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Retro Radio SOTA 20th Anniversary

My idea was to use old portable rigs to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the launch of SOTA on 2nd March. As the 2nd of March falls on a Wednesday this year, I thought it would be nice to include both weekends either side to dig out the old rigs and put them on air. However it’s now Sunday afternoon and I’m sat in Costa drinking Latte at Gretna Green!

So just for fun, how about using retro rigs for the coming week, finishing on Sunday 6th March?

I will be out on Saturday 5th March in the Lake District somewhere and I’ll try to use a vintage themed rig, maybe my SW-20+. If possible I hope to be out during the week sometime too, and I’ll put an old rig on the air.

My idea is that there aren’t any strict rules, its just to have fun and a nostalgic look back at how things were 20 years ago. No points or prizes - maybe just kudos if you choose to take your old lead acid batteries for an outing!

73, Colin

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Great weather today in the Yorkshire Dales so I took my SW-40+ and SW-20+ up Ingleborough for some retro radio action.

33 QSOs in the log comprising of a nearly equal split, 17 QSOs with the SW-40+ and 16 QSOs with the SW-20+.

It was a fun activation but it made me appreciate just how good the newer DDS radios are! My SW-20+ has a Freq-Mite frequency counter fitted which gives a (local) CW read out of operating frequency with 1kHz resolution, this means that there isn’t an easy way to correct for drift. I saw a few hundred Hz drift reported on the RBN - I hadn’t let the rig warm up before operating :frowning: With the SW-40+, I have a Chinese frequency counter bought via ebay fitted, it means that I can monitor the drift a make adjustments to the VFO as needed.

So, the older stuff is still viable, you just have to work harder!

73, Colin

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Congrats on the proposal and activation Colin.
I wish I had a chance for an outiing with my old Wilderness SST-30, but I’m too busy during the working days this week; ,perhaps on the weekend?

SST-30

My SST has no QRG indication at all so I should rely solely on RBN…

I should consider to celebrate tomorrow’s 2nd of March SOTA anniversary, as it’s my birthday anyway :birthday: :tada: :confetti_ball:

73 de Ignacio

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Happy birthday for tomorrow Ignacio!

I love your SST-30!

As it happens, I’m spending every bit of free time possible on building an SST-30 from scratch - it was a challenge set down to me by Matthew M5EVT. I think the rig is working, I’m seeing about 1.2 Watts output. I have to finish the home made brushed aluminium case yet and I’m still waiting for a 10k potentiometer for the tuning control, I’m using a plastic one for testing.

73, Colin

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Hi Colin,
On the 5 Feb I took my 50 yo FT75 out for an activation. Over the next couple of weeks a modern build of a Paraset and an FTdx100 were fielded by VK2WP and VK3ZPF.

Good to see the old stuff still going.

73
Ron
VK3AFW

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Well I guess I did an activation tonight, using the same model of rig as I was using back in 2002 - an FT-817… does that count?

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Yes! I think it does count Tom. My FT817 actually dates from February 2001, so pre-dates SOTA!

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Tom,
You always get full points for effort but I fear the provenance of you rig is a little short. It’s sort of George Washington axish is it not?

73
Ron
VK3AFW

I couldn’t resist activating on the anniversary date because it’s also my first-license anniversary. I chose a nearby drive-up hill and found a spot in the sun and out of the wind. My retro radio was an Elecraft K1, which has been my primary HF rig, at home and portable, for 20+ years. (The rig was a 2-bander at SOTA’s founding, was on 4 bands long before I discovered SOTA, and was on just 1 band yesterday.)


I grabbed a SOTA-promoting QSL and my original license before I left home so I could get a suitable still-life from the operation deck. (Recognize HB9CBR/P’s card?)

20 meters seemed a bit up and down, but a loose coax adapter didn’t help my cause, either. Still, I was happy with 35 contacts to Europe and across the United States and 4 S2S including a weak and very patient M5OTA/P just before I went QRT.

Another incentive to visit a summit was to cross a chaser threshold from outside of the shack. Thanks to my S2S QSOs, breaking 4,000 felt less slothlike.


Looking east over the Gulf of Maine from Mount Agamenticus.

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Probably more Trigger’s Broom-ish.

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Is that known far from Peckham?

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Thanks for sharing that Scott! Well done on your great QSOs on the K1.

I built K1 serial number 3160 for a ham who is now silent key, I don’t think that the rig saw much use as the guy was still learning Morse. I often wonder where that radio is now. A K1 was beyond my budget.

I did take the rig out for a test on a SOTA activation before it went back to its owner :slight_smile:

73, Colin

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I know sir I know! It’s Roy Roger’s horse grooming brush.

73
Ron
VK3AFW.

Kicked off the LD weekend with a brief activation of Arnside Knott G/LD-058 this morning. Just 5 contacts before I pulled the plug.

I used my SW-40+ and the best QSO was with Gerald, F6HBI/P who was running in the fast lane down at the bottom end of the band. The PicoKeyer fitted to my SW-40+ seems to be capable of ‘ludicrous speed’, so I was mostly OK, however QRM and QSB, plus my puny TX signal made it a difficult S2S - sorry Gerald, but thanks for F/AM-418!

I’m actually enjoying using the SW+ rigs.

Colin

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12 QSOs from Helvellyn, G-LD-003, today for the SOTA LD weekend. Didnt stick around for long, the wind was very cold and very strong. I only used a few sections of my pole, thankfully it stayed put for the duration that I was on air. Just for extra self inflicted pain I elected to use my old straight key. I sent lots of gibberish due to not being able to hear the sidetone and also due to a cold hand. The wonderful chasers seemed to understand what I was trying to convey. (Thanks guys (gals too, if applicable!), I promise that usual service will now resume and the relics will be placed back in the museum until the next milestone!)

After lunch I had 18 CW QSOs from Red Screes G/LD-017. I used my paddle key as I thought the chasers had suffered enough and I’d ticked the straight key box already!

To finish off my activation of Red Screes, I had a QSO with G7CDA in Lancaster using my 1998 vintage Alinco DJ-G5 handheld. The handheld still has it’s original 9.6v Ni-Cad battery! Is that amazing or what? :slight_smile:


I remember using my DJ-G5 handheld for my first activation of Helvellyn back in 2004.

73, Colin

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Well done Colin, great report, loved the photos. :+1:

Cheers to you :beers:

Geoff vk3sq

KN6REU and I took some classics up this Saturday too. She used the Kenwood TH-F6a, and I had my Small Wonder Labs SW-40+ and the Midway Electronics clone for 20m. Lots of fun using the older rigs, and it will be more fun when I get a lightweight straight key!

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Brilliant! Thanks for the video too! :slight_smile:

73, Colin

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