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Share your SOTA-specific inventory of radio gear

All my kit is scheduled on a spreadsheet down to the gram. OCD maybe, but it’s really the only way to stop mission creep. If I had my way, I would take a spare for everything, activate on a minimum of 6 bands and log at least 80 different calls… all done within an hour of arriving on the summit so that I can get on to my next summit.

As for navigation to get there, I won’t worry… map and compass, Garmin GPS64 and OsmAnd on my mobile phone, which is also loaded with OS Locate and What3Words. I like to know where I am. :joy:

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KX3, 817, HB1A, HB1B, (2) Rockmite with scaf filters, MFJ Cub, (5) MFJ 90XX, Alinco DJG7 23 cm, Heath KW Kompact with DC supply & 100 Ah battery, bhi hear-it DSP, DD-1 digital dial, Norcal power meter, Sotabeams Hi-Tee tuner, 901b versa tuner, LDG 817H auto tuner, Alex loop, Sotabeams bandspringer, 16 element Comet 23 cm beam. Roll-up J-pole, 5m pole, Palm Paddle, 4.2 Ah LiFePo, Windcamp 817 Battery/cover.

Elliott, K6EL

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Me too! [spreadsheet I mean, not the OCD]. Mine has five columns for different kinds of typical SOTA activations with headings like “Winter HF/VHF”, “Summer VHF Lite”, “Event with Tent”, etc. If an item from the entire inventory is ticked [checked] in a particular column, the spreadsheet includes its weight for that activation type.

I created it, not only to do weight vs function tradeoffs (e.g. tarp/tent/bothy bag), but also because, particularly in the early days, I would forgot something important (sometimes leading to a failed activation or potential safety compromise) and used it as a check list.

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Indeed Andy, I started after comparing notes with Richard G4ERP who scheduled more or less everything. Richard did work in the motor racing industry and some of his kit was amazingly lightweight. He also taught me much about itineraries which has proved essential for multi-summit days.

My schedule, like yours, now has columns for various activities such as the S2S events, QRO VHF, etc. It certainly helps with mission creep where the temptation to add stuff to the backpack “just in case I might need it” is quite strong. Carrying spare battery power is my biggest weakness, probably resulting from the relatively poor performance of SLABs in my early days in SOTA. I now have LiPOs that are 2009 vintage (though with reduced capacity)… none of my SLABs lasted more than a couple of years and they became unreliable as they neared the end of their days.

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Over the years I’ve read on this reflector a wide variation on attitudes to carrying spares. As my Tracer 4AHr LiPOs discharge only a bit on a typical activation with my KX2 I take only the one. The spare battery for my FT1D HH goes only because it’s so small and kept in my VHF dry bag. Real spares include pencils, energy bars and hats [Yes, with weather around here sometimes I need both a woolly hat and a sun hat - and before Andy MM0FMF quips about it, No, not simultaneously].

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Ooooh, a woolly sun hat. Maybe there is an opportunity for a new SOTA product here? :slight_smile:

I’m much more relaxed about batteries now. One 4200mAhr LiFePo does for many activations with the old power hungry 817. I have some adapter cables so I can power my handy (VX170 or DJ-G7) from same battery if needed. I stopped carrying two LiPos or LiFePos but often drop a little 3x 18650 pack in the bag if I’m going on a bigger walk. I can cope with nipping up and oft repeated summit and the battery failing in some way. But when I walked up Beinn Chuirn which is a 6km walk before you start any climbing, I wasn’t going without a spare battery. It weighs 175gm and will do 1.5-2hrs of HF activating.

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This revelation is probably going to put me in the OCD zone but again, Me Too!

For domestic reasons I increasingly have to restrict my away-from-home time for SOTA activations so I use a spreadsheet to aggregate estimated drive times, ascent/descent times, on-summit times (HF/2m or 2m only), etc.

I’ve found they are pretty accurate as my posted alert times and arrival home times are usually with about 1/2 an hour except when occasionally something goes wrong. [“Yes, there’s always the unexpected, isn’t there?” - Movie fans quote]

Mostly I activate one SOTA summit at a time. In the past I’ve done 8-11 WOTA summits (Wainwrights On The Air) on one day which is where an itinerary spreadsheet really pays off.

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That beats my 6 SOTA summits, but I did have to drive between each one. :grinning:

Back in 2006 when I started SOTA, I activated some single summits and then expanded to doing a couple in a day. Living so far from the summits, to increase the value for money on each outing, following advice from Ruchard G4ERP, I started to prepare itineraries for activating multiple summits in one day. As they say, the rest is history. I often have a 300+ mile drive to the first parking spot. Itineraries are an absolute necessity under such circumstances. I still do them for single summit days as all outings involve quite a bit of travel.

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I’m useless with timings,normally because I start earlier or later than planned, Reg , 2e0ldf reminds me of that fact and sets my time between summits schedule after giving me the usual readjustment chat :slight_smile:

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Radios: YouKits HB1-1B or QCX+ Minis for 40,20 and 15m

Antennas: 40-15m doublet fed with 300 ohm line to BLT Tuner, or, 40-15m linked dipole or 40-15m EFHW with QRPGuys tuner. Throw bag and slick line or 8m pole.

Accessories: Te-Ne-Key paddles with leg strap, earbuds, 3x18650 3200mAH battery pack, small waterproof notebook with attached pencil, cellphone with Gaia and SOTAWatch apps.

Rarely do VHF FM but if planned then my FTM-100, 4S 6600mAH LiPO pack, pole, IZ2UUF 4 ele yagi.

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I have;

Yeasu 891 (when power is needed) and TruSDX (when I need a light QRP setup) transceiver
7m and 12m fibreglass poles
4 cell LIfePO4 battery and voltage meter
Various string and pegs
EFHW portable antenna radio-stuff.com (I make my own) :slight_smile:

Tarp, roll mat, cooking equipment

I’ll be out and about more this year which will be nice.

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Well this is a fun exercise:

My Kit all fits into a LowePro ES60 Case

  • KX2 w/ internal battery
  • ~ 60’ of thin paracord
  • K6ARK EFHW (61’)
  • 8 oz throw weight
  • GM0EUL Paddles
  • Modified Abbree Mini Microphone
  • Mechanical Pencil
  • Bose Soundsport Ear Buds
  • Small 6" x 6" flight deck with notecards for logging
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Most Recent Configuration:

MTR 5 Band
Pico Paddle
500 mAh Lipo
6m telescoping pole
5b trapped EFHW 40m -15m
81 to 1 transformer
1M RG174 feedline
OutD logging on my iPhone
Clif Bar and water

Mike AD5A

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95L backpack
Equip in copper pipe frame:
FT-857D
YT100 Tuner
Signalink with OTG cables
LiFePO4 7,5A/H
Additional:
8m Fibreglass extender mast (8 sections)
80 to 10m linked dipole (1mm wire)
12m RG58 Feedline
Clampon ferrites
3 additional batteries:
Sometimes LiPo, LiIo or LiFe.
Dualband vhf uhf HT
Dualband handheld yagi

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Pack and clothing:
Outdoor Products 30l day pack
Extra pair wool socks
miniature first aid kit
sunblock
Sawyer Mini water filter
Bushnell headlamp
Multi-grain bars
Osprey 4l water bladder
trekking poles
wool winter hat (all seasons)
Marmot rain jacket
4in/10cm knife
North Face zip-off pants/shorts
Columbia soft/wide brim hat with chin strap
Merrill lo-cut trail shoes

Radio:
Elecraft KX-2 with internal battery and ATU
40m and 20m ground radial wires
AX-1 20/17m whip with bipod
BNC to binding post for radial ad-hoc dipole
Elecraft hand mic
Elecraft paddle

Kenwood TH-D74 V/UHF/APRS HT with generic tri-band whip.
5/8 wave 144Mhz telescoping whip.

Cell Phone with “Backcountry Navigator” and “SOTA Spotter” apps
Garmin Fenix 6Pro watch

I usually omit pieces of above gear to fit the hike or season.
Occasionally I will add a 3Ah LiFeP04 battery.

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Here is the content of my SOTA shelf (I take what’s required for the activation(s) I plan)

Rigs

  • FT-817
  • FT-891
  • FT-2DE
  • FT-4XE

Keyers

  • BaMaKey TP-III
  • Palm Pico paddle
  • Palm Mini paddle

Tuners

  • Z-817
  • MFJ-971

Batteries

  • A set of 8 AA rechargeables (for FT-817/short activations)
  • All-in-one Jump starter power bank (FT-817 lomg activations)
  • 12AH LiFePo4 (for FT-891)

Other electronics

  • Cell phone with VK port-a-log and map apps
  • Garmin Oregon 450 GPS
  • Garmin Fenix 5X Plus watch
  • Acer Aspire One Netbook (for FT-8)
  • USB soldering iron

Masts

  • 10m DX Wire Fibreglass pole
  • 7m chinese fishing rod
  • 5m chinese fishing rod

Antennas

  • Trapped EFHW 15-60m
  • Wires with Banana connectors that make a 20m GP and a 30m dipole
  • RH-770 VHF/UHF telescopic antenna

Small stuff

  • power cables
  • RG/58 3 short jumpers and 5m line
  • Adapters 2xBanana to PL (fo wires, see above)
  • Adapters SMA/ReverseSMA to BNC
  • Sun umbrella stand as a holder for fishing rods
  • Velcro strips of different lengths
  • A roll of buff tape
  • tent stakes and ropes

Non-radio related

  • 30l backpack
  • 55l backpack
  • Swiss army knife
  • water bottle
  • thermal bottle
  • lunch box
  • first aid kit
  • hiking poles
  • crampons
  • snowshoes
  • headlamp

73 Jens

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My Sota Gear:

Radio gear

  • SW-3B multi Band HF

  • Icom IC V86 2m HT

Antenna

  • VT DCT multi band EFHW (40,30,20)

Battery

  • 2200 MaH Lipo

Mast

  • customized 7m carbon fiber fishing pole

Speaker

  • JVC wired ear buds

  • a small Amazon speaker

Key/Paddle

  • N0SA Sota paddle

  • Radio Adventure Gear Paddle

Non Radio

  • Puff jacket

  • Rain poncho

  • Summitgear.uk 2 person Bothy bag

  • 10 safety essentials (fire starter,medical)

  • Bear spray

  • Spot messenger GPS gen 4

  • Compass

  • head lamp

  • light snacks

  • rite in the rain note pad / small clipboard / pen,pencil

Arcteryx Alpha AR 35L Backpack

73 de VE6JTW

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… to clear the other walkers away from your favourite activating spot at the summit?

[Sadly, my ancestors drove bears to extinction about 1500 years ago in Britain]

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Absolutely haha I need to keep the area clear the other hikers they just get in the way :rofl:

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This is what I mainly use for my activations. Not listed is experimental equipment and antennas for dedicated (DX/S2S-) events:

Low/easy mountains (weight approx. 3kg):

Alpine summits with long ascent (weight < 1kg):

  • LNR MTR-3B (LED)
  • Palm Pico Paddle
  • 500mAh 3S Li-Po battery
  • 6m squid pole (carbon fibre laminate)
  • Linked EFHW-dipole (40-30-20) inverted Vee
  • Tiny 1:64 coupler
  • 2.5m RG-174

VHF (not always used)

  • FT3D
  • MFJ-1714
  • homemade roll-up J-pole antenna (usually hanging from a branch)

Non-radio gear which “lives” in the rucksack (Deuter Trail 30)

  • Flight deck (2mm plywood), approx. 350mm x 250mm
  • Pencil, pencil sharpener and eraser
  • Electrical tape
  • Foam mat
  • First aid kit
  • Swiss army knife

73, Roman

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