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Hi everybody…names Denny(M3HSJ) and my home QTH is Stockton on Tees. Been an amateur for a few years now and I’m looking for a way to reignite not so much a dwindling passion just one that has taken a back seat of late…After reading about SOTA in this months RADCOM I thought…“Hey this sounds interesting” the fact I love the great outdoors (I enjoy mountainbiking and hill walking) and radio helps me combine 2 interests in one…

So the only query I’ve got is this…I’ve got a Handheld Yaesu FT60-E a) is this acceptable for SOTA operation and b) what sort of antenna do you Ladies and Gents suggest to use with this radio?

I know I’ll need some sort of external powersource and I’m looking at a sealed lead acid unit as they’re pretty small and relatively cheap.

Thanks in advance for your help

73’s
Denny (M3HSJ)

In reply to M3HSJ:

Hi Denny,
The reflector has a search facility. If you use it you will find many, many threads of discussions about radios, antennas and batteries, which of course, saves us typing it all in again!

However, the short answer is yes an FT60 will do fine as 2m FM activations are very popular due to the enormous popularity of the 2m band. From the right hill in the right place you will need nothing more than the rubber duck. I would advise that as a minimum you acquire either a better set top antenna, some of the telescoping 2m antennas have much better performance than a standard rubber duck. Also you should consider a small beam, 3 element probably being the smallest worth bothering with. There are zillions of designs on the net and they can be made from materials found in any B&Q store.

As for batteries, if you have 2 battery packs for your FT60 you probably will be OK to start with. An external battery normally just gives more endurance and with some handhelds, a higher output power.

Have a bash with some simple gear without investing a fortune and see how yet get on. If you really enjoy SOTA you can expand your station and if you don’t like it then you wont have wasted very much money.

Andy
MM0FMF

In reply to MM0FMF:

Hi Andy…Thanks for that. I do own a small 70cm/2m telescopic antenna which plugs into my radio and also a “rubber duck” dual band. I did try to put together a mount for my mobile dual band whip antenna (approx 5ft in length) to carry on my rucksack as I was a member of RAYNET…but can’t remember where in house I left it…Doh!

I live not too far from the North York Moors and looking at the summit database there’s a couple of 1 point summits up there so as soon as I’ve got over my broken arm (cycling accident yesterday!!) I’ll have a wander up and give it a go. What surprised me is Roseberry Topping isn’t listed!!!

Well once again thanks for that, I’ll listen out for you.

73’s
Denny(M3HSJ)

In reply to MM0FMF:

Many of my first activations were done using a Yaesu VX-6E (very versatile, but a barn-door-ish front end) and a slimjim built from a design on the SOTA Yahoo Group files section. Its very easy to make if you have a soldering iron, wire cutters and a pocket knife. This got hung off a cheap 5m fishing pole. Very minimal outlay (coax was 12 quid for 100 yards, you can imagine how bad it was!), all of the benefit.

I think that a handheld and a slimjim on a cheap fibreglass fishing pole is a great way of starting out in SOTA. I was always so pleased with what 1 watt on 2m can do from even a modest NW summit. I only ever used one 1400mAh internal battery and I could get two activations out of it. My advice would be build a slimjim and “suck it and see”. I keep threatening to go do an activation with just the handy and a slimjim, just for the sake of “nostalgia”.

However you choose to get going in SOTA, enjoy it - there is lots of fun to be had.

73,

Dave M0MYA. (edit for correct callsign!)

P.S. 'FMF is right about the telescopic whips. I use Diamond RH-770 (just one name for a very common whip) - it gives excellent performance, all things considered and has qualified many a summit for me where I have forgotten the mic for the 817 or its just pouring with rain.

In reply to M0MYA:

My advice would be build a slimjim and “suck it and see”.

Indeed I forgot about that simple antenna and I have one myself! I’ve used it successfully with my VX170 to activate Cold Fell NP-020 and Cyrn-y-Brain NW-063 and with the 817 on Cross Fell NP-001.

Andy
MM0FMF

In reply to M3HSJ:
Hi Denny,
I used to use a VX150, with a 5/8 mobile whip on a home made ground plane… I carried a spare standard battery pack, and had no problems at all. In fact in the North East (SB Hills), I’m inclined to get more contacts on 2 FM than SSB, so may go back to using the 150 instead of my FT-817…

It still amazes me how far you can get on 2FM, if you are up high enough… even on the rubber duck

Rob (G1TPO)

I agree with the above comments.

For quite a while I used an Alinco DJ-G5 handheld with a homemade(not by me) quarter wave set-top antenna. I used this combination with great success until the middle pin of the BNC broke off in the female connector of the rig! I tried drilling the pin out with a tiny drill, but I’d all but got the last bit out, when I thought I’d give it another ‘tickle’ and the drill broke off in the socket!

I then bought a VX150 to replace the DJ-G5, and I am very happy with it. It peforms very well from summits, and I don’t suffer breakthrough like I did with the DJ-G5. I use a Watson 1/4 wave antenna on the VX-150.

I did actually replace the BNC on the DJ-G5 in the end, and I seem to use this rig a lot now because it fits the BNC on my RSS antenna! I’m not keen on these SMA connectors on modern rigs!

To finish I would say, start off with the equipment you have and then go on from there. A handheld and rubber duck or aftermarket set-top antenna will provide lots of contacts for sure. There are alot of chasers out there now, which makes things even easier.

There has been some (negative) comments in the past about people activating with handhelds, but I don’t agree whatsoever. It is better to activate with a handheld than to not activate at all. Not everbody wants to carry a SLAB, a pole, co-ax, beam, multimode radio etc etc!

I hope you enjoy SOTA as much as I do, just have fun and do it how you want to do it!

73, Colin
M0CGH

In reply to M3HSJ:

I shall add my agreement too. Summits can usually be activated using a Hand Held and its own antenna.

The most important piece of advice on this page so far has been said by Colin… “…just have fun and do it how you want to do it!”. SOTA is all about enjoying yourself and if for you, that means taking just a handheld in your pocket when you go hillwalking, then so be it.

I have been activating with friends and each of us has different kit and chooses different bands. Personally, I have an FT817 and use a NorCal Doublet held aloft with a 7m Fishing Pole for HF. Others in the party simply used a hand held on 2m FM. Above all, we all enjoyed the mini-expedition.

SOTA should come with a bit of a warning though, its been mentioned many times on this reflector, it can get very addictive!!!

Have fun on the hills.

John
M0EAV

In reply to M3HSJ:

Welcome to SOTA Denny.

Most of the questions asked by newcomers are answered in the “Joining in” section on the SOTA Website.

Hope to hear you activating or chasing with your handheld soon.

73
Roy

In reply to G4SSH:

Most of the questions asked by newcomers are answered in the
"Joining in" section on the SOTA Website.

http://www.sota.org.uk/JoiningIn

Link - just in case!

73

Richard
G3CWI

Thanks one and all…

I’ve actually found a BNC - SO239 adapter so my nice 5ft mobile whip could sit atop my handheld (imagine what that will look like…!). Am Definitely going to give it a whirl as I’ve got 4 weeks off work now so I’ll hopefully get up onto one of the “local” summits asap…again thanks for the advice and the very warm welcome…hope to hear some of you on the air sometime…

73’s

Denny (M3HSJ)

In reply to M3HSJ:

I’ve actually found a BNC - SO239 adapter so my nice 5ft mobile whip
could sit atop my handheld

Denny

That might not be such a good idea. In a wind it may well shear the connector off the handheld.

73

Richard
G3CWI

Denny

That might not be such a good idea. In a wind it may well shear the
connector off the handheld.

73

Richard
G3CWI

I agree! I have replaced a BNC on a handheld and it was a bit tricky! It’s better to be kind to the existing BNC!

I would also question the RF matching of such an antenna. (Although, has anyone blown the finals in a handheld? I’ve never heard of a case.)

73, Colin

In reply to M0CGH:

I used to use a half-wave mobile whip with an SO239 - BNC adapter on my FT817 and never had any trouble with it: a perfect match and no movement of the socket on the rig…perhaps the early models were more robust! If I could find a right angled N to SO239 adapter I would use it on my FT857 in a high wind!

73

Brian G8ADD

In reply to G8ADD:

I would say you’ve been very careful or lucky Brian!

I seem to recall that Yaesu had quite a few complaints about the BNC being easily damaged and Yaesu ended up issuing a disclaimer with each rig saying the socket should not be used with antennas other than the supplied rubber duck.

73, Colin

In reply to G8ADD:
Afternoon Brian
Westlake or LAM communications sell the “N to SO-239” connectors, I use them on the '857. That way I can use the same coax for all antennas.
:slight_smile:

73

Tim
G4YTD

In reply to G4YTD:

Thanks for that, Tim, very helpful, I will look into it.

73

Brian G8ADD

In reply to M0CGH & G3CWI

Thanks for that…Will look into making some sort of mount to place on a mast at a later date…

73’s

Denny