Thursday, February 9, 2017

SOTA Station

As of February 2017, my portable SOTA station is:
  • Transceiver - LNR Precision MTR 3B. Lightweight, very low current draw, covers the most popular SOTA bands.
  • Tuner - Elecraft T1 autotuner. Much easier to have the microprocessor do the work rather than my fingers.
  • Antenna - home made norcal doublet. Seems to work well. 
  • Paddle - AME Porta Paddle. I have to clean them occasionally to get the dirt out of the moving parts.
  • Headphones - Panasonic earbuds. I found a comfortable pair, and own 2 or 3 of them now.
  • Koss inline volume control. Saves my ears from the really loud signals and the very loud sidetone from the MTR.
  • Battery - either a 500mAh LiPo or a 1500mAh LiFePo, both purchased from HobbyKing. All my power connectors are power poles. 
  • Antenna Support - 20 foot fishing pole from walmart.
  • Various ropes to hold up antenna.
  • Notebook and pen for logging.
  • VHF Transceiver - Kenwood TH-F6A. I have an aftermarket 12in whip.
My setup on Sierra Morena.
Overall I'm very happy with this setup. It is compact and lightweight, so it is easy to bring on both day hikes and multi-day backpacking trips. It is CW only, but CW is the best mode so this is not a problem.

Previous equipment includes:
  • BLT tuner. This didn't work on 20m, and I got tired of manually tuning, so I bought the T1.
Here's the old setup with the BLT.
Future activations may include:
  • KX3. I bought some side plates and a cover for travel. I also need a bigger battery for longer operations, and a reason to bring all those bands and modes. Maybe for a VHF contest.
  • Amplifier. Maybe I'll get one that can be taken into the woods.
  • Trapped EFHW. I have the traps, I just need to design and build them and the antenna. I also need to make the matching unun for the end. If I do it right I could get 40/30/20 meters without a tuner or feed line.
  • Palm Pico Paddle. I seem to have a lot of issues with the porta-paddles, and it gets frustrating to deal with them on a mountain top.

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