Share your SOTA-specific inventory of radio gear (Part 1)

Thank you Fraser! That helps greatly! I was not aware of the out of band “Baofeng” type issues. I took it with me on vacation last month and ran it, the pi (via a buck converter), and the tuner via a 6ah battery off of a fused power pole block from windcamp. I sometimes ran the sdx from the battery pack. Worked out well on FT8, but I didn’t try phone. I’m not sure if I’ve ever tried the speaker at all, to be honest. The tuner is pretty lightweight, but “ounces=pounds and pounds hurt” so I’ll definitely look into the resonance of the EFHW. The one I took with me was about 71 feet long and the tuner got it to a 1.0 SWR, so I assume that it was pretty resonant (or the cheap Malakit ATU-100 is really good). I do have one of those carbon fiber carp fishing rods from Amazon, which would be good to wind the wire around. My bag a Maxpedition day packs with Molle webbing on it, so securing it to the bag as a mast support should be simple enough.

I’m not very handy with a soldering iron… yet, but will keep the split lead idea in mind. Ideally I’d like to get a more self-contained and self-powered unit like a Surface tablet to run the digital modes. Right now I have to VNC into the Pi’s wifi with either a phone or a tablet, so not the best option. Something like a fully charged Windows tablet would eliminate the Pi and most of the power needs, especially if I can get rid of the tuner.

Thanks again for your help and advice,


My Sota Gear: UPDATE

Radio gear

LNR Precision Mtr4b

Icom IC V86 2m HT


VT DCT multi band trapped EFHW (40,30,20)


1100 MaH Lipo

Mast: customized 7m carbon fiber fishing pole

Speaker: JVC wired ear buds and a small Amazon speaker

Key/Paddle: Bamakey TPiii , N0SA Sota paddle (backup)

Non Radio Gear:

Puff jacket

Rain poncho 2 person Bothy bag

10 safety essentials (fire starter,medical)

Bear spray

Spot messenger GPS gen 4


head lamp

light snacks

small clipboard / Paper log sheets

Mystery ranch bridger 35L Backpack


Update of my new and old equipment.
I got a KX2 now.


  • KX2 included 3x 18650 3500 mAh
  • Diy Mic with cable
  • Retevis RA685


  • My 1:64 coupler in a plastic case, with an external BNC connector and banana-plug.
  • ~20m wire used as antenna. Resonant on 10m-12m-15m-20m-40m.
  • 10m CB-Antenna
  • Extension coil for 20 and 40m for the small CB-Antenna + counterpoise wire
  • Diamond RH770
  • J-Pole for 2m band from OE5AUL with SMA adapter
  • 7m coax cable with 2 BNC adapters


  • SOTABEAM 6m pole
  • 10m 2mm rope with S-Karabiner
  • 2 straps
  • Pole holder is from steel with an M8 thread
  • Nail with soldert M8 screw
  • 3x tent hooks

so I ended up with ~2.7 kgs its 300 gramms less then with my FT817 and I added the short CB antenna with the extension coil.

Can’t wait for my next activation!

Julian, IN3JIB, OE1JLN


Complimenting Julian

What kind of CB activity is there?

I heard lots of guys doing SOTA with the midland 42 Multi?


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Hello John,

I got one of these on Aliexpress:

they are like 5$

Made a contact with OH8TS on 10m about 2000km and I was indoor in my kitchen with 10w :smiley: so crazy.

Never worked with midland 42.

Julian IN3JIB

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John, I also have one of those. It works on 10m.

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QCX-mini 40m
linked endfed 40/30/20
Doublet antenna with Kanga pocket transmatch
6m fishing pole
Adventure radio CW paddles
Putikeeg CW paddle

73 de ON4MGY/OO4M Nic


TRX + Mast + other stuff:

Antenna (EFHW 40/20/15/10):

All packed up (2.2kg):

73 Martin


My “Exclusive to SOTA” list is below. It is clear that I have completely lost control:

HF Rigs
KH1 (pending)
MTS-5b HB (Construction Pending)

Palm PPK Straight Key
Palm Mono Paddle (missing in house or on mountain)
Begali Adventure Mono
Elecraft KXPD2
Elecraft KXPD3

22-foot Fiberglass
Shortened SOTABeams Fiberglass

SotaBeams Link Dipole (x2)
Telescopic Whip for HT

Garmin 66i
Garmin Oregon 600

Lowe Day Pack (near end of life after 39-years, the last 10 of which have been “SOTA only”)
Osprey Aether 100L pack (for long backpacking-SOTA trips)

Finally - my trusty “worn only for SOTA” SOTA hat. I am planning to officially retire it on April 26, which will be my 10-year SOTA anniversary.

Rob - AE7AP


What’s the fan for Martin?

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On hot days I use it to cool down my KX2 a bit …


Fraser lives in Scotland. He won’t need that.


That “hottest day of the year” weather warning we had a couple of summers ago. The one when the English were told not to go outside or they would die.

I cycled 9 miles to Ballater and activated Craigendarroch GM/ES-078 because it has a partially wooded summit. Not wooded enough it seems. The KX2 didn’t like the heat and throttled back to 5w. IIRC it was around 32°C.

I wonder why they paint portable outdoor radios black?


That’s what I’ve always said, Fraser.

My FT-857DG (G is for grey)

My IC-9700G



When I got a heatsink upgrade for my KX3 I chose the (cheaper) un-painted option. That said, I try to keep my kit in shade on a summit, if only to make reading the screens easier…


My SOTA box:

Item mass in g
Carbon 6m mast 313
EFHW 20m long + guy line + 3 tent pegs 180
1:49 match box 46
1500 mah 3s lipo 120
lab 599 tx 500 550
coax rg58 150
headset microphone 100
2 carabiners 51
Hard case 340
Total 1850

I which I could drop it to 1 kg but it seems impossible. The only way to reduce weight would be removing the case and stuff the gear randomly in the bag. Saving 340g … But I find the case usefull not only for safety during climbing but also during activation as a radio deck.


Fred gets my vote for the smartest kit of the list. Probably North America’s most experienced activator with over 900 summits, several over 4,000 meters. Less is more!


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My big SOTA pack (for planned activations):

  • old army backpack, containing all stuff (& more, for hiking etc), acting as support for the radio if no table / tree strunk available)
  • Xiegu G90 with microphone and battery cable
  • 2 Liitokala LiIon battery packs 12V, 6.4Ah (each lasting about 2 hrs)
  • Vibroplex endfed antenna trail-friendly (see Par EndFedz® EFT-10/20/40 Trail Friendly | EFT-10/20/40 TRAIL) length 41’ ~12.5m
  • ~10m coax cable
  • two ropes of ~15m length each
  • two ropes of ~5m each (as extensions of those above or to be used instead if the short length is sufficient)
  • arborist throw weight to get those ropes up into a branch
  • two small guying stakes (if ropes cannot be fastened to a tree)
  • SOTABeams heavy-duty mast ~7m height
  • 4 bungee cords ~60cm length to fasten the mast to a fence post
  • small logbook with spare pencil

My small SOTA pack (for before-work or after-work semi-spontaneous activations if time / weather allows):

  • small bag containing:
  • (tr)uSDX, with headphone
  • N9SAB end-fed antenna (20m)
  • ~5m coax
  • small battery
  • two ropes of ~15m length each
  • arborist throw weight to get those ropes up into a branch
  • two small guying stakes
  • small logbook with spare pencil

I usually throw a rope over a tree branch and deploy the antenna so that both ends are at least ~2m above ground (one end preferably higher 5-8m) and do not touch any leaves etc if possible, especially with the small (tr)uSDX, as it has no tuner. Leaves / branches / being too close to the ground seem to detune the antenna (the G90 is able to tune that).
If no suitable tree(s) are found, I use the mast.

The mast is also used if I try to do DX: There I use the end-fed tuner attached to an AliExpress 5.6m telescopic rod fastened to the mast at ~3m above ground or alternatively set-up with BNC binding post and 3 radials of ~5m. The G90 tuner must be used in this case.
These are ad-hoc antenna setups and the performance may be much better with a antenna that is properly designed, rather than cobbled together. But with these contraptions I managed to get S2S from HB9 to NA, ZS, VK, ZL. On the other hand, I just might be surfing the wave of the rising sun :slight_smile: A sign of this might be that this vertical mast setup didn’t want to be stable on Kaienspitz HB/AR-004, so I reverted to my sloping end-fed setup (with mast) and I still managed to contact VK1AD on VK2/ST-001.

73 de Martin / HB9GVW

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It’s very light indeed but there is not mast and CW only. I’m curious to see his kit for SSB on alpine rocky summits.


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