Saturday, 14 June 2014

Activating (almost) ZS/GP-001

I have just returned home after my first attempt at being a SOTA activator (goat)

Yesterday, I spent quite a long time carefully packing my kit in preparation for the trip. We awoke before sunrise and SWAMBO and I hit the road early, we arrived at our destination with some time to spare. In fact on the way I stopped to survey yet another summit: GP-002 on the way.

I immediately erected the telescopic fibre glass mask and hauled up the 20/40m linked inverted vee dipole. With that all done, we quickly took a few photographs for prosperity and then sat down and started connecting the Elecraft K2 to all the paraphernalia: Paddle, microphone, feed line and battery….. It was then I discovered a huge problem. The battery cable was not in the bag, I had inadvertently left it at home.

I had no choice, but to pack up and return home.

Even though no QSOs were made it still was a most pleasant experience. I recon I will do this again sometime.

Click on images for higher resolution.
Perdekop ZS/GP-001 view SE
ZS/GP-001 Perdekop

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Ultralight portable station - batteries

A while back I blogged about methods of reducing the weight of my ultralight portable station:

I believe I have found the ultimate battery for my ultralight portable station. 

There is nothing new about the product below, but I have not had the opportunity to get first-hand experience with these newish devices.

Normally I would use a 7 AH SLAB - Sealed Lead Acid Battery (typical alarm type battery).

The abovementioned SLAB's had served me very well through the years, but there is only one small problem, they weigh 2350 g each. This weight is fairly substantial and would become an issue on long hikes.

I discovered on e-Bay that there are many Lithium-Ion batteries available with different mAH ratings and IMHO they are pretty reasonably priced.

The 6800 mAH LiON battery (same capacity as the SLAB) weighs is at 162 g. This is only 7% of the weight of the 7000 mAH SLAB and it is a fairly compact unit.

Assuming the “blurb” regarding the LiON batteries can be believed then I think this is the way to go. As some insurance I decided to get a 9800 mAH battery complete with charger.

I cannot wait to field test these units……

9800 mAH LiON battery pack

Saturday, 7 June 2014

SOTA statistics

Looking at the SOTA web site the following information can clearly be derived:

·         CW is still the most popular mode by a good margin. 46% of QSOs were made in CW, followed by SSB 32% and FM 22%.

·         The most popular bands are 40m followed by 2m thereafter the 30m band. This is understandable, but also a pity since it virtually excludes South Africans from participating on an international level.

Click on image below for a better view.

SOTA statistics