cable is 4m long.

We usually operate on 145.550 MHZ FM or sometimes 144.300 MHZ SSB.

We usually start an activation with 10W and then once most QSO are made and there is nothing to loose by pushing the battery we go up to 50W.

Sabrina HB3XTZ

Hi Sabrina,

many tnx for your quick answers.

If you are looking for a robust and flexible cable RG58CU would also be ok. The attenuation for 4 meters is 0,71 dB for RG58CU and 0,45 dB for H155. IMHO the difference of 0,26 db is of no significance for real operation.

The max CW power @ 145 MHz is 210 W for H155 and 270 W for RG58CU, no problem.

For more discussion abt cable we should use PM.

73 Ludwig DH8WN

Hi Ludwig,
Coax cables attenuation is usually expressed in dB/100m. If Sabrina only has 4m of coax from the rig to the antenna, I think it’s absolutely negligible the attenuation difference between one cable and other on 145MHz.
4m is just nothing…


Hopefully not as disastrous this evening, but it is by no way assured! There is drizzle forecast at 1900z, which might just be fog on Cloud summit if I am lucky! Thereafter it is supposed to be dry but very cloudy until 2300z, when heavy rain returns. There is wind and gusting forecast, but at only half the speed of Tuesday night’s disaster activation.

So who knows, but as usual, I am optimistic! I don’t mind whether the conditions are enhanced or not on 6m. If they are, it’s more fun, if they’re not, I have a greater chance of finishing higher in the contest!

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Hi Guru,

and so the values in my post are actually calculated for 4 m.

4m is just nothing…

like 0,26 dB.

73 from Ludwig

You are right Ludwig. The loss is nearly nothing, similar to that in a PL-259 to SO-239 connection.
Personally, I wouldn’t look at the attenuation values for deciding which cable I’d use for a 4m length setup. I’d consider the stiffness more important, as a too rigid cable is less comfortable for portable use in a SOTA activation.


Another disaster tonight. My SB6 needs a refurb! It’s a brilliant antenna, and I’ve done around 100 activations with it. But it’s worn out!

As I was setting it up on G/SP-015, sections of the wire were breaking off. I managed to cobble it all together to some extent, but the VSWR was far from optimal - due to the shortened length of wire of course!

Conditions weren’t the best either, and together with my antenna issues, I wasn’t getting heard as I normally would by the more distant stations.

After just 4 6m FT8 and 18 6m SSB QSOs, I bailed out and went home to watch the election results with Jimmy M0HGY and Liam.

All the other hardware in the SB6 is in good nick, so it should be a relatively simple task to replace the wire elements - something i should have done before really.

Just started to think about repairing this antenna, and I came across this:

Absolutely brilliant! It tells me exactly the lengths of wire I need to cut - no calculation required. (I couldn’t use the old wire to measure as it’s been repaired several times so probably somewhat shorter than it started out!).

Couple of spare parts required that should be easy enough to source. I just need to (a) find some time to do it and (b) remember to do it before the next 6m activity session!

So far my only real disaster was a winter activation G/LD-001, when my wires to the morse key got caught and pulled off the morse key. The cover to the key was only removable by an allen key which of course I didn’t have with me!!! .

I managed to complete the activation by holding one bit of exposed wire in my finger and pressing it against the other bare wire.

If you were using an FT818/818 and had the mike in your rucksack, as a substitute for an inoperative key the up/down buttons can be used to send CW.