Will scan the Forest explorer PDF into MacGPS, place check points then send to GPS so the printed and GPS are aligned.
Will also checkout the next summit on way home from a activation.
There is a lot of history around these days to assist with access planning.
Open OziExplorer with all the summits as weighpoints
Look for a group of summits that I can combine into one trip
Check any trip notes from other Activators
Check the access approaches on the OziEx maps
Open my Trip Schedule speadsheet and feed them in with the appropriate travel times between summits, I also use Google maps for some of the initial travel time estimates between towns - the TS spreadsheet gives me the activation times in both Local and Zulu time (I will provide a copy in the next few days, others may like to try it
Use OziExplorere to plot the key weighpoints for the trip (summits, key road junctions, car park points, etc) and load into the GPS
Print A4 maps of each summit area (forgot to do this on one occasion and paid the price of a wrong turn and added delay)
Ensure batteries are all charged
Post intentions to the SOTA site
Check the weather forecast the night before or on the morning - In Feb I refrained from going into the bush due to the fire risk, likewise, no point going is the weather is really bad - the summit will still be there next week or next month or next year
By going through this planning process I am then very familiar with where I am going and how long it should take
Use of a charged smart phone allows checking/posting of Spots in most instances.
Consider a spare battery for it or charging capability.
In the bush phones often go flat much faster than normal
And the rest follows the general approach of others My motto is "time spent on preplanning and preparation is never wasted"
I have a prepacked day pack for SOTA activations with food, water, log book, lightweight water resistant jacket, radio gear, waterproof cover for the radio gear, etc. My squid pole is in a nylon cover that clips to the pack. If the weather looks dubious then I throw in my Bothy emergency shelter - a v large garbag can also be a good shelter in an emergency, and it weighs next to nothing.
Remember food still in your pack does not produce energy
It is also important to know how to use all your gear - esp GPS, emergency shelter, etc.
For anyone taking a PLB remember to log into the AMSA PLB site before each trip and record your trip details - also setting of your PLB does not necessarly mean "instant" rescue, depending on the circumstances it may be the following day before the authorities can get to you
Finally - "let someone before you go", details of your trip should be left with someone who cares - so that if you have an accident or are still out beyond your agreed "back in contact time" authorities can be notified with good information