Category Archives: SOTA

SP-2B2C: A video series on the design and construction of a Dual-Band 2 Channel QRP CW rig

My radio projects to this point have typically involved a build and test effort, often spanning 3, 4 or even 6 months, culminating in one long, detailed blog post which was assembled over many months and a video that serves the dual purposes of showing and explaining the rig followed by an outing to one or more SOTA summits.

One consequence of this is that my video and blog output is quite low. Another is the resulting content is long, detailed, and not necessarily accessible to all readers or viewers. The concept/plan/build/test/box up and, finally, demonstrate approach is akin to building a house over a few years and publishing your account upon completion. So much of the story goes untold — old school thinking in 2021.

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SP-X, a pocket rig for the CW activator in a hurry!

I’ve long been interested in compact and fairly minimal SSB and CW rigs with good performance. I’m not into bells, whistles or menus. Menus are for restaurants! When hiking, walking or bouncing around summits I want to minimise things that are not absolutely necessary, things that can go wrong. Less is more when it comes to a transceiver for portable work.

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Mt Feathertop (VK3/VE-002) 11th Jan 2021

Mt Feathertop (1,922 meters) is the second highest mountain in south eastern Australia (Victoria), and according to many commentators, the most picturesque and memorable. While Mt Bogong, the highest at 1,986 meters is a mammoth of bulk and stature, a bullock of a mountain with an ungainly rounded peak, Feathertop stands like a crafted blade fashioned out of a gigantic rocky plate tipped on its side aeons ago by the unfathomable forces that shaped our planet. So to stand on the top you must climb the supremely steep side from the valley below, or walk along its exposed knife-edge for 10 kilometers.

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Pocket-sized homebrew 40m CW QRPp/QRP transceiver

In May 2019 I activated Mt Dandenong VK3/VC-025 with my latest homebrew rig. It was a CW only activation, five QSOs completed, but while I was handing out 599s, the reports coming back to me from the chasers were well down. Over the next few days on OZSOTA (the VK SOTA discussion group) several chasers made comments to the effect that they could hear other VK3s but nothing much from me. When regulars Tony VK3CAT, Ron VK3AFW and Gerard VK2IO reported the same thing, the evidence for a problem at my end mounted.

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Social distancing project #1: Lightweight Linked Dipole

The coronavirus has stopped just about everything, and is undoubtedly changing our lives forever. With almost every group or event cancelled, there are predictions of mass boredom and social isolation. Many people apparently have no idea what they’ll find to do with their time. How odd. That’s never been a problem for makers like me. So in the interests of the bored and isolated, I offer this story of something useful that can be made in an afternoon — a linked dipole.

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Federation Range VK3/VN-029 Jan 2020, with VK3EAR and VK3KR

Federation Range at 1490m is the highest point in the Yarra Ranges, and a comfortable 4km walk from Lake Mountain resort, 90 minutes drive north east of Melbourne. The 24th January 2020 was planned a few weeks in advance and fortunately, the weather was favourable, the area was well clear of bushfires, and Owen VK3EAR and David VK3KR were both able to join in.

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Two activators, two summits in the Yarra Ranges (25/10/2019)

On the 25th October 2019 I dragged David VK3KR out to the Yarra Ranges for some SOTA fun. The story is told by the video. Thanks to all chasers!

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Summit Prowler 6: A pocket-sized SSB/CW transceiver for 80, 40, 30 and 20m

Peter DK7IH is a master of compact homebrew transceivers. I’ve been reading his excellent blog where he chronicles more than half a dozen homebrew HF transceivers and related projects. Most are compact SSB superhet transceivers with digital VFOs, AGC, metering and PAs in the range 5 to 50 watts. A few of these rigs are just so remarkably tiny I wonder how he has the persistence and patience, not to mention how he gets them stable. With Peter’s fine examples in my head, I started daydreaming about a compact SSB/CW transceiver, hoping to go a fair bit smaller than my slightly chunky attempt at a hand-held from last year.

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Mt Hotham SOTA Weekend Feb 2-3 2019

A brief post to share a short video from last week’s Mt Hotham SOTA weekend. Once again, Brian VK3BCM hosted several dozen SOTA and mountaineering enthusiasts at Anton Huette Lodge, Mt Hotham, for two days of summit bagging and SOTA talk. On the way up I activated the two ‘easy’ summits on the Mt Buffalo plateau, The Hump and The Horn.

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