Tips for 2m FM SOTA Success

Etienne Scott, K7ATN

For those considering a SOTA activation using just a HT, here are some ideas that could contribute to success with 2m FM for Summits on the Air:

    • Post an Alert for your intentions a day or two before and a Spot when you are on the air --- use
    • (Facebook isn't effective for letting folks know you are on the air.)
  • You might let your friends and your radio club know you'll be out on a summit --- remind them that you'll be using simplex. 
  • Consider that your success will increase when you are within LOS of urban areas - contacts maybe somewhat random otherwise.
  • Start out with a previously activated summit where you can find good access beta on and
  • Consider using the National Calling Frequency of 146.52 only as a backup --- a spot for a simplex frequency like 146.58 will get you regular Chasers in the Portland/Vancouver area. If it's busy, try a spot for 146.54 or 146.56.
  • Note that some HT hear better than others - for example, the Baofeng UV-5R seems to be particularly deaf for simplex work. 
  • "Rubber Ducky" antennas will be inadequate most of the time - you will be well served by using enhanced  antennas --- 1/2 wave antennas like the MFJ-1714 "Long Ranger", the RH-770 or a roll-up j-pole are popular.