Mt. Erreniega - EA2/NV-092 by EA2IF/P on 24/01/2015

The WX was too cold and windy with snow on top of all the mountains around my QTH, so I couldn’t find the necessary mental strength to get up early in the morning and carry on with a SOTA activation. I decided to stay home and do some SOTA chasing instead.
The morning chasing went fine (see the chased activations)

but, seeing the nice sunny day outside my window, I was feeling sorry for not having gone out for an activation.
So much that I decided to go out for an afternoon activation of a close summit.
The chosen one was Erreniega, which is the one you can see with snow on top in this picture taken from my QTH little village:

There is a road which can take you up to the very summit but I decided to park before and hike the final part.
The hike from the parking spot to the trig point took me longer than expected because there was frozen snow and a lot of ice, so I had to be extremely careful to avoid slips and any falls.
When I got to the trig point the wind was such that it took me a while and some efforts to get the 7m pole in position, but I finally got it.
When I connected antenna and battery to my recently built plug and play wooden rack, the rig didn’t want to switch on.
With extremely numb fingers and even pain in my hands due to the cold temperatures and the wind, I had to struggle to find out what the problem was and finally fixed an apparently faulty contact at the unreliable rear pannel power connector of the FT-817.
I had noticed this faulty contact before but it was easy to fix when the rig was out of the current wooden rack and the connector was accesible to hand manipulation, but now that the rig is preconnected inside the wooden rack it has become more difficult and really tedious to have to access the power connector at the rear pannel to move it a little and have a good contact.
This is something I can’t afford now and I’ll open the FT-817 to try to change this connector into something reliable or weld an extension cable ending in an aerial connector… I don’t know exactly but somethig must be done.
With all these inconvenients, I was 30 minutes late with respect to the Alert announced start time so I thought it was too late for 12m and I started calling CQ on 20m CW.
It was 16h49 when I logged the 1st QSO with Jorge - EA2LU.
Santi - EA2BSB followed and Robert - SP8RHP not only called me but he also raised a spot for me. Thank you!
Manuel - EA2DT followed, plus Peter - GM4WCE and Phil - G4OBK.
Nobody called in when I finished QSO with Phil neither after a new CQ SOTA call.
I was feeling so much cold, particularly the pain in my hands without any gloves and the sun was so low by that time that I decided to QRT and pack up quickly to start descent and get to the car before it was dark.
It was almost dark when I got into the car and its digital termometer told me the temperature was 0 degrees, so I guess it was about -1 or -2 up in the summit.
I’m sorry for such short activation -only 6 QSOs were logged- but I hope you all will understand the circumstances.
After this activation, I told to myself:
I will never again do afternoon SOTA activations in winter.
I think I’ll fulfill this promise.
Morning activations with the warming sun rising up are better for me.
Best 73 de Guru - EA2IF


Dear Guru,
that’s why I couldn’t catch you this time!

And please, promise yourself to add a good pair of gloves and maybe a hand warmer for your winter activations, ever!
Keep us informed of your FT817 upgrade…

VY 73, catch you next time

Hej Guru!.Soo sometimes it is :((
Yesterday I was in the SP / GS-001.Heavy rain+wind+ temp -4C only a fews QSO’s on the CW 30m.
I had a small tent :)) but my fingers frozen :(( next qso’s SSB only 20-12m 54qsos.Your signal on 20m was extremely strong S9+10/20 from EA2/NV-092.
Vy 73 de Rob(ert)o SP8RHP.

Dear Ignacio,
I had a very good pair of gloves with me today during the activation. Problem was that I wasn’t wearing them, as I had to install the antenna, fix the power connector problem and that’s something I can’t do with those thick gloves.
I put them on for descent and my hands returned to life :wink:
Best 73 de Guru -EA2IF

Changing the connector is quite simple but you need a good soldering iron (100 watts and a small chisel bit) and solderwick (or similar). To get to the connection towards the front of the radio it is almost essential to remove the electrolytic that sits close to the connector so you can desolder the joint on the old connector.
Just take care, it is very easy to lift the tracks

Barry GM4TOE

Thanks, Barry, for the tip.
I’ll have that in mind.


Hi Barry,
I opened my FT-817 last night in order to see how the female connector change operation looked like and I found it a little bit too difficult and risky for me at the moment given the little time and the tools I currently have available.
On the main circuit board and close to this female connector, I also tried to find two welding points with 12V DC between them, with the idea of trying to Weld an extension of cable with a reliable connector at the other end. But I didn’t manage to find those 2 Weld points with 12V in between them, so I finally closed the rig cover and solved the problem mechanically.
I just fitted inside the wooden rack a piece of plastic that I found in one of my junk boxes and placed it in a specific position to push the male connector upwards in a way that it seems to have a good contact at all times. Since everything is tightly fitted inside the wooden rack, I hope this solution will work well for the future, however, I’ll have my fingers crossed when pushing the switch on button of my FT-817 in my next activation :wink:
Best 73 de Guru - EA2IF

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There’s nothing that will last longer than a good provisionary arrangement. :wink: