The day we decided to walk up Black Hill and play radio, just happened to be the day that the “trigger” race was being run, and the “spine” race too. It would have been less busy in town!
I have bought myself a new SPOT Gen3 tracker. Why? Well, I am planning a long walk (more about this in a future post). There is a good chance I won’t have mobile coverage for some of the walk, but I want to let family know I am safe.
The SPOT Gen3 looks like it will do the job. Its able to send a message (its transmit only, no receive) letting my contacts know I am ok, or need help. It can also be used to alert SAR (search and rescue) if needed.
The cost is reasonable considering the peace of mind, about £130 for the device and then a £180 yearly subscription. The subscription is charged in Euros, check with your bank, there may be an extra fee, if there is, the monthly option could work out a lot more expensive than you think.
Another great feature with the device is that you can use it to track your wanderings. This is the link to my track “Where’s Andy?”
If I am out, you will now know where I am, or at least where my SPOT is!
Getting up and Running can cost very little, but please get in touch with your local radio club and get licenced!
The basic kit can be as simple as a Baofeng UV/5R
These work on two bands, both FM and I have had contacts of up to 40 miles from the tops.
Another Radio I use is the Yaesu FT-817ND
Which is a more expensive option, but because it has HF (short wave) it can under the right conditions reach anywhere in the world. Mine is attached to a linked dipole from SOTABEAMS
SOTA or Summits On The Air is a really neat way of combining walking and amateur radio. There is a website dedicated to this side of the hobby at www.sota.org.uk/
In a nutshell, Radio enjoys the clear views and height on top of the hills as much as I do. At height you can get a really clear signal and speak with contacts all over the world.
I got my amateur radio licence on the 5th January 2017. My callsign is 2E0KUK.
I can be found out on the hills most Sundays, and I can be tracked here