Sota equipment advice

The stuff about extra layers and shelter etc is all good advice. But as we move into summer (!) then checking of the forecast for nice weather days may suffice on the easier summits. I know the standard advice that wx condx can change rapidly and unexpectedly on the hills, and they can, but generally the wx does what it said it would on the forecast - not any old forecast, but the Met Office forecast from when you go to bed the night before.

So, you’ve checked the weather, and you’re going for a walk up Shining Tor or Moel Famau (for instance). What do you really need with you in that rucksack?

Waterproof coat (if you’re not already wearing it).
Fleece top (if you’re not already wearing it).
Water (half to one litre for a simple summit, up to 2 litres for a longer trek) - as you saw, I have mine in a hydration pack (“bladder”) which slots into a sleeve in my rucksack, with the drinking tube coming out of the top - but you could simply carry 2 or 3 500ml bottles of water.
Food - walking is hungry work.
Rig - think we know where we’re going with this one.
Battery - could be pre-charged-up internal in the rig of course!
Antenna - many options to buy or build your own.
Mast - fishing pole or just walking pole - with guying arrangements.
Handheld - I always carry a 2m FM HT (clips onto my rucksack strap, or you could just have one in your pocket). This ensures that you have a completely independent back-up system should any part of your portable station fail, and is useful for communicating (ie SOTA chasing) while walking.
Logbook (waterproof) and pencil.

Probably the easiest way to start off is to take 2m handheld, logbook and pencil up somewhere like SP-004 or NW-044. You will get the 4 contacts (and probably many more) with ease just with the rubber duck antenna from these. Then all you really need to plan for is making sure you have the right clothes on to keep warm and dry. (But don’t forget to charge up the handy hi!).

I may be out activating somewhere w/c 15th April if you wish to join me.

73, Tom M1EYP

In reply to N1EU:

Another interesting QRP

X1M Yahoo groups

More info

Hi Russ

When considering advice about activating it is often instructive to check the SOTA database to see how much actual activating experience the person giving the advice has. Some who are keen to offer their opinions have little or no actual experience of activating!

73 Richard G3CWI

In reply to M1EYP:


Take a compass or a satnav. Even on a relatively low one-point summit the cloud can come down and envelope you in a pea-souper. It is very easy to become disorientated and go marching off in entirely the wrong direction, and even some of the lower SOTA summits have cliffs, quarries and the like - you don’t want to walk off the top of one of those! I may not be one of the most prolific of activators but I have over fifty years experience of hill-walking, and I suggest you follow my example: before setting up on a summit I always take a compass bearing that will make sure I can locate the escape route! Act as if your starter summits are 10-point mountains, and develop your hill-craft in preparation for higher summits.


Brian G8ADD

In reply to G3CWI:

Thanks Richard

A good observation and extremely good advice…fortunately I am still quite switched on…and the filter mechanism in my brain is set quite narrow (cautious)…however I am sure it will open up somewhat when I get a little older…

Best 73


In reply to G8ADD:

Thanks Brian.

Thats some advice I will follow 100% as safety is most paramount to me…I always , without exception heed the advice from people who have the experience I do not possess.



In reply to M6WKR:

817… you may want upgrade to a 857.

IMHO calling this an upgrade is debateable. I’ve used both rigs for SOTA and they each have their good and their bad points. The 817 is the one to start with and more will be available secondhand.

In reply to G8ADD:

Excellent advice Brian, as always. My tip would be to keep looking behind you on the ascent and take a mental note of the features - trees, rocks, streams, forks in the path, etc. This helps prepare for the descent, especially when the weather closes in.

73, Gerald G4OIG

In reply to G4OIG:

Now I am well into my retirement years I spend a lot of time looking at the scenery and taking photos - to disguise the fact that my breath shortens and my legs tire much faster than they used to!


Brian G8ADD

In reply to G8ADD:

Ah yes, what Peter M0COP would call “photographic opportunities”. I’m usually too bushed to be bothered with the camera on an ascent unless something particular catches my eye.

73, Gerald G4OIG