A search on here throws up a few mentions of using EME on a SOTA activation. Historically, it was considered you needed a lot of power and multiple, long Yagis to make it work. More recently QSOs have been completed with powers as low as 25W. These have been achieved by all the “heavy lifting” being done by one station in the QSO which can receive the weak station and transmit with sufficient power to be heard by the low power station.
So I thought I would give it a go today from my home QTH. Equipment was a Diamond 10 el 70cm Yagi, IC-705 and MS Surface Go 2 tablet.
The attempted QSO was coordinated on HB9Q’s EME logger site:
Frank thinks if I can up my power to 50W a QSO might be on the cards. I think I may look at a better antenna first, if only to put off the expense of an amp or new radio - I would love an IC-9700 but they are not cheap.
Today’s little experiment showed that with a SOTA portable rig it is at least possible to receive an EME signal. The challenge is replying!
There is a lot to learn, even if I do upgrade my equipment. The moon was quite high in the sky today at about 30° and EME is supposed to be better if it is nearer the horizon. There is also a thing called EME Degradation which takes into account, as I understand it, several factors including how noisy the sky is. For example if the moon is in front of the Milky Way it isn’t good due to radio noise from our galaxy. Conditions today for EME Deg were rated only as “Fair”.
So I haven’t cracked SOTA EME but I think it can be done, as @K7ATN and others described on this thread. The trick will be doing it with the minimum of equipment, 50W and a better antenna may just be enough.
Instead of upping the transmit power , you could increase the beam size, which would help a bit on receive too. I have a 17ele for 70cm that is eminently portable (for easy walk in summits). Perhaps someone in a local club has one that can be borrowed.
The issue would be balancing the mounting for elevation. If the moon were close to the horizon then this wouldn’t be a problem. Being on a summit would also mean that there would be less likely to be any obstructions between you and the moon, even if it were on the horizon.
I agree the first step is a better antenna. The Diamond 10 element I have works but it’s hard not to describe it as anything but a “cheapie”. They make a 15 element version which is less than £70 and I guess I could carry two of those up a summit.
That antenna is a very, very old design. Which is a polite way of saying very heavy and very low gain. You should be able to make something which will easily out perform it for not much effort that is the same size. Or make something bigger that seriously outperforms it. Then you wont need so much uplink power to complete your 1st EME QSO.
Or a very old idea - a rope-boom roll-up yagi. I think most of the published designs were for 2 mtrs, including a Brendan Trophy attempt between VO1 & EI, but no reason it could not be adapted to 70 cm.
Martin’s 28 Ohms designs are perfect for a common SOTA station - maximum forward gain on a short boom.
For EME you rather want a clean pattern, i.e. a low noise antenna. I’d recommend DG7YBN. His site is interesting to read and somewhat encouraging if you want to try low-power EME.