Portable Operations, SOTA and QRP

Portable operations, SOTA and QRP are another interesting aspect of Amateur Radio. Using low power (QRP) battery operated radios and portable antennas in the outdoors can be a lot of fun.

In upstate NY there are ample opportunities to get outside and use your radio for both DX and local contacts on HF, VHF and UHF.

There are a few groups that promote portable operation. We will try to keep a list here:

Summits on the Air (SOTA) is an award scheme for radio amateurs and shortwave listeners that encourages portable operation in mountainous areas. SOTA has been carefully designed to make participation possible for everyone - this is not just for mountaineers! There are awards for activators (those who ascend to the summits) and chasers (who either operate from home, a local hilltop or are even Activators on other summits).

SOTA is now fully operational in many countries across the world. Each country has its own Association which defines the recognized SOTA summits within that Association. Each summit earns the activators and chasers a score which is related to the height of the summit. Certificates are available for various scores, leading to the prestigious "Mountain Goat" and "Shack Sloth" trophies. An Honor Roll for Activators and Chasers is maintained at the SOTA online database. Learn more here: http://www.sota.org.uk/Joining-In

Upstate NY summits: http://www.sota.org.uk/Association/W2

FireTowerRadio.net - Adirondack Fire towers On The Air

Members of the Northern New York Amateur Radio Association (NNYARA) would like to promote the idea of operating from current and former Adirondack Fire Tower locations. We'd like to set
up something similar to the ARLS to coordinate and recognize operation. For those of us who hike, it is easy enough to take a HT up, but making VHF-FM contacts other than through repeaters is pretty rare unless other stations know to listen. We envision our web site to be a way to let people know what's happening and coordinate events. Information link: http://www.firetowerradio.net/


W2LJ QRP blog:  http://w2lj.blogspot.com/p/portable-qrp-ops.html
QRP Amateur Radio Club International:  http://www.qrparci.org/
Bud; W3FF (buddi-pole inventor): https://sites.google.com/site/w3ffhomepage/

Portable Equipment: (UNDER CONSTRUCTION - we will start adding to this soon)

Some Portable Antennas (actual users):
1. ATX Walkabout (KC2VER, KD2ETP), portable bnc for Yaesu FT-817, Elecraft KX3, etc, link:http://www.g4ilo.com/atx.html
2. Yo-Yo-Vee(KC2VER), portable reel type wire antenna, link: http://www.hamradiofun.com/yo-yo-vee.htm
3. MFJ-2286 "Big Stick" 6-40M, 17' whip antenna (KC2VER) , link: http://www.mfjenterprises.com/Product.php?productid=MFJ-2286 
4. EmComm II - Chameleon 6-160m wire dipole,(KC2VER)  link: http://chameleonantenna.com/BASE%20ANTENNA/CHA%20EMCOMM%20II/CHA%20EMCOMM%20II.html
5. Alex Loop (WB2EMS), link; http://www.alexloop.com/
6. Wonder Wand (KD2DOW), link: http://www.wonder-wand.co.uk/WonderWand/WW_Photos.html
7. Buddipole (KD2ETP): link: http://www.buddipole.com/

Some Portable Radios:
1. Elecraft KX3
2. Yaesu FT-817
3. Yasue FT-897 (new FT-891)
4. Others?

Portable Operation Links: (UNDER CONSTRUCTION - we will start adding to this soon)

Personal stories from our readers: (UNDER CONSTRUCTION - we will start adding to this soon)
1. Summits-On-the-Air (SOTA) activation story - Steve; KD2ETP
2. Alex Loop antennas and experimentation - Kevin; WB2EMS
3. Others?


  1. Looking at the lists, there's nothing on public land anywhere near Buffalo, NY. Ideas? I am more mobile and able to hike some after my surgery repairs in January. FT817 & assorted filed portable hardware here...73, Keith, WB2VUO

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