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My first SOTA (I/AA-217)

Hello all,

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


Nice story, Axel. Welcome back to the hobby. Long enjoy its best side: SOTA.

Hi Axel,
welcome back on the bands and congrats to your activation. Hope to work you in the future.

73 Ludwig

Welcome Axel

After more than 20 years of absence from amateur radio, I started again with SOTA.

Beware - it’s addictive! :wink:

73 Armin

Hello, same story here: after 14 years of qrx, the SOTA program was the reason to get back in the air!
Hope to work you for a S2S soon!
73’s de Fabio, IK2LEY

Nice to hear all the “welcomes” :slight_smile: . Amazing, that many hams seem to have gone the same way: Years of QRX and then SOTA

Axel DF1ET

1 Like

Good job, Axel, on troubleshooting and welcome back to the hobby. I had a similar experience, being away from the hobby for over fifteen years while I was working. But retirement came along and I discovered SOTA which kindled the spark again. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do and hope to work you someday (if the bands ever open back up).

73 from Ron, KI4TN