Hiking in the Pyrenees - Please QRS

Dear SOTA-CW-Chasers,
Next week I’m planning to start a 6-days hiking tour in the Pyrenees. Last year I had my 2m/70cm hand-held with me. An activation during a 7-days hike failed. I got only contact to 2 chasers (http://sotawatch.org/summits.php?summit=F/PO-073).
I decided to learn CW and bought a 40m-CW-Kit. (QRPproject! Devoted to QRP and Amateur Radio homebrewing).

Now, one year later, the Pyrenees are calling, the sun is shining, the backpack is prepared.

First September, I’m going on a one-day hike to test the QRP-equipment and my CW-knowledge. A height gain of 900 meters are waiting for me. A good reason to take the tiny QRP-transceiver with LiPo-battery and not the YAESU-857 powered by lead battery.
The QRP-Transceiver -Miss Mosquita – has about 4 W output. The antenna is a 40m single-band telescope, similar to the ATX-1080 multi-band. I use the mini-paddle from palm radio.

My CW is still modest, not more than 15 wpm. I need you to repeat your call sign several times to “decode” it. Please have patience with me and keep it slow, simple and double.

The VX-8E hand-held is used for APRS beacons.

Greetings from the South-West of France

Stephan, F/DD6DO

In reply to DD6DO:
Hi Stephan,

Good luck in Pyrenees !
You will be able to run until 7200 KHz now…!!! :wink:

73 Alain F6ENO

Dear SOTA-CW-Chasers,
Today, I had a splendid day in the Pyrenees. The sun was shining. I didn’t miss the path. 45 minutes before estimated arrival, I was on the summit f/PE-104 and could recover before starting CW. The mobile phone had no reception but I was quite optimistic to communicate between 7032 and 7033 khz. I keyed CQ CQ CQ SOTA de F/DD6DO and heard … almost nothing. OE8SPW was loud and clear but obviously couldn’t read me. After 45 minutes, I was hopeless and made QRT. Thank you for those you tried to contact to me.
My plans for the 6-days hiking tour with my QRP-transceiver are still ongoing.

I was pretty sad not to be able to activate the summit by CW calls. My comfort was to use my hand-held before starting CW and after the CW-session. I managed to get 2m direct calls. One call was up to 300km to Marseilles (the OM had a Yagi (!)).

Thanks for your support and I look forward to hearing from you.

Stephan, F/DD6DO

In reply to DD6DO:
Hi Stephan

Sorry to hear that you didn’t manage any contacts on 7MHz, but I think that may have been due to your choice of aerial?

On the introduction of the FT817 some 9 years ago, I tried one of these loaded whip type aerials and came to the conclusion that they could certainly rx okay but were very poor radiators (unless the station you are trying to work is 59+++ even then you will usually get a poor report back). There is no substitute for ‘wire-up-in-the-air’ at these low powers and best of all an aerial that has been designed for the band you specifically want to be active on without any lossy matching units.

Like yourself I have a multiday expedition planned for a remote part of the Scottish Highlands, and thinking along your own thoughts built a dedicated 20M ruggedised CW Rx/Tx 30mA/330mA to conserve battery power (though this is being topped up with a small 1.5W solar panel). The aerial is a proven and efficient raised radial - wire 20M ground plane, which is light, takes only minutes to erect and is very stable in high wind conditions.

So Stephan if you get a chance to buy some wire (say ~10M)and a wire clip. Clip the wire onto the the whip (not extended) and use the loading section of the whip to try and resonate the wire (listen to an incoming Rx siganl and tap along the loading coil for max siganl). If it was also possible to buy another 10M of wire and clip this onto the case of the Tx/Rx and lie this on the ground - even better. This configuration should work a lot better.

Good luck on the rest of your planned walk and I will keep a watchout for you and if lucky enough - work you.



In reply to DD6DO:
Hello Stephan,
I called you several times yesterday after each of your CQ calls but you obvoiusly could not hear me.
Perhaps your receiver is not sensitive enough except for stations who are very strong.
Good luck.
David , G3RDQ

In reply to DD6DO:

I keyed CQ CQ CQ SOTA de F/DD6DO and heard
… almost nothing. OE8SPW was loud and clear but obviously couldn’t
read me. After 45 minutes, I was hopeless and made QRT. Thank you for
those you tried to contact to me.

This sounds like it might be a problem with which “sideband” people were using. In cw terms maybe the bfo offset was the wrong side of the centre frequency. On my ft-817 I can choose by selecting either cw or cwr as the mode.

You could try switching out the cw filter to have more chance of hearing a reply.

Colin g8tmv

In reply to DD6DO:

Stephan, how much did the Mosquita kit cost? I had a look at the website but the qrp-shop.de page isn’t loading. Do you know if they do a 30m version?


In reply to MM0FMF:

Stephan, how much did the Mosquita kit cost? I had a look at the
website but the qrp-shop.de page isn’t loading. Do you know if they do
a 30m version?

It did load for me eventually…

The 40m version is 79 Euros for the basic kit plus 37 Euros for the case and all the mechanical parts.

prices incl vat but plus shipping


In reply to MM0FMF:


select hf monoband on lhs menu

no sign of 30m kit

In reply to MM0FMF:
Dear MM0FMF,

No 30m Version available.

The qrp cw-transceiver kit “mosquita” including a SWR-unit, RIT, PK-4 keyer and frequency display costs about 220 EUR.

Greetings, Stephan

Dear SOTA-CW-Chasers,
Today, I headed to the next available SOTA-summit to check the equipment. Instead of the whip antenna (ca. 1,4m) I used a 10m wire on a 3,5m high pole. The 3,5m pole is the diagonal of my tent. The APRS/SMS gateway of Zoli (ha5cqz) worked well.
Finally, I got Swiss and French stations in the log. An HA-Station was almost decoded (HA?AG) by me.
Thanks for your patience in repeating your call signs. For me it was a lot of stress and fun, too.
Now I’m checking the weather report for a stable “no rain” period to go on the 6-day hiking tour.

Stephan, F/DD6DO

In reply to DD6DO:

An HA-Station was almost decoded (HA?AG) by me.

It would have been HA1AG. I had problems with the same call. Not because HA1AG’s keying is bad, his keying is fine and he had QRS’d for me. But it was the 1st HA I had worked on the key and I was pleased with new new prefix so I missed the suffix. Then I had QRM and then due to being embarrassed at asking for so many repeats my brain swapped A for N and I thought he was HA1NG. Sorry!

I’d like to think my CW is getting better. Well it would be hard to get worse!


In reply to DD6DO:


if you have an Antenna Tuner availble you may want to try a simple vertical wire 3,5m high along your pole and a single 10m long radial.

This worked perfectly for me on all activations with 3…4W on 40m CW. I found Lambda/10 a good compromise between antenna length on 40m and antenna efficiency.

I believe Dzianis has described a similar set-up on the Sota Dl (Alps) Web site.

Gruß & viel Spaß im Urlaub


Dear SOTA-CW-Chasers,
On Friday the 10th of September 2010, I’m going to start my hike on the GR 10 (GR 10 is the hiking trail crossing the Pyrenees). The weather forecast is good.
Sunday noon / afternoon, I’m looking forward to activating F/PE-122. The activation time depends on the location of the campsite the night before.
Monday noon, the summit F/PE-140 is on my schedule. On the next days there are no summits along the tour.


The VX-8E hand-held is used for APRS beacons.

Stephan, F/DD6DO

Dear SOTA-Chaser,
The backpack is ready again. Tent, sleeping bag and my little “4 Watt CW Mosquita” are packed.
120 Km on the GR10 in the Pyrenees are on the schedule (Aulus les Bains to Merens les Vals). Beside the hike trail are two summits, the Pic de la Bede (F/PE-143)(probably Thursday, 8. Sept 2011) and the Pic de Lauzate (F/PE-088).
VX-8 gives the APRS position. My CW is still poor. Please keep it simple and slow.

Greetings from the Pyrenees

Stephan, F/DD6DO