Hello from M7WIV in SW England

I’m a complete newbie to all this including the radio side itself as I only got my licence this week!

I live in South Devon, UK, and plan to try a bit of SOTAing once I have a radio. I’m drawn to the new IC-705 but then I look at the price and have to lie down. :slight_smile: However, it could also serve as my only radio in “the shack” and would fit easily into my motorhome (RV) for times when we are allowed to travel again. I’m also drawn to data and the 705 seems well suited to this needing, I believe, only a USB cable.

I may need to lie down a bit more before making a decision. :slight_smile:



Welcome John. I’m sure you’ll research all the reviews before making your decision. Try searching on here too for threads about the 705. Everything is a compromise and there is no such thing as the perfect all-rounder to suit everyone’s tastes/needs and budget!

Look forward to working you on the air one day.


Welcome John,

You will find a diverse discussion on the IC-705. It is costly sure but as you stated it covers a lot of land. Buying it as a first radio might not be a bad idea. All band portable in a modern receiver design.
Especially if you are not focusing on SOTA only.

What I can recommend is to start with is a 2m / 70 cm handheld. Maybe add a 1/2 lambda antenna like a selfmade wire J-antenna to make most out of the 5 watt.
That radio will serve you in many situations later on and is light weight to carry along to radio adventures.

If you are into CW then of course you will need a capable radio for that.

Take your time to explore the options for HF rigs. The usual suspects I guess are known?

73 Joe, OE5JFE


I’ve given that option quite a bit of thought but is there going to be anyone listening on FM where I live? There are only a few SOTA peaks down here and they are scarcely higher than a molehill compared to what you can get elsewhere in the UK.

I guess the answer is I probably need to try it and find out. :slight_smile:

If you look on the summit histories, you’ll see a breakdown of the bands and modes used. You can also get that information on https://sotl.as/

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A warm welcome John.

One thing to know is that hams very rarely stop at one radio!

A VHF/UHF handheld can be had for well under £100 new for a really nice, branded unit or much less for a budget unit. An FM handheld is a useful thing to own and you will be surprised at how far signals will travel from a SOTA summit.

QRP HF (especially SSB) can be very difficult at first, it can be frustrating. As you gain operating experience it does become easier.

I’m not too convinced by the IC705, it’s a very new radio and will probably have teething problems. I personally thought the unit looked rather bloated and ugly. Like another thread, I’m not entirely convinced a fancy display is needed in a portable rig.

Good luck,

73, Colin


Hello John and congratulations on your freshly minted licence!

I own an IC-705 and based on my experience so far I believe it is an excellent radio for what it is. The question is, is it what you are after?

I thought the other day it would make a great all singing, all dancing shack in a box for the new foundation licensee who occasionally likes to go out portable. It will cover all bases and is a good performer. It is not the most lightweight, robust portable rig. So not the ‘best’ for rufty-tufty SOTA treks. But when I do the RSGB FMAC/UKAC 2M contests, in the 10W category out portable (occasionally from an easy SOTA hill) I have found it to be excellent. (Keyboard warriors - my poor scores are a reflection of the operator’s skill, not the equipment :wink: )

If your main use for it is to go out and do SOTA, my opinion is it is it would not be the best choice for most people. But if you want a first rig to let you explore many different aspects of the hobby, and dip your toe in SOTA, it is certainly worth considering. As an example, I’ve got a holiday to Wales (re-)scheduled for next year. I hope to chase from our holiday cottage, maybe operate on the beach for some salt water assisted DX, maybe do an easy SOTA activation (or 3!) and hopefully hit the FMAC/UKAC 2m competition out portable. I feel it will cover that set well.

I concur with Joe and Colin - a 2m/70cm handie makes a good SOTA radio and is always useful to have. You could start with one of those, try out some SOTA and then have a better idea of how much a new rig is going to get used for SOTA compared to other things. You’ll be surprised how well a handie works from a hill, especially with a J-pole antenna or similar as suggested. I carried my HF rig (KX2) up and down 9 hills over 3 days on a weekend in Wales recently and got it out once. And I’d already qualified that hill on my handie!


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Many thanks to those suggesting a handheld as a first step. So after only a short lie down I’ve ordered a Yaesu 65e tonight for about £80. There were numerous alternatives including waterproof ones for twice the price but if I can avoid falling into a Dartmoor ditch this model should get me started.

TV news reports of a loon shouting from hills in the SW should be written off as me just working out how to use it. :slight_smile:


Welcome John to this extremely addictive hobby and good luck with your activations - when you have got a radio. I normally activate VHF/UHF only using a Yaesu VX7R (max 5w) and a dipole made from overflow water pipes. It was 9 years ago when we went down in your direction and activated the local summits so I don’t think I had started on UHF by then which was fortunate as I think this would have been even more of a challenge.

To see how I got on I suggest you look in the database at the list of Activators and find M6BWA. Then look at my log for May 2011, choose which summit you are interested in and see how long it took me to get my 4 contacts, I see I got 6 from Periton Hill - but that took me over 90 mins!! I think the 4 from Christ Cross was pretty dire also as it is a very flat summit with a barn in the way I seem to recall. I note that you have a motorhome and will soon (in our dreams!) be travelling further and things will get a lot easier when there is a larger population within reach, the hills are more shapely (good take-off) and they are a bit higher.

I was out on Caer Caradoc G/WB-006 460m, which is near Church Stretton between Ludlow and Shrewsbury, on Wednesday and the 2m contacts included Crewe, Liverpool, Bolton, Dewsbury, Cheltenham and Oswestry. It was 12 contacts on each of 2m and 70cm within an hour in the middle of the week which shows that a combination of good take-off (steep sides almost all round), a large population within range, an alert the day before (but, as usual, most of my contacts were not SOTA chasers) and a certain amount of luck can result in a busy and enjoyable activation. The day before on the beautifal Burrow hillfort G/WB-014 358m, which is west of Craven Arms and not far from Clun (ie not many people around), it was a different story and I had to beg for a 4th 70cm contact repeatedly before a couple of people came and rescued me. It was bitterly cold with intermittent light drizzle but the surroundings were beautiful and the walk (a new route) from Hopsay was very enjoyable so you can get other benefits from a SOTA activation as well as the point(s).

Good luck, have fun and, above all, stay safe.
73 Viki M6BWA

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Welcome, John!
Think HF DX; listening for you.

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Hi John. Congrats on your purchase. Now you are planning to start activating, could I suggest your next step should be to prepare a check list to avoid joining the long list of activators who have forgotten something crucial (yes it really is possible to forget anything including the radio!).
I’m sad to say this is a case of do as I say, not as I do :man_facepalming:
Good luck and enjoy!

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Hello John, welcome to the fraternity. The first rig I had was an IC-706mk11, moved on to an IC-7000 all band rig/ mode which I still use portable and at the QTH. Also have a Yaesu VX-6r H/H. The IC-7000 are plentiful and cheap on used rig market, the H/H is a current.
Enjoy this new hobby and have fun.

73 de Geoff vk3sq

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Hi John,

Congratulations on the getting licenced and welcome to SOTA. I am sure you will manage to make some decent contacts with your new handheld from the Devon / Cornwall summits. In the longer term you will wish to add HF and a good secondhand FT-817 could be a good option without expending too much cash.

Whatever you end up doing, you will find SOTA to be quite addictive, so get used to travelling the stretch of the M5 north out of Exeter. :grinning:

73, Gerald


Just to sort of bring this introduction thread to a conclusion I thought I’d post an update. :slight_smile:

Following the kind advice above I ordered a Yaesu 65E handheld which arrived this morning and wasting no time I took it out onto a nearby hill this afternoon. Penn Beacon on the southern edge of Dartmoor isn’t a SOTA hill but at 427m it is reasonably high for around here and on a clear day enjoys good views over Plymouth and the land beyond into Cornwall.

The key phrase above is “on a clear day” because the summit was covered in low cloud today. :slight_smile: I took this photo on the walk up just before entering the cloud.

The china clay workings are in the middle distance and somewhere in the gloom beyond is Plymouth.

I had had the radio turned on in my rucksack since leaving the car but it stayed silent during the walk. Fishing it out while sheltering beside the summit cairn I spotted I had tuned it into 144.500 MHz not the intended145.500 MHz. So I started to change the frequency and suddenly came across two people talking! I won’t bore all you experienced folk with the details but I subsequently had a brief chat and my first ever on a ham band with two people in the Plymouth area at a range of about 20kms. I also learned standing on a hill in cloud with a strong wind blowing isn’t the warmest of places to be. My dog also agrees with me on this point.

So the radio works and getting up on a hill really works too - as you all know. There’s a Slim Jim antenna and a fishing pole in the post and once they arrive I’ll have another run out but this time to a proper SOTA hill.

Many thanks to everyone for their help and encouragement. :slight_smile:


We all started from the same point. Having checked old log books it would seem it is 11,066 days since my first QSO, also 2m FM.

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I was pleased to discover there is local activity on 2m. Once I’ve fitted an external antenna at home I should be able to join in. :slight_smile:

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I can’t be bothered counting the days Andy, but my first QSO was on 80m SSB with Ray G3XUH on the morning that my licence arrived in the post on 22/05/1982. He was the ham who persuaded me to sit the RAE and Morse test. Looking back my log shows the first CW QSO was with G3FJQ in Southport on the 10m band eight days after that, 30/05/1982. Then YU2CDD on 40m CW four days later. I didn’t venture on to the nether regions of the 2m band until almost two years later!

73 Phil

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Get yourself over to Hensbarrow Beacon then, G/DC-008 St Austell way and get it out of the way. #nevergoing back!

73 Phil G4OBK

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Neither did I, there’s a website for it.


Interesting that they were going through callsigns like a wildfire back then due to the CB upgrade boom. They ran out of G4 calls by around Easter 1983. They did the whole G6 allocation in about 3 years from 1980ish to 1983.

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That’s probably a heading for a thread on it’s own Phil :wink: - Sighty Crag, Swinside…

John, nothing to do with SOTA, but it’s also worth looking for local clubs. A lot of them have local 2m nets and their members can offer useful support. Apologies if you’ve already investigated this. Glad you enjoyed your first outing.

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