My dear FT-60 😢

Saturday 25th November 2023

Yesterday I took advantage of the sunny weather to activate four summits in South Wales. GW/SW-039, GW/SW-036, GW/SW-031 & GW/SW-028.

The weather was exceptional for the time of year. Almost unbroken sunshine and virtually no wind. I managed to follow my planned itinerary fairly successfully and only started to feel cold on the last summit, GW/SW-028 when the sun started setting.

All QSOs were on 2m FM using my ICOM 7100. I decided to use some extra power for a change as none of the summits require any long or difficult walks to ascend them. I had also alerted for the possibility of 2m SSB, but after having no joy on GW/SW-039, I decided to stick with FM for the rest of the day to try and keep things moving with the shorter daylight hours.

Many thanks as always to the chasers for all the QSOs which kept me going! Particular thanks to Bryan @MW6IUT for working me on all 4 summits. I would also like to say thank you to Sara @MW7SRA for very kindly hanging around in her car in the Pen y Fan car park until I got to the last summit of the day, GW/SW-028. I’m sure it must have been getting cold! It was much appreciated!

It was almost a perfect day of SOTA. Unfortunately though I managed to lose my beloved and all-time favourite handheld, my Yaesu FT-60. I only brought it along to use as a backup and work any activators in range whilst I was in between summits. I noticed it was missing once I got back to my car after activating Mynydd Uchaf, GW/SW-031. I was sure I had it with me when I was on the summit, so I retraced my steps back up to my operating position and had a good look around, but no sign of it.

I have owned a few handhelds, but nothing has come close to the FT-60 for me. Ruggedly built, excellent audio from the built in speaker, and seemingly good TX audio as well. It also seemed to handle interference much better than other handhelds that I have used. I also used it to rescue my first SOTA activation a couple of years ago, where I was unable to operate hf as planned due to me forgetting a vital antenna adapter.

I know I am among friends here, so you will understand how I felt when I gave it up as lost. I can at least take some comfort in knowing that these words will be read by a sympathetic audience. :laughing:

I don’t want to finish on a downer though. Despite losing the radio, I thoroughly enjoyed my day out in the sunshine, and I will finish by posting a few photos below.

73 and until next time,
M(W)0JSB

Mynydd Llangyndeyrn - GW/SW-039

Mynydd Sylen - GW/SW-036

Mynydd Uchaf - GW/SW-031 (Please do let me know if you can see my radio!)

Mynydd y Betws - GW/SW-028

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A fine handheld. Sorry it disappeared for you. Thankfully they can be found used for a reasonable price. And heck, the new price doesn’t hurt too bad either.

Gonna stick with it when you replace it?

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Indeed it is! Sadly they were discontinued in Europe sometime ago, otherwise I probably would already have ordered a replacement! I’m sure I will be keeping an eye on the used market…

Sad to hear about your handheld!

It was getting quite cold in the car towards the end with the window open for the coax cable, but nothing compared to being on a summit, I’m sure! :slight_smile:

I was surprised that my little mag mount whip antenna managed to get through despite the mountains in the way, but I guess I was quite high up as well. I only brought it on the off-chance that someone was activating Pen-Y-Fan or one of the other summits up there.

It was nice to be able to do some chasing again and I can’t wait until I’m able to get up some summits myself again.

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A trick I heard about recently is to put a length of pipe insulation along the top of the window. You can then close the window on the coax without damaging it and keep the cold out. :slight_smile:

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Yes, I was surprised too when you said where you were calling in from. You were easy copy, so your mag mount antenna was doing the job!

Thanks again for the two QSOs yesterday and I hope you’ll be able to get back on the summits soon!

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Oh, I was mentally eyeing up the big bag of foam strips that was sitting at home while sitting in the van! But it was a last minute decision to throw in the handheld before we left in the morning, so hadn’t really time to consider the cold.

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Is there no chance of retracing your steps to look for it? This exact thing happened to me a couple of months back. I was emptying out my backpack and realized my Kenwood TH-D72 was not in there (they are discontinued and handle APRS so well).

I decided to go back to the summit the next day and when I got to my operating position sure enough, it was there on the ground. The fact that the summit required a 30 minute 4WD approach probably helped as traffic to the summit is likely light, however.

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Thanks Kelly,

I did head straight back up to the summit once I’d realised the radio was missing and had a good look around, but alas couldn’t find it. Unfortunately it’s a 3 hour drive in each direction from my home QTH. Perhaps next time in the area I’ll have a look, just out of curiosity. I guess it will be “well weathered” by then though!

Glad you got your Kenwood back!

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Shame about the handy.

I picked up one of those Yaesu FT-4 last year at a rally. For £60 not as cheap as some of the others (Boafeng, QYT and the ridiculously cheap Quansheng (about £14)) it is a little more rugged and doesn’t seem as prone to breakthrough. I’ve used mine on the notorious (for breakthrough) Billinge Hill without issues.

At those prices, not quite as big hit to the wallet if mislaid.

I originally purchased the FT-4 to go along the vx-7 for portable satellite ops, but ended up getting a full duplex rig (FT-8900) too, so the ft-4 goes everywhere and the vx-7 languishes at home.

Ian

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Sorry to hear you lost your radio.
I have a Alinco DJ-VX50 and it is a very good cheaper hand held that I use extensively on SOTA when out and about. Easy to program on the front keys for a few SOTA/local repeater frequencies in a memory and is duel band/watch while on the hikes. Great audio out too compared to other radios. Chin up I lost a radio like you one time but found it 2 years later on another hike back to the same summit. Unfortunately some animal had a chew on it and it was destroyed and full of water and rust. Must have flicked off as I swung my back pack up on my back when leaving, did not want to hike up to try to find it that summit hurt enough on 1 climb for the day.
Cheers
Ian vk5cz …

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Sorry to hear of your lost handie. I dropped my Kenwood handie on Foel Fenlli NW051 a couple of years ago & didn’t notice it was missing for a week. I retraced my steps & found it, very wet, luckily it dried out OK.
Another time I left my Tracer battery on the summit of Yr Aran-luckily my mate lives nearby & volunteered to go back up in pouring rain & collected it, damp but again dried out OK! A couple of lessons there!
Ps-I hope you find a suitable replacement soon.

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£12 delivered from aliexpress. Has a clean output, USB-C charging and a full 5w on 2m. IP68 (allegedly). Perfect SOTA Handie?


Quasheng UV-5K

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Thanks Ian. I did wonder if that’s what happened to mine. Definitely worse things that can happen out there on the hills though, so as you say, chin up!

What a kind friend! Glad you were able to recover both radio and battery. Maybe there’s hope for mine!

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The FT-60 is a nice handheld indeed. Sorry to read you lost it.
Several near misses but luckily never lost anything of real emotional or monetary value during a SOTA activation.
73, Robert

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Sorry to hear you dropped your FT-60. I was on holiday in Japan a few weeks ago, I obviously had to visit a ham radio store in Tokyo!
I was very surprised to see them still on sale brand new along with other radios like VX-3R.
Anyway I have seen new listings on Ebay from Japan if you must have another FT-60…

73 Steve

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Thanks Steve.

How lucky to have a holiday in Japan! Yes, it seems it’s still available in many parts of the world, but discontinued in Europe. Not sure I want another one badly enough to pay delivery and import costs, but it’s worth bearing in mind if I ever do find myself somewhere where they are still on sale.

The radio I lost on Saturday was the one I used to make my first amateur radio QSOs on, as well as my first SOTA activation, which is why I was so attached to it. Despite having had several drops onto hard ground over the years, it was still going strong!

Still, these things happen.

73 and hope to have a QSO again soon,

Matthew

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They turn up on eBay reasonably often for not a lot of money as they are seen as old-hat analogue only. If you don’t want 2/70 the 2m VX170/FT250 handhelds are worth searching out on eBay. Or treat yourself to an FT70 handy which is dual band and FM / DV and is also good in strong signal areas like the FT60.

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Hi Matthew,

Yes, I count myself extremely lucky to be able to visit. The countryside is stunning, especially in autumn colours. The people are amazing too. Also it looks a SOTA summit paradise!

I did bring back a few antenna bits and bobs, depressingly most of the radio stuff is half the price there. Example new Icom ID-50 about £230 if you show your passport for the Taxfree.

I only mention because sometimes we get attached to certain radios and the cost it not the first priority. Bit like when I “had” to buy an FT-818 having sold my old friend the FT-817. Nostalgia compelled me!

Plenty of Sota chaps like the FT-65 for about £80. And seems like many people talking about that UV-5K @MM0EFI mentions.

At least you can enjoy purchasing another radio :slight_smile:

73 Steve

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