Technically not really SOTA, because that would require a summit, but testing an Antenna I built for the purpose at least 18 months ago.
SOTA, Summits on the air is a slightly crazy pursuit within the larger sphere of amateur radio involving lugging radio gear, including batteries and antennas, up a mountain or random hillock to try and talk to other similarly afflicted amateur radio tragics around the country and around the world.
I made this antenna so long ago now I couldn’t rightly remember if it worked so before I venture out into the wild blue yonder over summer to try and scale the heights with a backpack of assorted technology I thought I should check it was working.
So there I am, lying on the lawn with the trusty FT857 and a LiPO battery from one of my model aircraft plugged into the back.
The dog is wondering what on earth I’m doing as he’s normally the one lying on the lawn on a sunny Saturday afternoon and he’s certainly not sure about the wire and string creation I’ve pegged up near the trampoline.
A quick test with the analyzer puts the resonant point on 40m at a shade under 7.100 Mhz and 14.150 Mhz for 20m which are the key bands for SOTA here in ZL-Land although there’s taps for 15 and 10m as well.
Those upper bands are a little tricky at the current low-point of the solar cycle so not a priority and I was meant to be mowing the lawn, not lying down on it so I plugged in the rig and spun the dial.
There was a contest on somewhere well north of us as R0ML and a couple of other Russians were calling CQ in consummate contesting fashion although whispering with 25W into a low dipole was probably a bit of a stretch from my end although I did shout breathlessly at the microphone for a few minutes.
Then along comes Steve, ZL1PWR calling CQ on 14.215. At about 1,100km north up in the land of the Auck somewhere it was enough proof for me that the antenna is good and there’s always something a bit pixie-dust about portable HF operation even if it’s just on the front lawn.
After a bit of a rag chew I packed up and mowed the lawn leaving the dog content that order was restored in the shade under the trampoline.