My Kit for SOTA & Portable Amateur Radio 4

I’ve thought about doing a YouTube film (you can Subscribe to my channel here) of the kit I use for my SOTA and Portable amateur radio operations for some time now. Yesterday I finally got around to it and made the most of calm and sunny conditions (quite rare here in England!).

The selected equipment is the result of a few years operating outdoors and maybe 100 or so sessions on anything from hilltops to volcanoes to mountains.

Here’s a photo of the kit laid out:

My kit laid bare

My kit laid bare

The video covers what I typically take with me on portable HF session. There are variations but this is what I head out with usually. Instead of typing much more I’ll let the video take over:

As always, please let me know if you have any questions in the comments below.

4 thoughts on “My Kit for SOTA & Portable Amateur Radio

  1. Reply Pedro, CT1DBS/CU3HF Sep 14,2016 18:47

    Vy nice!
    TNX fer showing ur /p station.

    73 de Pedro, CT1DBS/CU3HF

    PS – Ur video gave me some ideas! TNX

    • Reply James Stevens Sep 15,2016 09:27

      Glad it was useful Pedro and it gave you a few ideas, the hobby is all about sharing ideas! Thanks for the pingback from your site as well!

      I recently received a couple of QSL cards from you for my SOTA Activations in EA8 back in 2015, I’ve replied to them via the Bureaux 🙂

      73, James M0JCQ

  2. Reply Jim K9YC Sep 15,2016 03:52

    Very nice, James! Thanks. It’s great to see the antenna setups that a real ham takes portable — wire, coax, supports! No money wasted on commercially made stuff that doesn’t work nearly as well.

    Some thoughts about coax. While the light weight and low wind resistance of RG174 is a nice feature, it’s also pretty lossy. I don’t know how much you have on those very nice winders, but doing the sums, 50 ft burns 1.65 dB on 20M. The same length of RG58 is about 0.75 dB — 1 dB better. Another nice trick is to cut the coax in multiple short lengths with BNC connectors (for weight) and use only as much as you need.

    Another thought about antennas. Tape a wire to that nice pole/mast, carry a nice base for it, lay out some radials, and you have a nice vertical. And here’s a nice base that can be pounded into some very hard soil. They’re made by a local guy who parks his small plane in the hanger next to where W6GJB parks his. 🙂 We use these to guy 30 ft masts that hold a small tri-bander for Field Day and other contests. Very solid, yet the pins come out easily. Also, if you can rig radials a few feet off the ground, the antenna will be a dB or two more efficient. Not only that, but the coax is shorter, so less loss, and the lower radiation angle can work more DX.

    Yeah, a dB doesn’t seem like much, but when we’re QRP, we need all the help we can get!

    Jim K9YC
    Santa Cruz, CA

    • Reply James Stevens Sep 15,2016 09:32

      Thanks Jim, you make some very good points. The RG174 is a compromise and you are right to point out it is lossy, I only tend to use it below 20m so I’m not overly concerned due to the benefits (i.e. low wind resistance – it’s always windy here in Britain!).

      For the upper HF spectrum I use verticals for the low angle take off and I have indeed strapped a wire to the pole with radials to make cheap and affective DX antennas. I made one for contesting this year on 20m with 12 elevated radials, it works well and costs a few USD 🙂

      73, James M0JCQ

Leave a Reply