Icom V86 to Start With ?

New user to the forum.
Just getting interested in SOTA.
I have helped some get their activation’s from my base .
I have a ICOM V86 and Baofeng F8HP .
Set the V86 up with a Comet SH55 and seems to work good so far in town .
Would this be a good choice to use until I can find a reasonably priced 817 or 706 ?
I already have ICOM 2300’s in my Jeep and house as a base station.

A 2m FM HT will work fine for a urban area radio, for a while. As soon as you start moving outward, you’ll find you need a directional antenna to reach chasers. Once the HT doesn’t make it there anymore, you’ll know if you wish to invest in a HF cw/ssb radio. Beware that the FCC does not want you using those Baofeng radios anymore. Too much spurious transmissions. Stick with the Icom.

Good luck! Be safe!



I fell into the trap like many new techs concerning the Baofengs.
It is a backup radio now.
I also have an Alinco MD5 that I am learning to use.

If you are asking about use as a chaser - the HT is a decent start and the antenna is fair but limited to strong signals mostly. As a chaser, I use a 1/2 wave antenna (Diamond SX-30A) at about 25’ and it is good for hearing activators about 30 miles away - sometimes further. I also use an FT-897 for the radio, a bit better on receive and added power for transmit which may be needed.

As an activator, use the V86 and I suggest a 1/2-wave antenna; either a J-pole or telescopic on the HT (Smiley antenna has a 1/2 wave for an HT at under $25). The J-pole, having a coax feed, is favored by many who take a pole with them to evlevate in use. Having both HT’s and an FT-817 the PRO’s for the 817 are better rejection of intermod, ability to change microphone gain,and can do both HF/VHF activations with one radio. CON for the 817 is size weight. Power output is the same. So, if just activating 2M, no need to jump to the 817/818. If also doing HF, it makes more sense. If plagued by intermod on your HT, there is a 2M bandpass filter on SOTA Beams that my allieve the problem - at less cost than a new radio.

Hope this helps!
Howard KE6MAK

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I use the V-86 for my SOTA HT. With a tiger tail and aftermarket antenna I get great signal reports at about 90km distance while on a summit. Worthy radio in my books.


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A 1/2 wave telescoping antennae is next on my list.
I have plans on a lot better antennae hooked up via coax.
Thinking about a copper j pole just for kicks mounted on a camera tripod.
I have been able to talk from my back yard to Mt Rainier with the V86 already.
Helps that I can see the mountain.
Aprox 40 miles I believe.


Hello Dennis -
You might look to http://www.pnwsota.org/ for info on SOTA in your neighborhood. There’s a PNW Newsletter that you can sign up for that you might like. And for a 1/2 wave, some folks like the MFJ Long Ranger for an enhanced antenna.
73, Etienne-K7ATN

Thanks for the local link.

The telescoping half wave antennas are great, and affordable. They are prone to breaking if one is not careful. (I’ve broken three in the last four years.)
Peter KD0YOB

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Look at an extended double zepp center feed for an antenna. Cheap to make. My longest 2 Metre contact is 265 km. V-86 and an EDZ on a 18’ mast.