2012 Activator Experience

K7ATN's picture

This winter in the damp Northwest, while we are waiting for an elusive sun break to activate, we might share some stories about our 2012 experience. We talk about radio stuff all the time, how about the following for a distraction?

  • Our favorite tech gadget for activating
  • Our favorite non-tech gadget or item for activating
  • Something that went wrong on a summit and how you dealt with it

My favorite non-technical gadget is probably my down jacket, followed closely by a Go-Lite umbrella. The down jacket was a Christmas gift from good friends right before I got into SOTA last January. I have changed into it (and dry clothes) many times to keep me warm on chilly summits. And although I try to avoid hiking in rain and snow, the umbrella has kept me ‘drier’ and kept the rain (or snow) off my radio gear on more than a few occasions

My favorite and most useful technical gadget has got to be a GPS. It’s probably the oldest and cheapest unit that would be useful for radiosport – a five-year old Garmin eTrex with limited memory and a tiny screen. Just the same, it has helped me identify where to start bushwacking, helped me find summits when I could not see or be sure, and helped me find my way back to the car and the trail when I leave it. Mostly I can be confident that I am on the summit (and the correct summit!) when I have the GPS.

Sometimes my FT-817 has no audio output. Usually I cycle the power once and it comes back. Except on Peak 3977 when it would not come on for any number of tries - it seems to have something to do with the aftermarket BHI DSP. Leatherman to the rescue; I ‘field stripped’ the FT-817, careful with the screws, and jiggled things around until I could hear again, about 45 minutes late for my activation time.

Etienne, K7ATN