My first attempt at activation - 5/29/20

I will be making my first attempt at activation tomorrow 5/29/20. I had originally planned on doing Mt Watatic W1/CR-009, but as I am not familiar with it, I’ve decided to do Mt Wachusett W1/CR-001 which I have hiked dozens of times. I should be up and running between 0900 and 1200 Eastern time. I’ll only be doing VHF (146.52) as I do not have an HF portable (yet).

I’m bringing my Kenwood TH-F6A with a telescoping antenna, and Yaesu FT-70DR as a backup. I’ll also bring two homebrew antennas, a rollup j-pole and a groundplane.

Looking forward to finally combining two of my favorite hobbies.


SOTA activation is more infectious than Covid19! Good luck with your 1st of many activations. Post an Alert for your anticipated summit, time and frequency and post a spot once you start activating. Have great fun!


Good luck! And, welcome to the party! Make sure to let us know how the activation goes.

Best wishes and have fun! Although I usually activate on HF CW, I have successfully used the same configuration, a TH-F6A with a rollup j-pole, on several occasions. The most recent was this past Saturday on W4G/NG-020. It’s a lot faster to set up than the HF rig!

If there’s no convenient tree to hang the J-pole from, I also get good results hoisting it up on a hiking pole.
73 & good luck,
Scott WB8ICQ

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Murphy showed up, more than once, but I got it done (with some help) and logged 7 contacts in 45 minutes.
The roll up j pole failed while testing it last night (bad swr), and the groundplane failed on site (center of the pl259 came off). Fortunately, I have a Smiley tri band telescoping antenna on my THF6A and it performed far better than I could have expected. I will need to build/buy some new 2m antennas.
A huge thank you to Dale, AF1T, who was my first SOTA contact ever, and helped pointing other NH Hams in my direction.


Horrible things, don’t use them.

When I worked making things to help submarines destroy the world, the biggest problem was always with connections between PCBs and backplanes and any cables used to link equipment. You just need to ensure the connections/joints etc. are strong with strain relief and where possible, waterproof. This is easier said than done!

When you’ve done that, make sure you can assemble everything when it’s below freezing, blowing a gale and you have gloves on. :slight_smile:

However, that’s one done. Fix the gear, make it better and do another activation.

If your summits give you a lofty take off nearby to major population centres with decent VHF activity, then don’t worry about adding a bigger better antenna. The stock “rubber duck” helicals supplied with handhelds will be more than sufficient to get you your contacts. Plus, as they are specifically designed for the rig they’re attached to, chances of strain damage are much lower, and water-resistant features are preserved. People often forget about the genuine advantages of rubber ducks beyond pure convenience!

Good work! The tough ones are tough, but hopefully it was still fun and you’ll be out again.


Too many decades ago when I was learning basic rock climbing, an instructor said “You should practice your knots at night, while standing under a cold shower, in the dark.” Sounds about the same. I would have laughed at this but for my activation last year of W4V/RA-004 (Sharp Top Mountain), when the winds were gusting to 50 mph, temperature was around freezing before wind chill (snow on the ground), and the fingers were numb even with the gloves on! The antenna wire was flapping in the breeze and even brushing the ground – but on 20m CW the DX QSOs were rolling in and I dared not go QRT!