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Share your SOTA-specific inventory of radio gear

My wife has a knack of knowing exactly what I want for my birthday. Since I started SOTA five years ago she’s got me something SOTA related every time (sometimes very expensive, bless her). For my next one in June, I’m guessing she’s getting me a 7-el 70cm handheld Yagi and a 15L rucksack (to replace the current highly-used worn-out one).

On hearing this an old G8 school friend of mine said that I must have an extensive suite of portable gear, which got me thinking, What SOTA/portable-specific radio gear do I have? (i.e. not shack stuff, not test equipment, not hiking gear).

The list is not as long as I thought. I’m lucky to have pretty much everything I need. So, I’m curious to know if my list is long or short compared to other activators. So, what’s your SOTA radio gear inventory?

Here’s mine:

  • Radios: HF (KX2), all-bands (FT817), 2m/70cm HH (FT1D), 23cm txr (SG-Labs)
  • Antennas: Cha MPAS Lite vertical, two HF linked dipoles, two HF EFHWs, ½-wave 2m whip (RH770), roll-up 2m J-pole, 2m Yagi, two 23cm Yagis, {70cm Yagi for birthday?}
  • Keys: Palm Pico twin paddles, Palm portable straight key
  • Misc: 3 poles (3m, 6m, 9m), 2 4Ahr LiPos

73, Andy

6 Likes

My SOTA gear lives in my SOTA pack at home, too:
FT818 with Windcamp battery,
2 ham sticks (usually 17m & 20m),
ham stick mount (auto mirror mount clamped to a short aluminum tube),
2 ground wires,
Palm pico,
4’ coax,
bungee cord if ham stick mount won’t push into ground (not alot of soil in the White Mnts of NH; I’ve bungeed the mount to granite boulders!)
BaoFeng HT with extended whip,
golf pencil and small notebook for logging
iPhone w GAIA gps app
foam mat
2’ x 3’ tarp for wet ground

5 Likes

Hi Andy

mine is modest:
Radio: KX2
Antenna: Inv-L 10.9 m long wire with matching box for 60 and 20 m - suitable 5 - 50 Mhz
Key: BaMaKey TPIII
LiPo: 2.1 Ah

Except for the radio i always carry a second antenna, key and lipo as well as replace cables with me.
73 Bruno HB9CBR

7 Likes

I forgot the 6 m mast - lifesabreeze !

1 Like

My list is:
FT857, RF converters for SMA with water proof bag
2 X 5Ah 3c lipos
5m “put on” glass fiber pole
3 parachute cord supports with pegs
7m RG 58 feeder with balun, all SMA
Link dipole for 60/40/30/20m
Link elevated GP for 20/17
Modified High Mound manipulator
Ear buds
Home brew electret mike
End fed dipole for 2m
Sit mat
Titanium HB spanner for SMA with attachment cord
Waterproof paper and 3 pencils
Texting gloves
Photo copy of map at 25000 scale
Sardine sandwich and 2 piglet pies
Home brew oatmeal biscuits (recipe on request, email: g0evv@hotmail.co.uk)

5 Likes

All my SOTA kit is used for other purposes… HEMA, WWFF, the odd contest and general portable activity. What SOTA has done is to give me a preference for operating portable in the open air rather from a vehicle.

Here’s my kit list:

  • Radios: IC-703 Plus, FT-817ND, Youkits HB1A, Standard C710 (2m/70cm/23cm HH).

  • Linear amplifiers: MM 25w 2m linear, MX-P50M HF linear.

  • VHF/UHF ants: 5el 2m / 8el 70cm dual band yagi, Homebuilt 2m Moxon, G0EVV design flowerpot 2m vertical, 6el yagi 70cms, Quadruple quad 23cms.

  • HF Ants: 20/17m vertical, three HF linked dipoles, 40m EFHW with 49:1 unun.

  • Auto-ATU: LDG Z100.

  • Key: portable straight key.

  • Headphones: Sony over ear headphones.

  • Poles: 4m, 5m, 6m, 7m.

  • Coax: 4.5m 5D-FB semi-rigid for VHF (×2), RG-714 to each HF antenna, misc patch leads.

  • Batteries: four 4.2AH LiFePO4s, three 4AH LiPOs (old), two 2.2AH LiPOs.

  • Miscellaneous: paper logging, bothy bag, first aid kit, bungies, guying kit, small towel, hi-viz waistcoat, headtorch, etc., etc.

  • Under consideration: KX2 with internal ATU.

Much of it lives in my 35L Eurohike backpack and the remainder in a storage cupboard. I also have a Berghaus 60L pack. I select items for specific activations. Somewhere I’ve a 6m delta loop, but it has not been used for a decade.

Much of my outdoor clothing list has been developed on account of SOTA. I soon found sitting on a summit for an hour or more can be far more demanding than continuing the walk. I wear Paramo jacket and trousers with various merino base layers and a Berghaus technical fleece. I have a choice of three boots.

I am blessed indeed! :grinning:

3 Likes

Let’s get on 6m this summer!

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Sounds like a plan. Goodness me, even more to do on an activation!

2 Likes

I’d prefer 10m. I’ve done the mainly single hop 6m SpE to death in a previous life and it no longer floats my boat. Yes multi-hop SpE is more fun as are the other exotic modes but single hop SpE, done it, got the t-shirt, seen the film, seen the sequel and prequel and have the box set on DVD and Blueray.

10m is a different story. Well it is for me.

1 Like

Hence the decade since I used the band for SOTA. Anyway, it’s back to that thing that has been discussed before - the fact that on an activation I prefer to work actual chasers rather than just anyone and sporadic as in Sporadic E doesn’t usually oblige. :hushed:

1 Like

Not all taken at the same time!

2x Garmin Etrex Vista HCx GPS

2x Yaesu FT817
2x Yaesu VX170 2m
1x 17m QCX mini
Alinco DJ-G7 2/70/23cms FM
SG Lab 13cms transverter
N0XAS memory keyer
2x Palm Paddle

Travel poles (approx 50-60cm collapsed)
5m heavy duty
2x 5m not so heavy duty
5.4m very light duty.

Full size poles
2x 5m (new for some phased array ideas)
6m Carbon
7m Fibre glass
8m Fibre glass
10m Fibre glass (boy is it heavy)

Inv dipoles
80m
60/40/30m (with 15m extension for 3/2 wavelength
30/20/17

EFHW
40/30/20 trap

Buddistick clone
30/20/17/15/12/10m

1/4 wave GP
12/10m

0.64 wave GP
10m

Delta loop
10m

2m J-pole

1x QCX original 30m unbuilt
1x QCX mini 20m unbuilt
Batteries
2x 4000mAHr LiPo (old)
2x 4200mAHr LiFePo
1x 18650 3 cell 2800mAHr
3x 18650 3 cell 2500mAHr
4x 18650 3 cell 1800mAHr

Really remote spotter system (Iridium satellite modem + RPi)

Assorted guys, cables, tent pegs, patch leads etc. etc.

2 Likes

Hello all,

Interested to see the other replies.

My gear consists of:
–NY4G EFHW with 60m and 30m links added (primary HF antenna)
–LNR 40/20/10 EFHW (alternate HF antenna)
–3’ or 6’ of coax with BNC connectors
–cheap carbon mast for inverted vee antenna configuration
–Bioenno 12v, 3ah battery (powerpole connections)
–Yaesu FT-818 xcvr w/ 500hz CW filter
–CW Morse straight key and OEM mic
–often bring Yaesu FT-60R HT
–sometimes bring roll-up J-pole for 2m

73 de Jonathan, “JB” on CW

5 Likes

Hi

2m:

  • Kenwood TM-281
  • Yaesu FT-65E
  • 3Ah LIPOs + homebrew voltage reducer/meter
  • Flowerpot vertical
  • RH-770 for the handy
  • Homebrew 4-el foldable yagi (not often used)

HF:

  • FT-817ND
  • Homebrew 3x18650 external battery pack with BMS
  • Homebrew 40m efhw + 49:1 unun
  • New : “Wenseth Wonder”

Shared:

  • SOTAbeams 6m tactical mini pole
  • Paper & pencil logging

Cheers
Rick

3 Likes

I realise the up and out antenna is new to some people but the design dates back to the 1920s. L.B Cebik wrote about in the 90s.

4 Likes

Only too happy to use anything that works. I still often refer to my copy of Terman inherited from my father in law …

2 Likes

This thread could go a long way…not all my activations are the same but the kit list is…

Rigs: FT817 for long uns, VX8G for vhf uns and an sg lab 13cm xverter for wonky uns & mtr5b for the yans where I’m looking to confuse people with cw.
Antennas: Trapped end fed for 40,30,20,17,15m, efhw for 40m and 30m, flowerpot for 2m, ye olde sotabeams 270 for er 2m & 70cms, PCB ant for 13cm
Hardware: broken walking pole + 3d printed bracket + various lengths of PVC pipe for flowerpot and efhw low end. Carbon 6 for long end.

3 Likes

Rather modest compared to some:-
HB 1b 4 bands
SW 3b 3 bands

Linked dipole 7,10 & 14mhz
Linked dipole 14, 18 & 21mhz

4 lipo/lion batteries 2x 1.8ah, 3ah, & 5ah. & battery charger/s

1 Russian ‘spy’ key very small straight key
1 Palm paddle - but rarely used - taken out.

1 Pole 16ft fm Lifes a Breeze. + plastic pipe tube as support/base + Bungee cord

Small earphones + a pr of earbuds as back up.

various bits of sit mats

Paper log book + 2 or 3 pencils + one biro.

3 Likes

Probably too much stuff… ……

Radios

FT 270 2m FM HH
KX2
FT817ND (now mostly retired as it is heavier)
MX P50m Linear - now mostly left behind…

Batteries
2 internal batteries for the KX2 ( On in the other as a spare which just plugs in the DC socket…3500mAh)
2 x “Zippy” LiFePO4 4200 mAh - or the linear and the FT 817
Small USB “booster” and leads for USB / Lighting to charge either phone or Garmin inReach - or if I take the big battery a usb adapter…

Antennas
2m J pole
80/60/40 linked dipole
60/40/20/17/15 linked dipole
EFHW transformer and 40m efhw or 20/17/15 (linked) half wave antennas
6m tactical mast - velcro and tent pegs / guys
4m mast
7m mast…
( I usually take the J Pole, 6m mast and pick the HF antenna depending on what the bands have been like)

Stuff…
Garmin inReach - sometimes used for spotting but mostly as an emergency back up as there is still lots of the North Pennines with no phone signals…
Leartherman Skeletool and some screwdriver blades
Water filter and bag… (Sawyer)
Blizzard Bag ( Survival bag still in the wrapper…)
DD tarps ultralight and small collapsable aluminium support pole - depending on the weather
Fingerless fishing gloves which seem to work well on cold summits
Petzl headlamp (tiny one as a backup)
Tiny pencils
Rite in the rain note pad (log)
Lots of dry bags…
Usually backup 1:25000 map although I tend to use the phone for navigation
Suunto Ambit Peak watch - which includes GPS and pressure systems for determining altitude, and depressingly shows the ascent rate…

Paul

2 Likes

Pretty much all of my gear has veen obtained with SOTA in mind.

I have two SOTA rucksacks, one is an Osprey Mutant 38, the other is a Mammut Lithium 32. The Mammut Lithium gets used more than the other one as it’s really light and a good size, not too big, not too small.

I have various antennas, mostly home brew, but I do have two SOTAbeams BandHoppers, although both have been repaired a couple of times.

In terms of rigs, I have quite a few for SOTA.

MTR2B 20/40
MTR2B 20/30
LNR Precision MTR-3B
LNR Precision MTR-3B LCD
MTR-5B
Yaesu FT817
Yaesu FT60
Alinco DJ-G5
SW-20+
SW-40+
W8DIZ 1W30
Soda Pop 30m
Soda Pop 40m
Slop Bucket 20m
Home brew SST-30
QCX-mini 40
QCX-mini 30
QCX-mini 17
QCX classic 20
Several RockMites (10?)

Keys-

Palm Pico
Palm Mini
Radio Adventure Gear Paddle

Usual safety gear - GPS, first aid kit, bothy bag etc

Colin

4 Likes

I use and have used a variety of gear on SOTA activations including the following:

Radios:
KX3 (160-6m), FT-891 (160-6m), MTR3B (40/30/20m), SW-3B (40/30/20m), DJ-G7 (2m/70cm/23cm)

Batteries:
Bioenno 12V 6Ah LiFePo4 and an assortment of 11V LiPo batteries (5500mAh, 5000mAh, 1000mAh, 500mAh) which are about 12.6V when fully charged

Headsets:
Sennheiser folding headphones, backup earbuds

Keys:
Begali Adventure, Palm Mini, Palm Pico, British Military Telegraph Key w/leg strap and J45/J37 Telegraph Key/leg clamp

Antennas:
End fed (133 ft/40m or 66 ft/20m), linked dipole (20/30/40m), AlexLoop on a tripod, and Buddipole on a tripod. I always carry a small backup antenna which is a 33 ft/10m long end fed and a 3 ft/1m long RG174 coax.

2 Likes