Meeting with the SASQ group at Cheaha State Park this past weekend renewed my interest in SOTA. Over the past year, I have gotten myself in pretty good shape making SOTA more doable. I started putting together a bag for hiking to SOTA Summits. I have hiked and backpacked at different parts of my life so I have an idea of what I need (and want) for a kit. Since I’m an old guy, I do not want to be carrying the kitchen sink with me. I have a QRP radio coming, but that’s another post. Here is the list of my current load out.
I’ll start with my E&E bag short for Escape and Evasion. Typically an E&E bag has the bare minimum of gear. This bag travels with me when I leave my home area. I move it from bag to bag as needed. The bag is a Tom Bihn Handy Little Thing (HLT) size 2. Loaded, it weighs 24 oz (1.5 lbs).
Here is a list of the contents: Mechanical Pencil Bullet (Space) Pen Rite in the Rain Notebook Mylar Rescue Blanket 2 – Eye Glass Cleaners 2 – Dude Wipes Rope First Aid Kit 2 – Safety Pins 1 – 1 Liter Water Bag Compass w/signal mirror Whistle Survival Guide Dental Floss Ferro Rod, Striker, and Magnesium Fire Tinder Matches Duct Tape P-38 Mini Screwdriver Flash Drive Evidence Card Large Magnifying Glass Small Magnifying Glass
To carry the radio and associated gear, along with food, water, etc., I decided to use my Camelbak HAWG. It is the older style. I like it because it prevents me from overpacking. The bag and gear without the E&E bag weigh an even 6 lbs., 7.5 lbs with the E&E. With adding food, water, and radios, I am hoping to keep the weight below 15 lbs. I’ve done some Go Rucking with 40 lbs so this should be a breeze.
Here is the list: Canteen, Cup, and Cover (canteen is Nalgene) Potable Aqua MRE Spoon Poncho Garbage Bag – Contractor Rope Kit w/Duct Tape Triangular Bandanna Insect Repellent Tincture of Iodine Sit Cushion Tent Stakes – 6
There you have it. enough to cover most events that may happen on an excursion into the wilds, but not too much where you feel like a pack mule. Next work on the radios. 73 – Scott
This morning, 05 May 23, I decided to take a trip out to Cheaha State Park. It’s about a 50-mile drive but worth it since it is the highest point in Alabama. I enjoy the park and consider it my home park. The day was cool and foggy. Since I was operating out of the cab of the truck, it was nice not to see the sun.
For a change of pace, I brought one of my QRP radios, the IC-705 with the AH-705. I like this radio. It is easy (for me) to use since I have other Icom radios and the interface is similar. I don’t have to relearn the radio every time I use it. The antenna was my Frankentenna Mobile version. I also wanted to give it a workout at QRP levels.
I had another motive for bringing the IC-705. I purchased an app for my iPhone called SDR-Control Mobile. It was created by Marcus Roskosch, the same Marcus that made SDR-Control for iPad. This app connects to the IC-705 via Bluetooth and operates FT8 and CW. It also has a logging function along with several other tools. What drew me to the app was the ability to use my cell phone. The cell phone uses far less power and lasts a lot longer than tablets or laptops. I used it for over 2.5 hrs and the battery level barely moved. The app controls the radio like most other apps. FT8 was a breeze as most of it was automated and logging was a push of a button. Exporting the log was also clicky-click.
Band conditions were up and down and even though I operating QRP, I still managed to make 41 contacts. It was nice working FT8 while holding the phone in my hands. In the past, I would have to twist a bit to get to the laptop making it uncomfortable.
While operating, a fellow ham drove up and said he was looking for me! He and 4 others were operating a special event station about 200 yards down the hill from me. the club was the Southern Appalachian Summit QRPers. SASQ or Sasquatch. This is a group that prefers operating outdoors. They enjoy hiking to SOTA summits and operating portable with lightweight gear. I visited with them for a while and interviewed them for my YouTube channel. If you are interested here is a link to their website https://jesarge.wixsite.com/sasq
I made 41 contacts and here is a QSO map of the activation.
It was a good day, I made a few contacts and a few new radio friends. I may have to see about joining SASQ. I also added another tool to my portable operations tool kit. I like it when things end up win-win. Below is a short video on the activation. 73 — Scott