And I have finished and I’m back home. 233RC/MC015 SOTA activation is done, 38 contacts in the log, a new division for me (115), a S2S contact (14CRX/FPO084), tired and a bit sunburned. Also alot of things learned from this new experience for me, wich will be really useful next time. First of all, some pictures I ahve managed to take on the way. Here’s how the Caraiman peak looks from Busteni, the closest city:
And here’s how I got up there: the aerial tramway that got me from about 850m to 2200m of altitude, it truly looks like the way to the sky.
A view from the Babele plateau at 2200m:
And finally the antenna installed on the Caraiman peak at 2384m height (actually a few meters less, because i wasn’t on the very top):
When the clouds cleared, you could see the Caraiman Cross:
The transciever used was the K-PO DX 5000, wich I found out not to be the best for SOTA as it is rather bulky and takes up space in the bag. Other than that it was great, the integrated SWR meter and supply voltage monitoring are very useful tools for portable operation, and the adjustable power output up to over 15W in SSB was a decent tradeoff. Sometimes i wished for a 100W transciever, but looking back at the 4 hours of activation-style operation (almost 50/50 tx/rx cycle) available from the 7.2Ah battery I think it was worth it to lose a few contacts in order to gain much more operation time.
The antenna was a quad loop built from 2 fishing sticks, one was 6.8m and the other 2.8m; I have used double 0.5mm wire from UTP cable for the loop, wich was strong enough not to break in the wind (even if the antenna was turned by the wind, wich was a real problem I didn’t foresee). At first I have tested with vertical polarisation (fed on one side corner) and the noise was at S3 even on the mountain top and I had SWR 2.5 (normal for a vertical polarised loop), then I switched to horizontal polarisation (fed the antenna at the bottom corner), the noise went away and SWR was down to 1.1, plus the gain is higher and the lobes are better for DX.
Log for the activation: 233RC-MC015-log