Testing SOTA
Some SOTA summits
Links & Ressources

Of course portable operating is for having more antenna space, no obstacles around and having less qrn - but it is also a quite unique experience to be outdoors with your equipment not knowing what moments possibly to remember will come up. Of course the most memorable one will be one with no camera at hand like that VHF-contest on a 920m (1900 ft) mountain on the first may-weekend 2005: during the night fell some 10 cm snow only on the very top of it. I drove down in the morning - in a car covered with lots of fresh snow through a spring green forest with bright sunshine. And now on with more prosaic pictures:

My favourite portable location not only because it is only 20 minutes to drive to). It is a 222m (about 666 ft) single small hill in a flat region of about 170m/510ft ("Thüringer Becken"). The bigger part of it is used by the local waste deposit which makes it at most times no picnic and hiking location (during one night a car with a couple entered the hill - and turned downwards with seemingly disappointed passengers when they saw my car...). For those interested in less hmmm earthly matters it is also the place where - following the legend - student Martin Luther was hit by a tremendous storm with many lightnings when walking to his university town Erfurt. The legend says he swore to change from studying law to studying theology if he survived. Now only a very small stone monument at the edges of waste deposit and animal cemetery remembers that moment of some (...) importance.
MY only difficult encounter was a CW-fieldday when the hill was already occupied by a private techno party - having sooo many songs with rhythmic dits in it with >100dB (no, I won´t say what I swore that day glued to the location as you have to name the organizers your FD-QTH in advance).

VHF-Contest July 2003: a flat hilltop (430 m) near the city of Jena with a growing plant of wind generators - luckily causing no remarkably qrn. Antenna was a 4 element yagi a bit higher than the heavier 9 ele. The second section of the pole is not pulled out but left in the thickest section on the ground. So the pulled out part with the antenna can be armstrong rotated but is nested safely enough in the thickest section which is fixed on ground and mirror.

One of the crazier experiments: 3 stacked HB9CV-antennas on the pole. The antennas are collapsible so they fit into a backpack. Basic idea was to have an easily transportable antenna with more than 5 dBd gain. The stack worked remarkably better than a single HB9CV, but of course not the 2 S-units on the meter - which speak more against the meter than for the antenna... The mechanic work at the site for fixing the antennas (clamps with rubber inside) and the lines plus transforming line don´t speak for this strange thing.

Below is the interior of the four-wheeled QTH: from left to right the most important coffee pot, battery, paddle/keyer combo, TM-255. The right picture shows a nearly antique way of log-keeping. For the few qsos during a VHF-Contest (up to 150 during a long overnight session) I go with the great but small palm paddle and paper log instead of fiddling with the laptop.

Click for larger image

Basic antennas are 2x5 m long dipoles for 20m with symmetric feederline to work from 20m up (open wire only when hanging direct from the pole with not much branches or bush on its route... ribbon wire preferred otherwise). Feedpoint is either at a fiberglasspole at about 8 m in inverted vee configuration or - if possible - with a regular stretched horinzontal dipole between trees.

To get it up I use the pole to bring the support line over a useable branch and then a weight of >200g will bring the support wire down on the other side of the branch (hopefully). Done twice (with of course only minor snagging problems...) I then can tie the dipole up.

At my locations there are no sinlge trees with only few branches allowing for slingshot- or bow-methods. As I prefer hills with steep slopes it is enough to have at least more than five meters to get reasonable results.

Rig is a K2/100 runing normally with 20 W sometimes cranked up to 30/35 W, matchbox a MFJ portable tuner (which in an A-B-test was as good as the bigger MFJ-941 - btw no problems until now with that MFJ-equipment), power supply a 17 Ah gelcell, keying done by the palm paddle (fixed with screws on a wooden board if in the car, or fixed by the right hand for pure laziness on a smaller writing board). All equipment including nutrition and old working gloves (you don´t want that thornes in your finger when just wanting to start operating...) fits into one case and a backpack - or better (update July 11) a 60l-backpack :-)