Yaesu FT-270 vs Baofeng UV5R on Butser Hill

Butser Hill (G/SE-004) was to be my 3rd and final SOTA activation of this day’s tour of Southern English summits. After the HF issues on Black Down (G/SE-003) previously, I decided to activate this summit on 2m FM only.

Summit Factfile

G/SE-004 – Butser Hill – 270m
Latitude: 50 58 40 N, Longitude: 0 58 49 W
Grid Reference: SU 716203, QTH Locator: IO90MX
Parking: SU7117 2001 (N50:58:31, W0:59:15) – £3 pay & display!
Trig: TP0316 – Butser
WAB: SU72
VHF: Good but could be some QRM from nearby masts

Activation Spot

Now the first thing you need to know about this summit is that it’s very popular with families, which means on a very sunny Sunday afternoon, it is packed with people! In fact this was about the busiest SOTA summit I’ve activated.

 

To be honest I could have found a quieter spot but I chose to activate at the Trigpoint (TP0316) because I wanted to do this in conjunction with the Worked All Britain Trigpoint award. This meant I was barely granted a minute’s grace to call CQ SOTA without families and groups of people gawping at me.
The Trigpoint setup and 2m MFD dipole

The Trigpoint setup and 2m MFD dipole

The QSO’s

I decided to activate this summit on 2m FM and this would have been straight forward, but again I had a few equipment issues. I started using my Yaesu FT-270 which had activated my previous two summits this day and predictably the battery started dying after my second QSO with G6TEL/M. After finishing up with Steve I heard John 2E0ZBE down in Southampton call me at 56, but the battery was too low for him to hear me. No problem, I had a spare Baofeng UV-5R at my side so quickly switched rigs to complete the QSO…

 

This is when I experienced first hand the difference between these two handhelds and their front end receivers. Upon turning on I called John back and I heard him come back but at a 21, very intermittent and barely opening the squelch. He could hear me but I couldn’t hear him and there was no way to complete. Also there was quite a lot of pager breakthrough from the nearby commercial mast, which hadn’t affected the FT-270 at all.

 

The backdrop to my operating location

The backdrop to my operating location

Luckily I had a third option, my Elecraft KX3 also has the 2m Module installed, so I quickly set this up and John was up to a good 56 again! After this experience I have little confidence in the Baofeng’s receive capability and it won’t be coming with me on future SOTA activations.

 

Now with no further equipment issues I had another 3 QSOs and finished up for the day, having been thoroughly roasted in the strong sun and experiencing a number of equipment failures, I had successfully activated three SOTA summits and three WAB Trigpoints – job done – well just about!

 

Time Call Band Mode Notes
14:42z G1HCM 144MHz FM  Ryde
14:44z G6TEL/M 144MHz FM  Poole
14:54z 2E0ZBE 144MHz FM Southampton
15:10z M3LWS 144MHz FM Southampton
15:18z M6RGQ 144MHz FM Southampton
15:20z G7RRQ 144MHz FM Isle of Wight
The commercial tower - would it cause breakthrough?

The commercial tower – would it cause breakthrough? Yes is the answer

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