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How do you guys do it?

Tom ( M3XFG ) and I are planning our first activation for the first weekend in May. We are surprised about how much there is to think about in terms of kit to take and things to construct and organise.
OK, so because of the distances involved we have to include camping gear for an overnight stay in the Peak District, but I was wondering how some activators do it weekend after weekend?
Safety is a priority of course and we are prepared in terms of personal kit and shelter bag, but I have a concern that we may be ‘over egging the custard’ so to speak!
Any tips or tricks that the regular activators would like to share?

Regards to all and looking forward to some S2S on the 2nd & 3rd!

James
G7MLO

In reply to G7MLO:

Hello and welcome to SOTA. I think you’ll find that the equipment that people take is very much a ‘personal’ choice. Do a search with the reflector search box and you will find much discussion relating to what equipment to take.

You are right that safety is a very important issue, but it can be quite a difficult decision in what safety gear to take. I personally probably take too much safety gear, but I am fine tuning what I take. It is sensible to take back ups of essential gear(eg a spare compass, spare hat and gloves), but for other things I feel this is not always necessary.

Not sure whether I’ll be activating or chasing on the 2nd/3rd May yet, but I wish you luck with your expedition and maybe we’ll have a QSO.

73

Colin

ps just done a search myself a thread called ‘the ultimate kit list …’ has much info. All the best.

In reply to G7MLO:

This falls into two parts: radio equipment and hill gear. Take the radio equipment that will do what you want to do, that is very much a personal choice but be prepared for a steep learning curve!

Hill gear very much depends on what hills and what time of the year. For the lower hills in summer, 1 or 2 points, you need little more than you would for a nice long ramble in the country, good footwear, a waterproof, a map (and the ability to read it!) and your lunch. For the higher hills you get into a routine when packing your rucsac - map, whistle, compass, torch, extra clothing, shell clothing, emergency rations - and you will need more fluids than you think - and I recommend those gloves with the finger tips missing so that you can operate without having to take gloves off! In winter add a bivvy bag and consider instep crampons if you are prepared to brave snowy conditions but that is just an option. Summer or winter, low hills or high, don’t despise walking poles, they really do make a big difference - and they can be useful for keeping the ends of wire antennas off the ground, they can even be clipped together to make a low mast if it is too windy for a roach pole or the d****d thing breaks! Any text on hill-walking will give you lots of additional information. Incidentally, I always take a part roll of duct tape - if there is a handy fence post, standing stone or trig point you can tape a mast to it and it is more reliable than bungees…but take the used tape home with you! Finally, some closed cell foam matting to sit on.

Don’t neglect to check the weather forecast before you go out!

73

Brian G8ADD

In reply to G8ADD:

Hi Brian,

…they can even be clipped together to make a
low mast if it is too windy for a roach pole …

I was pondering the idea of making a fixture to clip two walking poles together. Do you mean such poles/fixtures are available commercially or did you make them yourself? Would like to learn rather then reinvent the wheel…

73 Heinz, OE5EEP

In reply to OE5EEP:

To be honest, there are people who have made clips to hold them together, but I prefer to use duct tape! I firmly believe that if civilisation collapsed, as long as we could find a warehouse full of duct tape, we could rebuild! :wink:

73

Brian G8ADD

In reply to G7MLO:

As Colin says, there are some good threads in the archives to help you. I reckon I take too much safety stuff but I’d rather be safe (and tired from lugging it about) rather than sorry.

So the hill stuff comes first, then water/drinks, then whatever is left is available for radio gear.

A point in hand… a lovely day today, very sunny but cool up here. I was able to walk in just a T-shirt but as soon as I stopped I was cold in the breeze. The air temp was very low. So I didn’t put any suncreme on as it wasn’t hot. I was outside from 10.15am to 6.15pm. Even though I had a hat on most of the time I now look like a lobster. D’Oh!

And, welcome to SOTA. You do know it’s addictive don’t you?

Andy
MM0FMF

In reply to G7MLO:
Hi James,

Welcome!

I assume you have read http://www.sota.org.uk/JoiningIn and http://www.sota.org.uk/docs/WinterSafetyNotesG4YSS.pdf but reading between the lines, it sounds like you already know most of this or have read it and are looking for tips to minimise it? If so, as has been stated, trawling through some of the old reports may help you.

73, John G4YSS

In reply to G4YSS:
Thanks for all the info so far;
I’ll add suncream and duct tape to the list!
As we are travelling up from Suffolk to activate Shining Tor we wanted to ensure a degree of success and I was concerned about lugging too much gear along.
I’ll have a trawl through old posts/reports in the reflector.

Cheers!

James
G7MLO

In reply to G7MLO:

Hi James.

Feel free to modify these files to your needs

http://sral.fi/oh7bf/f5vgl_station/SOTAchecklistF5VGL.txt

http://sral.fi/oh7bf/f5vgl_station/SOTAroute.txt

Next step is to weigh the different items and start to reduce the total weight.

73, Jaakko OH7BF/F5VGL

In reply to G7MLO:

Hi James - I hope you have a great time on Shining Tor. I dont want to sound negative, but I would have a plan B up your sleeve if I was you. In the past, I have on more than one occasion been asked if I had written permission from the land owner to be operating on there by Peak Park Rangers. Having said that, you may not see one all the time youre up there. Best policy is to operate some distance from the trig point so as not to inconvenience walkers or draw attention to yourself. Ive also had the same treatment on Kinder Scout, been chased off G/SC-002 by the police & was on GW/NW-002 when G0OXV / G0MJG were told off by a Snowdonia Park Ranger. Maybe its just me that attracts trouble. Have fun,
73 Steve.

In reply to G1INK:

Having a plan B is a very wise move. There are a good few easy 1point hills not far from Shining Tor. As you are coming a fair old way, you may want to consider activating a few of them at the same time.

I’ve not had the issues Steve mentions up here in GM but we do have different laws. It’s good advice to make sure you keep clear of paths, trigs etc on popular summits. By keeping a bit out of the way you wont inconvenience others and anyone intrigued by your activities will seek you out rather than having to pick their way through your antennas and feeders.

However, if you want to draw in the crowds, might I suggest some Morse. Since I’ve started my (terrible) Morse operations it’s been like having a “walker-magnet” with me. Granted it’s been on two busy Munros in fantastic weather but the difference between voice operation which gets a glance or two and Morse is incredible. Walkers are drawn to it like moths to a flame.

Andy
MM0FMF

In reply to G1INK:
Thanks Steve. Very sage advice.
Taking into account all of the above I think we will do a 2 metre activation only; just to keep it simple in terms of kit to carry and low key operating.
I think my biggest concern was to make it successful, but the amount of kit to take started spiraling up and up. I think two key things to follow will be safety and simplicity.

In reply to MM0FMF:
I think the quality of my morse would attract more than a few onlookers!!!

Many thanks to all the reply posters so far…

James
G7MLO

In reply to G7MLO:

Don`t let me put you off HF James - with all the activity that weekend there should be a potential for many S2S contacts on 40m / 20m.

In reply to G1INK:

Hi Steve,

You never let on that my multiband extravaganza on SP-004 might have drawn attention from the powers that be… especially as I was flying my 4m slim jim kite at the time!

73, Gerald

In reply to G1INK:
Steve, i don’t think I’m put off. I just need to curb my enthusiasm! Not carting the whole shack up a hill…
I think a multi-band extravaganza, as Gerald puts it, may be a bit too much for a first SOTA activation. Toe in water first and all that.
We have developed a ‘plan b’. Staying overnight and then up Kinder Scout on Sunday with just the FT-60 and Puxing 777. Mind you, how keen I’ll be for SP-001 after a evening in the pub and then a night under canvas I’m not sure!

Cheers!

James

In reply to G7MLO:

James

If you are travelling up from Suffolk it may be that Bardon Hill is on your way.

73

Richard
G3CWI

In reply to G7MLO:

Mind you, how keen
I’ll be for SP-001 after a evening in the pub and then a night under
canvas I’m not sure!

You’d be surprised how good a stomp around in the hills is for “blowing away the cobwebs” =)

73,

Dave M0MYA

In reply to G3CWI:

If you are travelling up from Suffolk it may be that Bardon Hill is on
your way.

Come on now Richard, you really are trying to put the man off SOTA :wink: Kinder is a far better proposition for getting rid of a hangover! Just think of the vertigo that would result from peering down into that quarry at Bardon!

You two might struggle to get a word in edgeways on 2m on Kinder on the Sunday with M3EYP hogging it! However, M0GIA and myself will have plenty of other aerials set up as well (6m, 15m, 20m, 40m, 80m, maybe more if Sean brings his tuner), that you would be welcome to plug your 817 into, and it would be nice to meet the two of you.

It is just as likely that there would be ranger trouble on Kinder as on Shining Tor - unlikely. If you tell them that you are able to pack it all away inside 10 minutes if requested, they tend to say “Oh no, that’s fine” and leave you to it.

Tom M1EYP

In reply to M1EYP:
Tom, yes, it would be good to meet up and put a handshake to the voices. I’m sure my Tom would be happy to accept your offer of plugging the 857 in.
We are walking up from Hayfield on the Sunday morning so should be in contact on 2 or 70 for the ascent. Look forward to seeing you all up there.

In reply to G3CWI:

Richard, thanks for the tip. We may well try Bardon Hill on the way home. Should have got some charge back into the handhelds from the car by then.

Cheers!

James
G7MLO