25' Random Length With Radials
My current light weight antenna is a 25' random length wire with 3 radials cut to correspond to the bands I will be transmitting on. I used what wire I had on hand so there is no wire gauge specifics going on.
2M Yagi Arrow Antenna
This antenna is made from an old aluminum arrow and .025 gauge music/hobby wire. One of the elements is 45" long. To avoid breaking the antenna (again) I am making a pouch to hang it off my pack.
Home Brew Buddistick
Many of the summits here require "compromise" antennas due to terrain, exposure etc. The Buddipole I have was not getting me the RST I wanted, so I built this one. It does a great job, especially on 40M where I was having issues. I have since replaced the Buddipole with the Buddistick. At some point I will fabricate one antenna that I can configure both ways. For now I am just going to use this one.
SOTA Keyers. I like to homebrew my SOTA keyers so I can try different things.
This is the setup I am going with for longer hikes (more than 7-8 miles) and when I do not want to carry a lot of weight. The entire setup is about 3 pounds and fits into a pouch that I can put into just about any bag or sack. The 18630 batteries give me several activations and the random length antenna with the radials puts out a decent signal. I look forward to some more aggressive hiking soon taking this radio along.
This was my "go to" radio and I insist on taking along all the options in the event I need them. The total weight of all my equipment, including water is about 42 pounds. At that weight, I can only hike this about 7-8 miles. These include all the ups and downs of hiking summits. I am considering getting an 857 with 100w of power and taking that along as it will not add any weight to my current setup.
SOTA Misc Gear
Butt Skid Plate
Some of the summits here are very steep. In addition, they are covered with decomposed granite, cacti and other unpleasant things. The granite can be anywhere in size from a pea to a bowling ball or larger. When you have to cross large fields of gravel on steep inclines, sitting and "scootching" is the safest way to travel.
This will serve a dual purpose of being a seating pad (to stop cactus needles) and a butt skid plate when necessary.