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And a different set up

Posted: Sun Oct 08, 2017 11:58 am
Some may not remember me but was a GBARC member the whole time I was a ham in Ontario, taking the Basic course with the great folks there.
Since moving west I have been portable with this last summer going lighter so I can hike / climb easier.
Since late June I have been doing SOTA ( Summits On The Air) activation's, which basically is a hike / climb a summit, set up a station, make at least 4 contacts to obtain points and then go down. I have been primarily 20 metres with 2 metres ( HT with a 5/8 wave antenna) as a back up.
Last year I hiked an IC-7000 with a battery up and that was not fun. When Elecraft start to make the KX2 I ordered one last year but never really used it until this summer.
Here is my basic set up and for high wind days my go to set up. It's a KX2 with a hardcase, 4s Lipo battery, voltage reducer, mic, ear buds, 16' RG-174, dipole (inverted vee) made from some Army surplus fieldphone wire and a 8'6" avalanche probe.
and in use
As for VHF, I have a Arrow 4 element yagi which I have found is over kill. I have made contacts up to 95 km with the HT and a 5/8 wave antenna to a mobile.

Re: And a different set up

Posted: Mon Oct 09, 2017 9:34 am
by ve3efq
Nice set up; basically like my portable set-up. I have been thinking of replacing my ft-817 with an Elecraft if only to try something new.

I use an inverted V myself - a multi-band one for 20/40/80 with links; though, given that the link for 20 metres is always so high it is out of reach, I put some traps in the antenna. I bought some very tiny traps from SOTA beams: ... nd-tested/

These work excellently.

So, maybe this is something you might consider for your antenna if you want to make a multi-band version?

I looked around for SOTA activations in and around Owen Sound but there is nothing around here at the moment; I'll have to be a chaser I suppose.

We will have to have some sort of attempt at a SKED - be nice to try and get a signal to you from my camp here in Ontario; VA3OSO was camping near Vancouver and I was camping in Near Markdale and we managed to have a good camp-to-camp chat on 20m.

I'll have a station set up for this event: viewtopic.php?f=20&t=111

Post a message to me when you are planning to be on the air and I'll see if I can get out; I'll be out Wednesday or Thursday night this week overnight in the camp too.


Re: And a different set up

Posted: Mon Oct 09, 2017 6:12 pm
Yes, Sotabeams stuff is quality gear. I have their 10 Metre mast along with their Mini telescopic pole. The 10 mr I have it rigged up for about 23'10" if memory is right. I use a linked 20/40 inverted Vee dipole for it with success as long as the summit and winds play along.
I have a 20 Mr dipole for the Mini as well. Only bad issued with the fiberglass push up poles is the wind load and time spent getting them set up.
I also have a 16' 11mm dia tent pole which works great in the winds as well but requires guiding to be stable. On most activation's I'm done my setup and talking within 10 minutes of hitting the summit with the tent pole or avi probe. Add another 15 onto that if I go with the push up poles.

I also have a trapped dipole kit sitting here that needs to be built yet. Link -
For $25 USD for a dipole kit is a good price if you ask me.

The KX2 is an awesome radio for SOTA / portable work. I have hundreds of contacts with it but when conditions are not great wish it was alittle more output power (like 1 Kw).
I hike with a few that hove the 817 but they also mave 1 of those mini amps strapped onto it and run them about 30 watts. They find 5 watts is not enough power.

I don't think there is an association in Ontario right now but hear rumors of 1 starting up. Being a chaser can be really fun as well and in winter, a lot more comfortable than sitting in a snow bank trying to activate. Also chasers accumulate points as well. For those not sure check out the SOTA website.
If you want to see real time spots check out the site here
If you want to see who is planning to activate, click on the "alert" tab. I always alert and if I have cell coverage also "spot" when I find a frequency not used.