Best VHF SOTA Antenna?

Charlie/NJ7V and Gaston/KT1RUN did a comparison of VHF antennas during a SOTA activation. Specifically, they compared a rubber duck antenna, a J-pole antenna on a tall mast, and a 3-element Yagi antenna. Spoiler Alert: the rubber duck sucks (they all do) but the Yagi and J-pole performed about the same.

Joyce/K0JJW and I use the Arrow 3-element Yagi antenna for most of our SOTA activations, so I am very familiar with that one. We also have a rollup J-pole that we use once in a while.

Charlie used the Yagi the same way we do: handheld at ground level. The J-pole was on a mast, maybe 12 feet (?) in the air. Although they were on a summit, there is some performance improvement getting the antenna higher than the surrounding terrain. The gain of the Arrow 3-element Yagi has been measured at about 6 dBd. The gain of a J-pole, being a halfwave radiator, is 0 dBd. The additional height of the J-pole has to make up this 6 dB of gain difference to be roughly equivalent.

A big difference, though, is that the Yagi antenna has to be held and pointed. The J-pole is always pointing in the right direction so you can just focus on operating and logging. We may have to consider using a omni antenna instead of the Yagi.

Good stuff!

73 Bob K0NR

The post Best VHF SOTA Antenna? appeared first on The KØNR Radio Site.

Bob Witte, KØNR, is a regular contributor to and writes from Colorado, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

Armbian Linux for Arm processors and Android TV Boxes.

It's always interesting when I write, to see what feedback or help is out there. I encourage you all to write in the comments below. The recent blog about Linux Mint 20.1 created a stir on, where my scribbles are relayed over and duplicated. Paul VA3ZC got in touch, and said "Have you tried Armbian? Linux for ARM devices". So a quick trip down to the link  Reveals a good download area for hardware which you may like to try it out on. Although the Raspberry Pi is not listed, surely is can't be long before something is ported over. I know recently Ubuntu Linux has been ported for the Raspberry Pi. But are there cheaper methods of playing around with Linux and using it to advantage our hobby? Paul mentioned he uses  an old Android TV Box. I have one of these which I use coupled up to my main TV for watching Youtube on.  
             This is mine I snatched out from under the TV for demo purposes.  The advantage of the Android TV box they are cheap! A mini computer all self contained inside a little box. Normally they include a power supply, simple remote, and work straight away out of the box when you plug them into your TV, booting from their internal Android firmware. They are also very simple to get running with Linux (in most cases). Adding a keyboard and mouse, blow the Linux firmware on to an SD card, and  away you go (In theory anyway).
  As you can see from the above two photo's good connectivity is included. If you would like a little play around with Linux they have got to be an excellent starting point, and if you don't like it or get get fed up, brick it, or just end up throwing it into the corner of the shack, you haven't lost much. You buy them from the likes of ebay, just type in Android TVBOX. You need to check first that the processor type is supported before you buy. Here is an example at around £20 UK: As well as the Armbian website support there are lots of videos on Youtube to a show you how to go about installing Linux. (Depending on processor type): Here is one I dug out, there are plenty of others, but it shows you the basics how to go about and get it running with Armbian. Hope that helps!  

Steve, G1KQH, is a regular contributor to and writes from England. Contact him at g1k[email protected].

Ham College 72

Ham College episode 72 is now available for download.

Extra Class Exam Questions – Part 10.
E2D Operating methods: VHF and UHF digital modes and procedures, APRS, EME procedures, meteor scatter procedures.


George Thomas, W5JDX, is co-host of AmateurLogic.TV, an original amateur radio video program hosted by George Thomas (W5JDX), Tommy Martin (N5ZNO), Peter Berrett (VK3PB), and Emile Diodene (KE5QKR). Contact him at [email protected].

Kiwi online SDR G4DYA

The online G4DYA Kiwi SDR receiver is just 9 miles North of my QTH. Situated at Stone, Staffordshire. UK.

It has an excellent range of Amateur bands, and even goes down to LF 136KHz and 472KHz, it also has some good decoders built in to play around with for CW, PSK and even WSPR.

Ideal to test band conditions and your equipment.

Join in the fun here

Steve, G1KQH, is a regular contributor to and writes from England. Contact him at [email protected].

Saying good-bye to my little buddy.

Today we said good-bye to my best buddy of 15 years.....Oliver. Peace be with you, my little buddy you will be missed very much. 

Mike Weir, VE9KK, is a regular contributor to and writes from New Brunswick, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

North America Adventure Frequency: 146.58 MHz

Recently, on the nasota group,  there was a discussion about designating an alternative 2m FM frequency for Summits On The Air (SOTA) use (instead of 146.52 MHz). The main driver for this is that 146.52 MHz can get busy with other radio traffic and/or a busy SOTA activation can tie up the calling frequency for a long time.

Rex KE6MT (SOTA W6 Association Manager) kicked it off with:

A friend of mine, George KJ6VU, has been talking with me and several others about the idea of an FM “Adventure Frequency.”  It would be for more than just SOTA – other *OTA’s could also use it.  There are other ideas to layer on top of it, such as tone signaling so that you don’t have to hear traffic you don’t want to hear, and repeater infrastructure for announcing someone’s on the frequency with a given tone, etc.  But the core thing would be to decide on a frequency and really get it in use.  The National Calling Frequency (146.52) can be great for a few contacts sometimes, but other times it’s problematic either because it’s being hogged or because nobody’s listening.  Of course, this Adventure Frequency could have the same issues present themselves differently, but would alleviate some and pave the path for future additions mentioned above.

I have previously written about the challenges of using 146.52: The Use of 146.52 MHz

One important idea is to include the other “OTAs” in adopting this frequency, most notably Parks On The Air (POTA). Hence the name “Adventure Frequency,” and not “SOTA Frequency.” It is really about hams operating portable in an outdoor setting. Of course, like all amateur spectrum, this frequency must be shared with other users.

It may seem like a simple thing to choose a nationwide simplex frequency but VHF band plans are managed regionally. In particular, there is a mix of 15-kHz and 20-kHz channel spacings. (For more background on this see Simplex Channel Confusion on 2 Meters.)

After some discussion, the group settled on 146.58 MHz. There was some dialog around using CTCSS for signaling but nothing specific surfaced.

Some key points:

  • The NAAF is 146.58 MHz.
  • This frequency is in addition to, not a replacement for, the National Simplex Calling Frequency 146.52 MHz.
  • Local usage will likely vary depending on needs.
  • Program 146.58 MHz as The Other Simplex Frequency in your radio.

What does this mean to you?

Program 146.58 MHz into your radio and have it available. If you are doing SOTA (or POTA) activations, consider using this frequency, especially if you are in an area where 146.52 is used a lot. (I’ve already started using this frequency for SOTA activations near urban areas.)

73 Bob K0NR

The post North America Adventure Frequency: 146.58 MHz appeared first on The KØNR Radio Site.

Bob Witte, KØNR, is a regular contributor to and writes from Colorado, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

Linux Mint 20.1 Ulyssa Xfce released.


Latest version of Linux Mint released 

I am hopeful there will be a version for Arm processors soon?

Steve, G1KQH, is a regular contributor to and writes from England. Contact him at [email protected].

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