I want to tell about my first SOTA and my first qsos after a ham-break of about 30 years.
Eventually I got some free time and thought, SOTA could be interesting for me. Hence, I ordered a 20-m-QCX-transceiver kit (3 W out, CW only), built a 2-paddle key from hacksaw blade and a KX0R-tuner and re-learned a bit of Morse. Unfortunately, the QCX-kit arrived only one weak before our (me and my wife) holidays in Italy/Alto Adige, which I thought would be a great SOTA region because of its wonderful mountains. So I built the QCX in just a few days, being aware, that building such a thing in a hurry can end in frustration… I had to troubleshoot low output power, accidentally killed an IC, ordered a new one and got it just one day before our departure! Putting the IC into the QCX, it worked - whew! Up to now, I had tested the antenna tuner together with the antenna wire only with a VNWA, not with real power. And had no more time for testing it before leaving my home qth. Didn’t take any tools with me (besides a screw driver), because starting soldering in our one-week holidays would certainly not please my XYL.
On my 2nd day of the holidays I did my first trial of activating I/AA-217 (Sciaves), a very easy hill. Only less than 1 km to walk and several benches to sit down and to attach the 6 m pole to. But then: First time giving power (3 watts) to the tuner (and the 21 m wire), I could not tune it! Couldn’t make the SWR-bridge (resistors plus LED) show some kind of a minimum. Disappointed, I leaved I/AA-217…
This kept bothering me the next day, so I unscrewed the tuner, and indeed, I found that I had made a mistake in the SWR bridge. With a knife and a lot of luck I could provisorily repair it.
Finally, two days later, 2019-06-28, I could activate I/AA-217 successfully. The first two qsos where with the antenna tuner in the “tune” (not operate) mode, so did it with 0.75 watts only! With the full 3-watt-qro-power I managed to do 4 more qsos. I’m very glad about this!
Sri about my bad hand at the key, have to do more practice.
vy 73, Axel, DF1ET