Lost and found stuff during SOTA activations

After reading a recent activation report telling us a story about a lost and recovered wallet and the other posts that followed telling about similar stories, I thought it’s time to create a specific thread where we can share our surely several stories about lost and found stuff during our SOTA activation expeditions.

  • On 23/12/2014, I activated Mt. Eltxumendi EA2/NV-132 and forgot/lost at the summit the whip I had attached to the top end of my fishing rod in order to make a little longer my vertical antenna:

    You can see the whip in the above picture.
    Santi EA2BSB(SK) and his wife went there some time later to find it right where I had setup the previous day and get it back to me.

  • In the first picture, I’m also holding a dual-band 144/432 mobile antenna. I lost that antenna on 18/May/2014 during my 1st and failed attempt to hike and activate Mt. Larrogain EA2/NV-041 after taking in error the left instead of the right hand side track at this point, which took me through a very long track along dense forest to a dead end in the middle of the mountain side:

    When I noticed the antenna was missing, I got back and forth searching for it without success. It must be still there…

  • On 31/Jan/2016 I forgot our dog’s lash at the summit of Mt. Seanbe EA2/NV-096, right on a rock by the left hand side of my operating position.

    I got back there the following weekend and the dog’s lash was still right where I had left it, so I recovered it and still use it whenever I take our dog to the mountains.

I’m pretty sure many of you will have similar stories you may want to share here.

Feel free and thanks in advance.




So far only the 6 m pole forgotten on Schieferstein OE/OO-277, back in September 2020.
I could get back some days later via the shortest route after work. Speeded up the summit only with a bit of water and not much other stuff. Man I was fast.
Did some calls with the handheld and ran back to the car with the headlamp.

That’s how I left and found it.

73 Joe


I have a few good ones to share!

  1. On the way up GW/MW-005, my seat mat dropped out of my rucksack outer pocket. On the descent later, Jimmy @M0HGY found it on the ground!


  1. In 2006 we did an activation of Kisdon G/NP-026. Jimmy (then M3EYP) lost his mobile phone on the summit. It was found 40 days later by a walker, who charged it up, found a way to contact us and posted it to us. It still worked!

  2. In 2003, Liam let the wind blow his red foam seat mat out of his hand on the summit of Snowdon GW/NW-001, and off it went into the sky! 5 years later in 2008, Jimmy and I were parking up for an ascent of Mynydd Nodol GW/NW-048. Jimmy found a red foam seat mat close to where we’d parked - and it had the same scratched patterns in it that Liam had carved out with his fingernails five years earlier! (We’ve since lost it again…)


Some how “distance from lost item to found location” should be added to a SOTA DX award.


My losses / finds include:

Countless pencils (50+), My XYL gave me a pack of 10 more for Christmas, should last a few weeks!
3 sit mats, last seen disappearing into the mist.
1 Camera, dropped twice, but located both times by careful back tracking using the GPS on maximum definition.
1 Woolly hat somewhere on the Pap of Glencoe.
1 2m Flowerpot antenna lost from rucksack mount whilst on Red Pike.
1 Mobile phone dropped out of Buffalo jacket pouch on Larrington Fell. I know exactly where it is/was.
1 Pack sandwiches eaten by dog on Old Man of Conistone.

2 Dog leads
1 Pair of brand new super quality waterproof trousers on Blencathra.



I can’t recall ever losing anything on a SOTA trip.

I did once find a broken telescopic pole on Rombalds Moor G/NP-028, which I retrieved and disposed of.

I found an Ordnance Survey map on Fairfield which was a newer version of the one I had :slight_smile:

I found a pet’s name tag once on a summit, I sent a text to the number on it and I obtained an address to post it back, I didn’t even receive a text back to say thanks that I’d sent it. :frowning_face:


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Ah yes Colin but nothing is ever lost until you know it is… and if you dont recall, then what you no longer have, you never lost…

I’ll get my coat …

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So far I have lost an FT-817 microphone and FT-817 antenna, since I started using a waistband rig bag.

We had fun retracing my steps trying to find the FT-817 antenna, and watched a glorious sunset, so not all bad. I also had a spare FT-817 microphone, so again, not the end of the world.

I thought I had lost a 4200 mah LifePo4 battery on Saturday, I’d have been much more concerned over losing that, given they are unobtainium at the moment!


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On this New Years day I lost the power lead for the external battery and had to complete the last two activations using the internal battery. A new lead had been made but they never seem the same as the OE. 8 hours drive to check out sites. not going to worry.

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  • Baofeng battery at trailhead
  • Dog leash near an overlook (I really hope the dog didn’t fall)
  • A smoldering fire ring
  • Hiking boots (Not my size - I checked)
  • Abandoned stroller


  • Velcro Strips
  • Top section of a SOTAbeams carbon fiber mast
  • Trekking poles left at trailhead (went back and found them)

Wow, let me see – I’m missing several pairs of sunglasses - Mt, Spokane and Mt. Allen (I think the bear got the latter), lots of velcro straps, mini-bungees and SOTA Beams pole caps; at least I have not (yet) left the radio up on a summit. It all relates to the various tales of this reflector about “summit brain” …

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Oh, and three (3) (count’ em) 2m whip antennas that worked their way off my HT via hiking motion, so now I just glue the damn things on …

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  1. 12-foot counterpoise on W0C/FR-107
  2. Palm key cable on W0C/FR-062
  3. Sun glasses on W0C/FR-169
  4. Antenna on a spool on W0C/PR-004
  5. At least 3 telescoping poles left in the forest when I stopped for breaks
  6. A 3-foot length of dacron cord used to hold my pole to a tree on W0C/PR-148
  7. Log sheet with all my contacts snatched by high winds on W0C/FR-095
  8. 65-foot antenna on the ground on W0C/PR-018


  1. 12-foot counterpoise about a year later - banana plug was glinting in the sun, wire was buried in dirt
  2. Telescoping poles were all found with GPS backtracking
  3. Dacron cord was found more than a year later, tied to the tree on W0C/PR-148
  4. 65-foot antenna was recovered on W0C/PR-018 the next day
  5. Leatherman multi-tool on W0C/FR-185
  6. Jacket on W0C/FR-168 - returned to owner
  7. Many face masks worn during the Pandemic - left untouched!



I have two good ones:

  1. On OE/OO-391, Ostrawitz, a hiking buddy dropped his camera in a steep grassy gully near the summit. It kept rolling down in its padded pouch and was soon out of sight. We climbed down and searched for maybe 15 min when we finally gave up. My buddy’s feelings were split between sorrow about the loss of the camera with all the pictures on it, and half filled with anticipation now that he had a good reason to get a new camera. The camera was already ten years old. I set a waypoint in my GPS to search on the way down and we continued to the summit.

We finally found the camera about 120m of elevation below were it was dropped! It was dangling from a bush on its shoulder strap. If it had missed this bush, there was an almost vertical drop into rocky terrain immediately below that. The camera is still in use today!

  1. On OE/OO-084, Eiskogel, during an activation another hiker brought me a nicely coiled up wire that he had found and asked if it belongs to me. It didn’t, but it was obviously some kind of antenna or ground wire on a winder as sold by SOTA Beams. I looked up the SOTA db and found that OE5YYN and OE5AUL had activated this sumit a few days ago. We had a QSO later this day. They were not yet aware of but soon confirmed that they miss a wire antenna. I handed it back to them on the next OE5-SOTA-Day.

Minor Losses: numerous end-caps of fiberglass poles.

73 Heinz


From the PNW SOTA Newsletter Nov-Dec 2019:
SOTA Lost & Found – There are likely many more stories about “Lost” items than there are “Lost & Found” and I’m sure lots more that don’t involve Darryl-WW7D. He’s just a prolific activator. With a lot of gear to keep track of.

Goat Date: 08/Jul/2018
Josh-WU7H took Quinton-NU7Y and his son to Mt. Fremont-W7W/RS-005 for an activation and found an OR brand gaiter. Josh checked the log to see who the last activator was - it was Tim-KG7EJT. Tim reported that the gaiter belongs to his hiking buddy, who lost it due to heavy winds during their activation the week before. Gaiter has been returned to its owner.
Goat Date: 02/Aug/2018
Darryl loses his PNWVHF Society hat on the summit of Big ChiefW7W/CH-192.
Goat Date: 29/Aug/2018
Bill-WA7NCL and Rich-AC7MA find a PNWVHF Society hat on the summit
of Big Chief. After riding around in Rich’s car for a couple of months, it
eventually found its way back to Darryl and is one of his favorites – it’s
broken in! The hat was returned, sun-faded and with some small sections nibbled upon by rodents.
Goat Date: 21/Oct/2018
During an activation of Huckleberry Mountain-W7W/KG-093, Darryl-WW7D searches for a tiny fingerstock CW paddle he thinks he might have lost the previous year (11/Aug/2017 to be exact). He does indeed locate the paddle after 15 minutes of searching. WU7H proceeds to plug the paddle in and make QSOs with it. Needs a little cleaning, but it still works!
Goat Date: 09/Dec/2018
Josh-WU7H finds a coax jumper with SMA connectors left behind by WW7D the previous year on Mt. Aurora-W7W/RS-045. Darryl is happy to have it back.
Goat Date: 16/Aug/2019
Scott- KI7EMX activates Linney Butte-W7O/CN-034 on a Friday evening, camping overnight on Peak 4816-W7O/CN-089, activating it the next morning and then did the bushwack to Wolf Peak-W7O/CN-042…His only fail was leaving his HF and VHF masts on Linney Butte the night before! He surmises that they’ll be free to the next activator. But that’s not what happened. Roland-K7FOP and Etienne-K7ATN activate Linney the next weekend and find the
masts – leaning on a rock. They are now returned to Scott.
Goat Date: 26/Jan/2019
Darryl-WW7D unknowingly drops a tri-band (2m/432 MHz/1296 MHz) antenna (the stock antenna on an Alinco DJ-G7 HT) on the summit of Taylor Mountain-W7W/KG-118.
Goat Date: 01/May/2019
K7JRO activates Taylor Mountain-W7W/KG-118 and finds a small “rubber duckie” antenna. Curious as to what it might be, he texts a photo of the antenna to WW7D, who claims it.
Goat Date: 30/Nov/2018
Steve-WGØAT tells the story: Today was a good day! On my Lost & Found
SOTA hike I found several items. My camera that I left behind the day before on Mount HermanW0C/FR-063 and also several months ago one of my EFHW traps broke off in a tree and was unreachable. I left it thinking maybe the wind and weather would eventually bring it down. Today was the day! As I stood
resting to catch my breath almost to the top, I saw my antenna wire dangling within reach! Woohoo!


A couple of years ago I activated Foel Fenlli GW/NW-051 using Kenwood handie. I didn’t sort my rucsac out for a week or so, but no handie to be found! Next day I went back up the hill & eventually found it sticking out of a clump of heather where it had fallen out of my pocket. Phew! It was soaking wet, but after a few days drying out it was fine.
Last Feb I activated Yr Aran with my walking buddy & left my expensive Tracer battery on the summit. Luckily I realised the same evening it was missing & my buddy who lives near Aran, very kindly went back up in the rain & found it. Again after drying out it was fine. Two potentially expensive mistakes! My battery now lives in a bright orange cotton bag which can’t be missed!



  • 4 endcaps, so far, for the telescoping 6m fishing pole that serves as my antenna mast. Probably not the last.
  • a Diamond 144/440 rubber duck HT antenna. Fortunately I was only 5 minutes into my descent when stopped and asked the dog “Did we pack up the rubber duckie?” As he was not able to verify we had, we went back to the summit and and found it.


  • Last month the XYL picked up an iPhone 10 from the trail. The battery was dead and, as Android users, we couldn’t charge it. We took the phone to the local police station, where the receptionist behind the glass gave me a “well, what are we supposed to do?” look. That look discouraged me from suggesting that a phone store could pull the phone number or IMEI from the SIM card and trace the subscriber that way. Hope it found its way home…
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Find a way to charge it, then turn it on, then hold the big button down for a second or so. That will wake up Siri. Ask “Who does this phone belong to?” and it will show the name and phone number of the person registered for that phone.

Police really ought to know that trick. I was posting this to the work Slack channel about once per month back when people were in the office and leaving phones in conference rooms.

This feature has been around since iOS 8, released in 2014.



This was a rural sheriff’s department, the law enforcement office closest to where we found the phone. Where I live, the police know more tricks; when I gave them a locked iPad Mini I found in the street in my neighborhood, they were able to determine the owner and return it.

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My boss used to say “give me solutions not problems”. this is my solution to loosing many endcaps:

The tape is what, in the UK, is called “knicker elastic”. Single males may have difficulty sourcing this material! It is attached with superglue and electrical tape. Losses since mod, ZERO.