K2FR's First Sota Activation =) W2/EH-003

I climbed MT beacon NY, roughly 1600 feet of elevation and successfully activated the summit for my first activation.

All in all I had a great time. As with everything I do heres the video link =)

Hope you enjoy
-Andrew K2FR

In reply to K2FR:

I tracked your progress on aprs.fi. Just contemplating how to get APRS signals out when I’m walking, there’s no network to speak of here.


In reply to MM0FMF:
I am pretty lucky to have a local digipeater on top of the mountain I like to climb at a good 1500 feet + 150 foot tower = ALOT of coverage.

Im pretty sure as I move onto other mountains, I will not be so fortunate with my coverage.

Im trying to think up a portable I Gate type scenario.

Mobile station in the car with 50 watts and the largest antenna I can mount on the car.

Have that hooked into A laptop in the car, running as an I gate by using a Cellphone broadband card for internet access.

Only problem would be if there is no cell coverage where the car parks it would be useless.

I have a very worried girlfriend who doesnt like me hiking alone or really going on these adventures at all. Once I setup APRS for her to track me, she absolutely loved knowing I was moving and Ok and if I needed help I could change my Status text and she would know to try and raise help.

So I hope to ponder/create a type of mobile Igate, to allow me to park and track myself going up the local mountain reasonably for my fans watching as well as the worried girlfriend.

In reply to K2FR:

My plan is to make a VHF<>HF digipeater for the car. Nearly all the walks I do are in 2m range of my car. So with a 2m receiver and a 30m transmitter I’d be able to get out into the European APRS network and get the spots gated back to the UK that way. There’s plenty of designs for simple PIC based APRS encoder and decoders on the web and I’ve worked out the few software changes needed. My problem is finding time to build everything!


In reply to MM0FMF:
More of a curiosity then a full time solution, but there are APRS satellites which will forward your position & status to the APRS network…I guess its better then nothing but def not a proper full time solution.


In reply to MM0FMF:

Hi Andy,

30m transmitter I’d be able to get out into the European APRS network

I am not sure that there is any 30 m network here. It is supposed to be 300 Baud anyway compared to the normal 1200 Baud on 144.800 MHz in Region 1 (unless I am mistaken here). I tried my OT1+ tracker with KISS firmware once. It works fine with the normal 1200 Baud packets, but I could not decode any traffic from 30 m band with 300 Baud.

The ISS can repeat packets, but for the path you need to use ‘ARISS’ instead of the normal ‘WIDE2-2’ or similar. I set my OT1+ to use the normal path in profile 1. I can use a switch to go to profile 2 for the ISS pass. I did not test this yet. ISS is pretty well visible here in France, but normally does not fly over the North part of Scandinavia.

An other idea is to use PropNET with PSK31. This works also partially with OT1+ using the proper firmware and FT817ND. The beacon sends automatically a PSK31 messages at given intervals. However this protocol needs check sum calculation that has not been implemented in the firmware. In addition the location information is just a simple grid locator - not very precise for tracking.

Then there is also WSPR as you know, but I have not tried that yet.

73, Jaakko OH7BF/F5VGL

In reply to K2FR:

Hi, Andrew.

I thoroughly enjoyed watching your video.

I, like many others, was following your progress on aprs.fi.

I do have a question for you.

I noticed that as well as the APRS status messages on aprs.fi you also spotted yourself on SOTAwatch2 in the ‘Spots’ section.

How did you do that?


In reply to VA3SIE:

SOTAwatch has a facility called Spotlite which is a very lightweight webpage you can use to enter spots. The webpage was designed so it would work with the primitive web browsers found on early mobile phones. If you have a modern mobile phone you can probably use the full version of SOTAwatch. The link to use is

Summits on the Air for posting alerts.


Summits on the Air for posting spots.

Note that the capitalisation is important. Of course you need mobile internet access to use the feature!


In reply to VA3SIE:

I had my Blackberry cellphone and I was able to goto Sota watch on it and spot myself =) The joys of internet on phones now a days hehe.

It was difficult to do once, and I tried adjusting frequencies and it was a pain trying to navigate on a little screen.

but it got the job done

In reply to K2FR:

Thanks to all for this information.

And congratulations K2FR on a successful activation!