I have never done a VHF Sota Activation. I am not even sure I have ever had a VHF QSO at all so I thought I’d try something new. I picked up an Arrow Yagi in the summer but haven’t used it yet so thought I’d give it a try.
The only VHF radio I have is a Baofeng I bought back in 2013 or so. I also have a Signal Stick antenna for it so figured I’d try both.
Since I was not expecting any luck I didn’t want to do a summit that was too long of a hike. Mt Baldy is probably the best candidate in the area since it is roughly a 30 minute hike up from the gate.
I brought a non-ham friend along and his dog. We got to the summit at just after 4-ish.
First attempt was on 2m with the Yagi. I got two contacts almost immediately that came through loud and clear. But then nothing but silence for a while.
My first contact mentioned he had UHF at home and would be home in a few minutes to try. So I quickly went over to UHF and tried but nothing.
At this point I thought I’d try my luck with the signal stick and see if it made any difference.
Luckily I had let a friend know that I’d be up doing an activation and he came through as the 3rd QSO. He did me a favour and went on some of the local repeaters to let them know there was someone looking for a SOTA contact. Had I programmed the repeaters into my Baofeng I would have done the same.
Shortly after I got a 4th QSO which was fairly faint but was able to complete the QSO.
The same friend came back a few minutes later and said there was someone south of us trying to reach us. I could just barely hear them but nothing.
At this point we had been there nearly an hour and I didn’t want to bore my non-ham friend too much so we headed down.
Since then I purchased a FT5DR. I’m really interested and curious about APRS and figured it would be a good companion for SOTA. Hoping to take it out soon, maybe Wednesday if the weather improves and do VE7/CV-028 Maple Mountain after work.
My non-ham friend is a bit interested in radio as well and I think this was pretty interesting to him. I told him about APRS and that also piqued his interest. Could see him possibly getting his licence at one point.