Nice day for a SOTA activation with the new 2m dipole


As the weather appeared to be holding up – which for me meant it wasn’t below 5˚C and also wasn’t raining… I thought I should try out my recently acquired 2M dipole. So I headed out on the bike to a local SOTA summit, if it can be called a summit that is, which was Wentwood Hill GW/SW-033. At approximately 1,000 feet, it is an easy activation by comparison to others with the trig point only about 5 mins walking distance from where one can safely park up. No steep climbs here!

Despite trawling through some dense vegetation, I couldn’t actually locate the physical trig point as it appears to have either been eaten by the trig-point monster or more likely, had become totally covered by undergrowth, so I sought out the highest point I could physically get to, and set up. The new dipole has a strong clip I was able to use to attach to a tree sapling and within minutes was chatting to Russ, 2W0RGF and Steve, GW4OGO – both members of NARS, my local club, Newport Amateur Radio Society. Did a quick check of the dipole by alternating between it and the supplied rubber duck, and as expected there was no comparison. Why is it that reputable manufacturers such as Yaesu/Icom etc supply such naff antennas (some may say known as dummy loads) with their otherwise excellent hand held radios? Beats me!

Plenty of birds about… Chiffchaffs were busy making song, together with the usual variety of Blue Tits and Great Tits, and at one point a Wren perched on a branch not 5′ away, but despite having my camera gear with me I wasn’t anywhere near quick enough to grab a photo and it disappeared into the undergrowth. Interestingly for any birders who may be reading, this location is a great spot for Nightjar in the Summer. They can be seen, more often heard, at fewer and fewer spots in the UK, but this is one place where you might be lucky enough to spot one.

The Yaesu FT-70D once again did a fine job, allowing me to make several contacts over the next hour or so, with the furthest being Steve, G4TCU/P some 56 miles away on SOTA WB-015 in the Welsh Borders, close to Craven Arms.

As a side note, sitting on the hidden path playing SOTA I had a slight pang of regret regarding selling my gorgeous Kenwood TH-D74 last year. Was a, no, is a fantastic radio, but alas I just wasn’t doing anything with it, not even using it when I was out on the bike. I guess that’s the ever cycling levels of interest we have in the myriad aspects of our hobby, eh! Now that a handy is usually with me when I venture out on the motorcycle, for that moment today I did wish I had kept the Kenwood. Hey ho!

Didn’t like leaving the bike unattended so after about 50 mins I headed back to set up with the dipole on the top of my 7m telescopic pole, and made more contacts. I think I need to try out a side by side comparison of the performance of the SlimJim antenna v’s the dipole antenna. Look out for that in a future post perhaps.

It is always a pleasant experience when sat out in a beautiful spot, nature at its best, especially when one can mix that with amateur radio.

Keep safe


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