SOTA in the Heatwave

Activating / hiking in the middle of the day, is not recommended in G/GW, at least for the next couple of days. The Met Office and health agencies are advising people to stay inside and avoid exercise due to the heat and its potential dangers.

It’s a personal assessment of course, taking into account one’s own fitness, length/difficulty of walk etc. My approach will be to head out for a walk around dusk, activate overnight, and descend in the morning. Even then, I expect it will still be hot, possibly even uncomfortably so, but I should avoid the worst dangers of the heat and the sun.

Just need to decide on band(s) and antenna. Should I take the Alexloop (jack of all trades, master of none), or a quarterwave GP (optimum performance but only one band)?


It makes you wonder how they manage SOTA in places such as Indonesia.


The local people are used to the local weather.


I’m avoiding activating today and tomorrow. I brought forward a day or two my activation [of G/LD-018, always a lovely walk] to early yesterday morning for that reason even though I generally avoid activating at weekends.

Ironically, as it was overcast at that time of day [QRV at 0810z] and very breezy at the summit and I had to put on two long-sleeved layers. However, the sun and heat were in action by the time I was back at the car so I was glad to be the ‘early bird’.

Sadly, I don’t get contacts with North America activating that early but in high summer it avoids the worst of the heat and the summit crowds.

I’m hoping to get NA/SA early in my activation tonight, and JA/VK/ZL towards the end tomorrow morning. DX aspirations means I should take a quarterwave vertical with groundplane, rather than the Alexloop. As I still don’t have FT8 available, I’m veering more towards 20m than 30m - so that I still have two modes available to use. I guess 20m will probably hold up OK overnight, but if it drops out, there’s always 2m - or maybe even some sleep!


Hi Tom,

Neither! I know you are keen on the AlexLoop - I don’t know why. I pointed out the many disadvantages (include the volume) after I sold mine a while ago.

Why don’t you get / take a 3-band EFHW and a shortish [3-4m] pole? I have two: 40/30/20 and 40/20/10 (~400g each including 10m of RG174 feeder & SOTAbeam winder). For weight and volume and decent performance, I don’t think you can beat that option.

regards, Andy


I use the Alexloop for

  • Operating from a cruise ship balcony
  • SOTA activating when the focus is on multiband S2S hunting

It is ideal for those applications and has served me impressively well in both.

It is not optimal for DXing, but that’s OK because my resonant QWGP verticals are excellent for that (way better than EFHW or dipoles in my experience).

My QWGP vertical antennas are incredibly lightweight and compact - even the one I built for 30m.


“Mad dogs and Englishmen…”

One partial solution if you REALLY want to go out is to take advantage of the lapse rate (which for dry air is 9.8C per 1000m), pick a high summit and climb early. Personally I’d rather stay indoors but I’ve never been good in heat, even choosing to abseil off climbs if it was too hot for me!



I have lots of antennas including the Alexloop.

Despite initially thinking it impossible of anything, I grew to really like and respect it, so much so that I’ve hung onto it hoping cycle 25 will offer great 12m/10m openings.

During the ARRL 2016 NPOTA event I got my SSB 10w WAS (Worked All States) from San Francisco much ( > 90%) using the AlexLoop in under 6 weeks.

It’s super small deployment space is a huge plus along with deployment in under 5 minutes.

But it is a loop and I suspect it’s maximum radiation is in excess of 50 degrees from the horizon, so DX, while certainly possible isn’t the norm.



When operating from a cruise ship cabin balcony, looking out over salt water with a very distant horizon, I worked 103 DXCCs with it during my 19 weeks on board (17 weeks’ operating as the Captain’s permission took two weeks to come through).

All cruising was relatively “local” - UK, Baltic, Mediterranean. DXCCs included PY, LU, OX, VU, BA, VK, ZL.


As a chaser on and off throughout the day today, I can tell you that wearing my Radiosport headset makes me sweat…

Temperature in Pickering is currently a shade over 30c Pickering WX Station

73 Phil


26c in the shade here in Robin Hood’s Bay.

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35 degrees now in sunny Llanfair Caereinion, Mid-Wales!

It looks cooler in West Wales for tomorrow evening, so hoping to venture out and activate a few 1 pointers.

73, GW4BML. Ben

29.8 in my north-facing shack!

Hottest day on record in Buxton.

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32.4c here in Crieff. I’m going out for my first POTA activation tonight at Ben Lawers reserve. I’ve a bit of a dickie knee and don’t think it’ll be much cooler even higher up.

GW/NW-008 was lovely today, wasn’t too hot for the climb and it was nice and cool up on the ridge due to the breeze.
I took 1.75L of water with me which was just about right as I had 250ml left and I hadn’t really been rationing myself.

In my north-east facing garden the weather system recorded its peak for this year (so far) of 34.5°C at 11:01z today. Now, at 17:35z, it’s still 31.5°C. (Yesterday’s peak was 31.9°C, and by this time yesterday it was down to 25.8°C.)

Indoors, it’s only 26°C, but we made an effort to get cool air into the house overnight and we’ve not had windows open…


20m or 30m GP or both.

At risk of being glib - SOTA is the perfect activity when it’s in the 30’s (but low humidity). With the rule of thumb of -10 degrees per 1000m, climbing a hill is the solution, not the problem! We have a 1700m range behind our house and there have been a number of hot muggy summer nights when the southerly fails to kick in that I’ve headed to the tops for the sole purpose of a good night’s sleep!

On a less glib note, the answer to operating in heat is hydration, acclimatisation and shade. Our summers here in Central Otago’s ‘desert’ country generally sit in the low to mid 30’s - with occasional forays into the low 40s - but not for a few years now. The hardest day, however, is not the mid summer heat, but that first spring day when it gets above 25 following a crisp cold winter. The body goes, ‘I can’t do this’ and yet you know there’s at least another 10 degrees to go till full summer. But by the time the 30’s arrive, you’ve generally got used to it.

I carry a minimum of 3l water and expect to fill it as much as 3 to 5 times a day working in full heat; 6l if working with the dog and limited available water sources. I always wear a wide brimmed sunhat. Good UV-blocking, wicking clothing (we have brands Swazi, Stony Creek, Huntech here that specialise). And an easy, steady gait. I find that when I get up beyond 3 or 4litres a day that I need to include salts in my hydration - poweraid or gatoraid powder, or the less appealing rehydration satchets that come in 1st aid kits and they hand out on firegrounds.

For work, we manage 20km+ days of weed / pest animal surveillance or trapping in those conditions comfortably. What’s harder are the days in full PPE dragging 100’s of meters of spray hose, or lugging chainsaw or scrub-bar. Or - hardest of all, in full firefighting gear - that really shows you how much liquid you are capable of consuming!

Like you though, I look in awe at VK and the like, where they manage all that at either 35+ degrees, 100% humidity or 45+ and dry air. I think that must really push the limit.

I recall the day I finally emigrated ‘permanently’ to VK after a few years on work visas. I spent the night sleeping in the car in Langsett (S. Yorkshire) at -8, (having spent the night at the pub catching up with old school mates and got locked out of the YHA), then arriving in Melbourne to a record 47 degrees and an invite to a BBQ at a mate’s place in Frankton. That was a shock to the system!