M1BUU -1000 summit points

A few with good memories will remember that I did a crazy thing for my Mountain Goat activation a few years ago. I took a QRPme RockMite][ kit with me on my final summit and built the kit with a gas soldering iron.

Link here if interested -

It’s true what they say, once you reach Mountain Goat status, the pressure is off and SOTA becomes even more fun. Soon I was looking for my next challenge. I decided that I would aim my SOTA efforts to achieving ‘True’ Mountain Goat - by that I mean earning 1000 activation points using summit points alone, not including winter bonus. My challenge took a bit longer than I anticipated!

Fast forward to October 2019 and I was at the RSGB Convention chatting to Dan M0WUT. Those that know Dan will appreciate his PCB design and RF electronics prowess. I have always wanted to try to put together my own PCBs, but I’m not good with software and each time I attempted to learn a PCB design software package I failed. Dan gave me encouragement and tips to help me persevere with Kicad.

I had the idea that for my 1000 point activation, I would re-create my ‘solder the kit on the hill’ event, but this time I wanted to attempt SMD. I looked everywhere but I couldn’t find an SMD based CW kit that was available to buy. I was forced to put together my own kit.

As the 1000 point milestone crept closer towards the end of last year, I sat down with Kicad and put together a PCB. It was a steep learning curve and I did make a few mistakes. I sent off the Gerbers to JLCPCB and for the grand total of £5.34, 5 smart PCBs arrived on my doormat a couple of weeks later.

I decided that 40m would be the most useful band at the time of my activation, I also wanted a useful amount of power. I aimed for about 2 watts of CW.

The Manhattan style test circuit worked well -

Unfortunately the Covid restrictions rather got in the way, so my project was put on hold for a few months. I did build up a transmitter board in the shack though and gave it a test.

Once lockdown had been lifted I needed to ‘engineer’ my SOTA activation points to allow me to hit the magic 1000 on my chosen summit of Ingleborough. I chose to test my SMT transmitter along with the rest of station set up on Hutton Roof Crags last week, taking me to 994 activation points.

I worked 5 stations with my SMT TX, using a QRPme Sudden Storm simple Direct Conversion receiver and QRPme Tuna Helper RX / TX automatic changeover switch.

Many thanks to the chasers who coped with my mangled straight key CW and unwittingly proved the viability of my challenge! (I even managed an S2S!)

Rather quicker than anticipated, an opportunity presented itself to attempt my challenge today, the weather forecast was agreeable and also it was a weekday - I didn’t really want to run a DC receiver on 40m at a weekend!

I set off early up Ingleborough this morning with my kitted SMT Transmitter and a whole load of ancillary items.

The build went great- I made a little mistake putting an 0805 cap in the wrong place but I knew that I’d done it almost immediately. I was a little nervous applying power for the first time but the transmitter fired straight up with a healthy 2 watts without any troubleshooting.


In a nice tie up, I used the home brew straight key which I made during my Mountain Goat activation on Whernside G/NP-004.

I was very relieved to hear SA4BLM replying to my CQ and F4WBN was my fourth chaser, making my challenge a complete success!

My log -

The weather was superb throughout. A fantastic day in the hills!

A big thank you to all who have supported me, especially Dan M0WUT for pushing me to make my own PCBs and Dennis G6YBC for supplying components and crystals.

Thanks also to the chasers who put up with my hand sent CW on a home made key and apologies for those that I missed - running a DC receiver on 40m is not ideal!

73, Colin M1BUU

‘True Mountain Goat’. Whoop!


Remember it well; wonderfully outrageous!
Ken, K6HPX


Where did you get the Tx design from, do you have a link to a circuit diagram?

Very well done, Colin!
Congrats for the achievement and thanks for the report.


Hi Colin,

what should I say? GREAT Idea and GREAT realisation!!!

Well done Colin and you’ve raised the bar even higher.

Maybe this is redundant given your Kicad to activation success but here is a 40m SMD transceiver kit (but currently unavailable to your point) SMK-2 40m Surface Mount CW Transceiver - Pacific Antenna


Hello Colin, thanks for your detailed report and photos.

73 de Geoff vk3sq

Well done Colin. great effort.


John VK6NU

Superb raising of your own bar, Colin. Hats off! Chapeau. Beanie!

73 Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH

Hey Colin
That’s really fantastic. (The idea of) Building a TRX on the summit impressed me a lot… and then to break the 1000 point barrier with it is very special!

It always excites me to make qsos with very simple TRX.
Maybe we will hear each other on 13.5. ?

73 Armin

1 Like

Hi Paul,

Yes, I know about the SMK-2, I bought one from Doug Hendricks about 10 years ago. I did considering buying another one but I’ve not seen them for a while and also I considered that the components were too large.

My SMK-2 -

I wanted to demonstrate that soldering SMDs isn’t as scary as some people think, so I wanted to use a size that some folks feel challenged by. Kits using 0805 components just seem to be like rocking horse poop.

I had not actually tried soldering SMDs with my gas soldering iron before but I had no issues at all. I usually make things look neat and carefully line the parts up, but for this build I just attacked it as quickly as I could. I was rather cold at first and my hands were shaking but as the sun got higher I warmed up a bit.

73, Colin


I had heard about the MAS stuff a little bit but thanks for the link, once I’d found the ‘English’ tab, it made a bit more sense :slight_smile: My German is rather rusty after 25 years plus since my school exam!

I’m not sure if I have a rig that qualifies. I have Pixies etc, but I’ll have to count up the components. A lot of my rigs have NE602 mixers and amplifier ICs.

My SMT TX uses a 9v regulator to stabilise the crystal oscillator, I’m guessing that that will count as an ‘IC’ and will need to have it’s internal components added to the count.

Interesting idea though! Needs further investigation :slight_smile:

72, Colin

If you remember our conversations from about a year ago you could have tried The Quartzmite SMT QRPp CW transceiver project the prototype boards were available back then and I’ve now got production kits in stock.

Given the current propagation, I wasn’t confident that a RockMite would provide enough power to produce contacts. I felt I needed at least a couple of watts to be heard.

I also wanted the rig to be as simple as possible, that’s why I went with a transmitter only, relying on proven gear for receive and T/R switching.

Really pleased that you managed to achieve your challenge Colin. Truly excellent indeed and a decent log as well. Many congratulations. :grinning:

73, Gerald

1 Like

Congratulations Colin. Another classic M1BUU activation.

Hope to catch you soon s2s.

73 Allan GW4VPX

Hi Colin

Your soldering on the SMK-2 kit is exceptional. I looked at the manual for it that QRPKIts provides and their’s doesn’t hold a candle to your soldering.

My perspective on kits is “here today, gone tomorrow” and with that I have an unbuilt SMK-2 waiting for me to tackle. I’ll drag it out and see the component size especially as you declared they are too large!! Maybe its 1206.

A couple of days before your post and after 9 months of home renovations that amongst other things has a new man cave for me, I decided to rummage through my kit collection (that’s why the SMK-2 was front of mind) and found another “Here today, gone tomorrow” purchase in the form of the now almost defunct Etherkits site of Jason Milldrum, the CRX-1 which is (was) an 805 SMD kit. CRX1 | Etherkit Documentation I never feel compelled to rush my kit builds and have about 20 components installed for about 2 hours work. Soldering is passable but no where near your SMK-2 work.

I also noted the Manhattan style prototype you created and am sure you are aware of Dave Richards (AA7EE), a fellow Brit in Cal, who has created some absolutely spectacular MePad based radios. Dave Richards AA7EE – Page 2

I’m at the very beginning of my KiCad journey and it does seem a daunting tool but the docs and YouTube videos are great.

Keep it all up and once again well done.

I’m sure we will all be reading about this in a future copy of RSGB.

I’ll be able to say I’ve had a beer with that famous man…

From Mark’s G/LD event a couple of years back.

Truly inspirational Colin!

I knew there was something special when I heard your tiny signals yesterday going on at a slower pace than usual. Congratulations!
I can’t imagine what do you plan for the future, guess that will be amazing again.

The only con in your kit is that it doesn’t quite well meet your distinctive traditional orange color trademark, but that is a minor concern I can forgive this time :wink:

Take care and thanks for your wonderful proposals
73 de Ignacio


All noted Paul.

Yes, I don’t like to rush kits either, for me, the building is the fun part! I can build quickly if needed but I don’t tend to do that these days.

Dave’s Manhattan builds are gorgeous, mine tend to be a bit messier.

I’m not sure about being famous, well maybe a little famous within ham circles for being a bit ‘odd’. :laughing:

The important thing is that us hams keep on making our own gear, whether that be a simple kit, home brew, or something more complex.

Vy 73,


A really funny thing - enjoyed reading it!

73, DIZ