The week leading up to 14er weekend/day I drove to Colorado to do a SOTA vacation. Andrew, KD5ZZK came up from Baton Rouge to my house the night before and left before I woke up at 5:15am. We both headed to the volcano summit in NM that’s on the way, Capulin Mountain:
The air was thick with little bugs that are attracted to white, and I was wearing a white Tshirt. The desert really draws water out of you, so if you go in the summer like this, take water with you on the paved crater trail. The high point is a steeper climb to the left of the parking lot, but you do get to drive to the bottom of the rim!
26/07/2014 19:10 W5N/SG-009 144MHz FM KD5ZZK
26/07/2014 19:58 W5N/SG-009 14MHz SSB W0MNA
26/07/2014 19:59 W5N/SG-009 14MHz SSB W0ERI
26/07/2014 20:01 W5N/SG-009 14MHz SSB AA7DK
26/07/2014 20:03 W5N/SG-009 14MHz SSB W7RV
26/07/2014 20:04 W5N/SG-009 14MHz SSB N7AMA
26/07/2014 20:05 W5N/SG-009 14MHz SSB WA7JTM
26/07/2014 20:07 W5N/SG-009 14MHz SSB W7CNL
26/07/2014 20:08 W5N/SG-009 14MHz SSB W5QC
26/07/2014 20:09 W5N/SG-009 14MHz SSB VE2JCW
26/07/2014 20:11 W5N/SG-009 14MHz SSB NS7P
26/07/2014 20:12 W5N/SG-009 14MHz SSB WA2USA
26/07/2014 20:14 W5N/SG-009 14MHz SSB KF7JQV S2S
26/07/2014 20:16 W5N/SG-009 14MHz SSB K7NEW S2S
26/07/2014 20:16 W5N/SG-009 14MHz SSB N1EU
26/07/2014 20:17 W5N/SG-009 14MHz SSB ND0C
26/07/2014 20:18 W5N/SG-009 14MHz SSB K5WI
Next, Andrew and I drove to a previously unactivated, drive up summit in Colorado, Deer Peak. It may be drive up, but only if you have a high clearance 4x4 with stout tires! I drove as far as I could in my CX5 and then jumped in the truck with him for the rest of the way. You can park by the lower antennas and then hike up to the clear area on the summit just below some more towers. The clear area is in the middle of this panoramic:
Here are the summit towers:
Here are the lower towers where we parked:
I can be on the air in about 2 minutes after I take my backpack off. I don’t get quite as good of a signal out as Andrew does (in his opinion) since I use an EARCH 52’ end fed 9:1 UNUN and he uses an OCFD… Here’s a video of the whole trip up and part of the way down Deer Peak:
Here is my log:
27/07/2014 0:54 W0C/SC-034 7MHz SSB W4RK
27/07/2014 1:00 W0C/SC-034 7MHz SSB WA6RIC
27/07/2014 1:19 W0C/SC-034 14MHz SSB W7RV
27/07/2014 1:24 W0C/SC-034 14MHz SSB W7USA
27/07/2014 1:25 W0C/SC-034 14MHz SSB NS7P
It was tough rounding up chasers.. even though we had an alert, no one was really watching for us and when we finally get a spot it, it didn’t help much. We got the activation though, so it was successful!
Next we drove to the house of my original elmer, Frank McNally kf0wf, in Colorado Springs to get some sleep.
Next on the list was Pike’s Peak. It started hailing on us during the pileup so we had to grab our stuff and run to the truck. It took a few trips and running at 14k feet is HARD unless you’re name is cloudrunner (KT5X).
Here’s a pic of the road up:
Here’s the log for Pike’s Peak:
27/07/2014 17:40 W0C/FR-004 14MHz SSB WA7JTM
27/07/2014 17:41 W0C/FR-004 14MHz SSB N7AMA
27/07/2014 17:42 W0C/FR-004 14MHz SSB W7RV
27/07/2014 17:43 W0C/FR-004 14MHz SSB W0MNA
27/07/2014 17:43 W0C/FR-004 14MHz SSB W0ERI
27/07/2014 17:44 W0C/FR-004 14MHz SSB AA7DK
27/07/2014 17:44 W0C/FR-004 14MHz SSB W4DOW
27/07/2014 17:45 W0C/FR-004 14MHz SSB W7USA
27/07/2014 17:45 W0C/FR-004 14MHz SSB N6KZ
27/07/2014 17:46 W0C/FR-004 14MHz SSB N4EX
27/07/2014 17:46 W0C/FR-004 14MHz SSB NS7P
27/07/2014 17:47 W0C/FR-004 14MHz SSB AE4FZ
27/07/2014 17:47 W0C/FR-004 14MHz SSB WA2USA
27/07/2014 17:48 W0C/FR-004 14MHz SSB K0LAF
Here’s video of the trip up/down Pike’s Peak:
After Pike’s Peak, we went to hike Mt Rosa, but we didn’t have Peanut with us so we missed the trail and only made it about half way up before we turned around. It was a really nice hike though!
After Rosa, we split directions with Andrew going to South Dakota and I went to Buena Vista. I was planning on fishing the next day, and did a little bit.
Here’s the road to the river I wanted to fish:
and the river:
It started to thunder, so I packed up and decided to go hike up Midland Hill. Yea, I know, thunder… but I figured it would be done by the time I got there.
At the Y in the trail, go to the right towards Midland Hill:
The trail is pretty nice but gains a lot of elevation very quickly:
The rain stayed in the distance until I got to the summit:
Locals saved my activation, not a lot of chasers during the week:
28/07/2014 22:51 W0C/SP-117 14MHz SSB WA2USA
28/07/2014 22:52 W0C/SP-117 14MHz SSB W9NRC
28/07/2014 22:56 W0C/SP-117 144MHz FM WZ0N
28/07/2014 22:58 W0C/SP-117 144MHz FM KD0MRC
28/07/2014 23:00 W0C/SP-117 144MHz FM W9GYA
The next morning I didn’t know what I would do until I got a txt from Andrew that he was headed to Jelm Mountain in Wyoming. I saw I was about the same distance away (5hr drive) so I headed up there to meet him and do another activation with him. (like Andrew said, we’re in AA, Activator’s Anonymous).
Here’s a panorama of Jelm Mtn’s summit. There is an IR observatory up there that’s managed by the University of Wyoming. Notice the clouds?
We setup Andrew’s antenna then went to his truck because it started to shower. No lightning, just rain. When it eased up, we went back up the summit to the antenna and I heard a crackle over my head then BOOM/FLASH!!! we were close, but didn’t feel our hair raise up, just soiled our pants and ran back to the truck!!! wow that was scary! We finally went back and finished the activation but I had my feet together, my hands on my knees and was bent down low to keep any future ground currents from getting me whenever I didn’t have the mic!
My log for Jelm Mountain:
29/07/2014 21:09 W7Y/EW-006 14MHz SSB W7RV
29/07/2014 21:12 W7Y/EW-006 14MHz SSB N7AMA
29/07/2014 21:13 W7Y/EW-006 14MHz SSB WA2USA
29/07/2014 21:14 W7Y/EW-006 14MHz SSB W0MNA
29/07/2014 21:15 W7Y/EW-006 14MHz SSB W0ERI
29/07/2014 21:16 W7Y/EW-006 14MHz SSB K0LAF
29/07/2014 21:17 W7Y/EW-006 14MHz SSB NS7P
On the way back to BV, I found a nice pond:
With something beautiful in it:
I let him go to grow bigger.
Next day I met Andrew again, but first he climbed Squaw Mtn while I was on my way, then while he drove to HRO in Denver, I hiked up Squaw Mtn and activated it.
Nice road up but very wet:
I covered my KX3 with my little evaporative cooling towel to keep the rain off of it.
Here’s my log:
30/07/2014 20:05 W0C/PR-082 144MHz FM KD5ZZK
30/07/2014 20:21 W0C/PR-082 14MHz SSB WA2USA
30/07/2014 20:22 W0C/PR-082 14MHz SSB W7RV
30/07/2014 20:23 W0C/PR-082 14MHz SSB N7AMA
30/07/2014 20:24 W0C/PR-082 14MHz SSB W7USA
30/07/2014 20:25 W0C/PR-082 14MHz SSB W7CNL
30/07/2014 20:30 W0C/PR-082 14MHz SSB K0LAF
30/07/2014 20:31 W0C/PR-082 14MHz SSB K6EL
Elliott, K6EL, was 5-9+10, he was the loudest signal I’ve ever heard while doing SOTA.
Andrew came back and we both headed up the highest highway in North America to Mount Evans. Since I was driving myself, I don’t have many pics or video, especially since it was SNOWING on us:
30/07/2014 23:54 W0C/FR-003 144MHz FM KD5ZZK
31/07/2014 0:05 W0C/FR-003 7MHz SSB AA7DK
31/07/2014 0:06 W0C/FR-003 7MHz SSB W0MNA
31/07/2014 0:07 W0C/FR-003 144MHz FM KD0RJ
31/07/2014 0:08 W0C/FR-003 144MHz FM KD0ZQN
The next day we went to Monarch Ridge South. There is a $10 tram ride to the top but we drove a 4x4 road about 2/3 of the way up and then hiked the rest of the way since a sign said unauthorized vehicles couldn’t go further.
On the way up, we saw the “road” to Mount Peck and decided to try it out on the way back.
Lots of RF!
The NA Goat Herd was headed in for the 14er event!!!
31/07/2014 19:50 W0C/SP-058 144MHz FM N0KM
31/07/2014 19:57 W0C/SP-058 14MHz SSB W7CNL
31/07/2014 19:58 W0C/SP-058 14MHz SSB K5WI
31/07/2014 19:59 W0C/SP-058 14MHz SSB NS7P
31/07/2014 20:00 W0C/SP-058 14MHz SSB KH2TJ
31/07/2014 20:25 W0C/SP-058 14MHz SSB W0MNA
31/07/2014 20:26 W0C/SP-058 14MHz SSB W0ERI
31/07/2014 20:29 W0C/SP-058 144MHz FM WG0AT
31/07/2014 20:34 W0C/SP-058 144MHz FM KT5X
Next we went to go look at Mt Peck before heading to Lunch (it was past 3pm).
What happens when you get to AA guys looking at a summit? Another activation! Why go to lunch when we were sitting at the bottom of the slop up to a SOTA summit?
SOTA addicts sometimes get so excited, they forget to change out of their shoes into hiking boots!
Some pics of me that Andrew took
Mt Peck Log:
31/07/2014 22:31 W0C/SP-053 144MHz FM K1JD
31/07/2014 22:32 W0C/SP-053 144MHz FM NM5S
31/07/2014 22:35 W0C/SP-053 144MHz FM KT5X
31/07/2014 22:37 W0C/SP-053 14MHz SSB NS7P
31/07/2014 22:38 W0C/SP-053 14MHz SSB K5WI
31/07/2014 22:39 W0C/SP-053 14MHz SSB KF7MAX
31/07/2014 22:52 W0C/SP-053 14MHz SSB W0MNA
31/07/2014 22:52 W0C/SP-053 14MHz SSB W0ERI
31/07/2014 22:53 W0C/SP-053 14MHz SSB WU8R
31/07/2014 22:55 W0C/SP-053 14MHz SSB VE2JCW
31/07/2014 22:56 W0C/SP-053 14MHz SSB AE4FZ
31/07/2014 22:56 W0C/SP-053 14MHz SSB WA6RIC
31/07/2014 22:58 W0C/SP-053 14MHz SSB K0LAF
31/07/2014 23:00 W0C/SP-053 14MHz SSB KK6IJN
31/07/2014 23:01 W0C/SP-053 14MHz SSB AE9F
Next I went over to where the Goat Herd was staying and the next morning, headed up Kaufman Ridge North:
It was literally right out the back door of the house the Goat Herd was staying at:
Apparently there was an old jeep trail I could have taken, but I didn’t know so I bushwacked up this:
About to setup my antenna:
It was a little slippery in some spots on the way down.. you can’t tell how steep this is, but it was steep:
I had more S2S on this than regular chasers!
Here’s my log:
2/8/14 17:18 W0C/SP-085 144MHz FM K7SO
2/8/14 17:19 W0C/SP-085 144MHz FM NM5S
2/8/14 17:21 W0C/SP-085 144MHz FM KC5HZQ
2/8/14 17:24 W0C/SP-085 144MHz FM WS0TA
2/8/14 17:25 W0C/SP-085 144MHz FM NS0TA
2/8/14 17:32 W0C/SP-085 144MHz FM N0BCB
2/8/14 17:54 W0C/SP-085 28MHz SSB KA5QQA
2/8/14 18:22 W0C/SP-085 7MHz SSB N5XL
Next, I headed to Albuquerque to hike Sandia Peak North on 14er day.. yes, I know it’s not 14k feet, but I had to start heading home and wanted to get this one in the logbook since I wasn’t physically up to doing Wheeler Peak (my original plan).
I hiked to the Kiwanis Cabin:
Panorama from the cabin:
If you’re afraid of heights, you won’t like it here:
Here’s my log:
3/8/14 16:28 W5N/SI-001 144MHz FM KD5ZZK
3/8/14 16:47 W5N/SI-001 7MHz SSB WB5USB
3/8/14 16:49 W5N/SI-001 7MHz SSB WA7JTM
3/8/14 17:09 W5N/SI-001 14MHz SSB NS7P
3/8/14 17:10 W5N/SI-001 14MHz SSB W7QQ
3/8/14 17:14 W5N/SI-001 14MHz SSB K7NIT
3/8/14 17:18 W5N/SI-001 14MHz SSB KF7JQV
3/8/14 17:19 W5N/SI-001 14MHz SSB K7NEW
3/8/14 17:34 W5N/SI-001 14MHz SSB W4ZV
Went to eat with Mike, KE5AKL afterward!
He’s a double mountain goat! Over 2000 activator points, wow!
After this, I headed home.. My SOTA addiction supplier tried to get me to activate a summit on the way home but I couldn’t get past a washed out part of the road and turned around.
AWESOME vacation! Thanks to all the chasers, the Mountain Goats, the volunteer organisation (I think that’s how they spell it in the homelands of SOTA) and NA volunteer Assoc. Managers, and special thanks to Andrew KD5ZZK, the southern mountain goat/rand mcnally of SOTA that helps me plan out routes and summits all the time.
I took the North path to Panama City beach on the way to Florida so I could activate the solitary Mississippi summit, so I took the South route back so I could get another summit in on the way home. Join the yahoo group nasota if you want to get the gist of what SOTA is all about. Here’s the email I sent to the nasota group about this activation:
My return trip from a family vacation to Florida allowed me to follow
a route that wasn’t too far out of the way :D and I was able to
activate Newton County High Point, one of the new summits in the North
Texas region. It had been activated for the first time a few weeks
ago by Andrew, KD5ZZK, while he was on his way from Baton Rouge to the
Dallas area for HamCom. I was able to work him on that activation so
I really wanted to get an activation so I could get a SOTA complete.
I was disappointed to find cell coverage spotty at best on the summit.
I was able to get a txt through to Andrew (but no spots with SOTA
goat) after a good bit of calling CQ SOTA with no luck on 7.190 SSB or
on 30m CW.
I think my spot may have finally got out via Andrew because I heard
Charlie, K0LAF just above the noise. Woohoo! one in the logbook, 3 to
I heard Andrew pretty well but he was really struggling to hear me..
for anyone listening in, I ran through a bunch of different ways to
say 55 and he got it… asked me if I could QSL and I did, but then I
said O V E R… and he though I changed it to 44… OH NO!!!! back to
the drawing board haha.. quit saying over, just give the report, I
tell myself… so I get it through and boom! 2 in the log!!!
Then out of the blue I get a 22 report from someone but never heard a
callsign. I couldn’t get them to hear me so I stuck around for a
while but couldn’t seem to locate the caller or anyone else.
Man, not being able to spot yourself really sucks! I just checked the
reverse beacon network and they never heard me on 30m so cw wasn’t
saving me… back to locate the AT&T moving target of a signal sweet
spot. I didn’t have data but I got a call through to Andrew with my
20m freq - which he tuned in and heard some bad juju (QRM?) and
suggested a new freq… granted this was after I was able to send a
successful spot for 14.325 and started calling CQ until some LID
decided to ask if the freq was in use on top of me… At first I
thought, hey, here’s contact number 3! but he could not hear me or
didn’t want to hear me. As loud as he was, I should have a good
signal to him but oh well.. the life of a QRP’er.
It took a few min for the waves of Andrew’s spot to reach the shore of
some radios but I did get a few calls coming in at once which was a
W7RV had a nice signal, as usual, to kick of the 20m contacts. Then
Mark, WG8Y in NC had a nice signal.
Yea! 4 in the log!
But I did get a couple more after that… W4VIG, Dennis in VA. I
believe this is my first contact with him.
Next was Phil, NS7P, most likely hitting me through his cubic quad?
Nice signal… at this point I’m ready to packup since my wife and
kids are waiting for me in the car.
Side note: I could have had 2 contacts with my wife and son on 6m+
since they are both Tech’s but they don’t really care about SOTA so
they are my backup plan.. luckily Andrew’s spots for me pushed me over
After Phil, I heard a nice signal from W4RK but he just could not hear
me reply… Oh well, that’s the way the ether flows sometimes. I
Thanks to all the chasers and especially the goat trailblazer
extraordinaire AKA Andrew.. kd5zzk
My wife asked me… “so now that you have these two” (the Mississippi
summit and this new NT summit) “are you going to just activate new
summits or redo some of the one’s you’ve done?” my answer? BOTH!
Wherever points are I’m going to activate them.
It was really hot… mid 90s and full sun. I was sweating a lot and
found a place in the pine trees, in the shade, but it was still very
HOT. I’m using Fred’s KX3 heatsink now that the summer heat is in
full effect. http://www.ve7fmn.ca/
My wife is the photographer but I really like the pic of my KX3
sitting in the pine needles.
Traffic was light around Dallas but the concrete jungle they are making out of 635 is downright scary to navigate. Huge canyons and sheer drops from easily mistaken for offramp, work access roads.
Made great time to Longview where really great and varied animal jerky and super clean bathrooms are. Look for Texas Best BBQ on the East Side, North by one block off of I-20.
We stopped in Vicksburg to eat and my Yelp review was a little harsh on the 50 min wait after being seated but the club sandwich was good and the fried pickles were great. Still, didn’t want that long of a stop.
The drive North, toward the summit, seemed a lot slower… Because it wasn’t at 80mph?
The further north we drove, the larger and darker the clouds got. Rain poured, don’t ever use the bathroom at the pool hall in Kosciusco but the attached gas station sells ethanol free gas out of an old pump that has no credit card swiper on it.
I followed Andrew’s and google maps directions to the no trespassing sign. It was POURING and lightening. I waited till a break in the storm to head up.
I called Andrew to get some more clarity on where to find the overgrown trail and then headed up through the soaked woods.
After I got to the nice trail near the top, I dropped a water bottle as a marker for when I came back.
On the summit there is a green meadow and nice tall pines.
I threw my end fed over a high branch and made an inverted vee/L
Thunder cracked all around me but I felt like 4 contacts would be quick and fairly safe surrounded by all these tall wet trees. Yea yea I know but I did it.
I left my car radio set to 50.125 so ke5ytz and ke5yua could give me 2 contacts. That was quick!
Andrew was nice and clear in the FD noise but no one followed him so I tried moving through 12/17 and was about to spot 20cw when Andrew txt me that he had called the calvery on 40m so I moved back to 7.222 and W4RK was there to save the activation and let me lower the lightning rod/antenna.
I took a wrong turn about 25yds after my water bottle marker. Trails just appear sometimes! So I backtracked, took a note from Fred (both of them) and used my compass.
Quickly made it to the car (90min round trip) and off we go.
I had a great time even with the rain and I didn’t want Andrew to be the only one to bag this unique summit.
I had a great Father’s day weekend. Friday, June 13th is the first day of HamCom in Plano and I was able to head a couple of miles North of my office for lunch and just make the end of a SOTA presentation by W5SMD.
A few people there seemed to know who I was even though I didn’t know who they were. That’s the great thing about ham radio and ham conventions, you get to meet new people that share the same interests as you.
I ran into W0MNA and W0ERI, which was the main reason for me running there for lunch. I didn’t get past the first row of vendors in the main floor but I did get to talk to Gordon West. I told him one of my SOTA videos had been shown on Ham Nation and he encouraged me to make more and submit them. I also ran into Mike, KG5BDC and his coworker that’s a ham.
I also got to talk to Eric, one of the owners of Elecraft, the makers of my KX3 radio. He really liked hearing about my AnyVolt3 DC-DC regulator. He also seemed interested in my MTR2 by Steve Weber. When I came back the next day, I brought my MTRv2 so he could see it. I took a look at the new KX3 Panadapter. I think it looks nice but I just don’t think the screen is large enough to be useful. I’d rather do the almost free pi based panadapter (I already own a pi so I would just need a bit of hardware)
At one point I got a text from Andrew, KD5ZZK, as he had just activated
That Friday evening, I picked up a bunch of BBQ from Treadway’s BBQ, a little BBQ shack in a little portable building in a cow pasture. W0ERI/MNA came over for dinner and we had a great time. Later that night, Andrew, KD5ZZK and his two kids came over.
Saturday didn’t start too early. I made my not so famous but filling (and large) breakfast burritos then we all piled into my SOTA mobile and headed to Plano, TX for HamCom.
The goat man, Steve WG0AT was at the BuddiPole booth and it’s always nice to see him. I ran into Stewart, AF5EZ who you may have seen my video of his first SOTA activation: video
I also ran into John, KG5BCW who I kinda got into ham radio. He’ll do a SOTA summit with me sometime this year :D
You have to buy something at a hamfest right? I got one of the Army surplus tent poles AKA portable antenna mast.
It starts to wind down pretty soon after lunchtime so we headed to Southfork ranch so Andrew could get a pic in front of it to make his boss jealous. (she loves the new Dallas series and probably the old one too)
Back to my house we all went for some leftover BBQ and then headed to the Wichita Wildlife Refuge in Lawton for an evening of SOTA.
Andrew, Martha and Gary headed up Scott Mount and I headed up Mount Cummins since I had already done Scott Mount this year.
Mt Cummins is a drive up summit just East of Mt Scott. It has a big tower on the top of it that you can park by and then either activate from the parking lot or do like I do and hike up to the nice big boulders near the actual summit that provide some protection from the wind. The wind farms nearby aren’t there because it’s calm air here.
I used my new 20’ crappie fishing pole as my antenna support. flickr
I got 3 S2S contacts (summit to summit) on vhf and uhf since my buddies were literally about a half mile as the crow flies away from me, I probably could have used a mirror and done CW over sunlight wavelength QSOs with them. I don’t think that band is in sotadata.org.uk though :)
I knew this weekend was the ARRL VHF contest weekend, so I put in 6m and tuned around. I heard a call from Mexico but he didn’t reply to me so I kept tuning around and found a guy calling CQ. I haven’t ever made a 6m contact before and apparently it was a happy band that day because I talked to a guy in California:
00:23z W0MNA 144MHz FM
00:24z KD5ZZK 144MHz FM
00:28z W0ERI 144MHz FM
00:31z W0MNA 433MHz FM
00:32z W0ERI 433MHz FM
00:44z NI6E 50MHz SSB Newport Beach, CA
Then we headed to the Doris campground. Andrew brought his offroad capable popup camping trailer. I had a very comfortable full size bed to sleep in:
I now know to bring some backup food with me when I go camping! We missed going to Meers for a hamburger but luckily I brought a big protein bar that I never at from the Spartan Beast Race I did last year.
We spend a few hours having a GREAT time telling each other puzzles and riddles. We eventually got to sleep, curled up with the sub zero feeling AC that REALLY kept us cool through the hot Oklahoma night.
Andrew got up with the sun and in short order we were headed to Elk Mountain. On the way out of the campground, I saw Gary and Martha pulling in, we all headed to the parking lot and got ready.
I hadn’t eaten and usually bring more bars or snacks but I had forgotten to pack that but luckily Gary helped me out with a really good peanut bar.
I had hiked Elk Mtn earlier in the year and wanted to attempt 2255. I headed that direction and the trail was really nice.
Here you can see the crab eyes on the back of Elk Mtn:
A little bit of class 2 action:
I was supposed to get off the trail and head off through the brush, but I just stayed on the trail and ended up between Elk Mtn and Twin Peaks. I would have headed up Twin Peaks, but that canyon is definitely not the place to go up unless you know how to scale vertical rock. I don’t so I just considered it a good day hiking.
The view at the end of the formal trail is pretty nice:
I went back to my SOTAmobile and chased the 3 radio-operateers.
I shot some video so you can hear how it sounded from the base of the mountain. You can tell from the signal reports how much better reception is on top of a mountain vs using a Little Tarheel II antenna at the bottom of the same mountain. Youtube
Here’s some audio of some more of the activation that was going on up the trail: Here
After it got pretty warm, the summit team packed up and headed down. We all went to the campsite and were treated to a really tasty lunch cooked up by Andrew. We sat, ate, and chatted. What a great way to spend a weekend. SOTA wasn’t over though. I was requested to activate Scott Mtn again to allow for SOTA completes all the way around. After I left, they all headed to Mt Cummins so they could get another activation in and another SOTA complete. I didn’t fire up HF for Scott Mtn, just the HT as it was Father’s Day and I had a wife and daughter with something planned for me when I returned.
3 hours later, I got home and now I have some really nice photos at my desk:
Thanks to all the chasers but thanks especially to Andrew, Gary, and Martha for the great weekend of SOTA.
Fortune Bend Rd is the way to get there, with ‘there’ being a locked gate! I did see a suburban coming down the road that leads to the locked gate and stopped the guy to see if I could get access. He said the only people with access are the gas well company, the owner. I asked if he had access and he said he did with a hunting lease he had. He was very clam shell about it and I asked a few different ways if he knew who I could contact for access and he ‘didn’t know’.
I talked to him about SOTA and he could tell I was really excited.. he tried to tell me about some of the other local summits so I showed him my SOTAgoat app and explained a little about what it takes to qualify a summit.
He asked how long I stay on the top… I told him about an hour or two. I asked him about roads and trails and he REALLY knows that land. He said a 4x4 could make it to the summit.
I asked him if I could give him my card and if he ever comes back out and wouldn’t mind me meeting him, I’d love to tag along to get on the summit and get it activated. He ‘seemed’ amenable to that and took my card so here’s to hoping I get a call from a guy named Brian about meeting out at Possum Kingdom Lake.
I next went to check out W5T/NT-035 - Crawford Mountain. It appears to be inside 101 Ranch PH: 940-659-4213 on Mercer Rd. I called and left a message and moved on to a summit I knew I had access to.
I headed to Johnson Peak, which I already activated this year so it was purely for me to get some hiking in and some points from a new summit and a new region handed out to some chasers. I also got to practice my CW ears which really need some help! Can I get an amen W0MNA? How long did it take me to figure out your call sign! sorry buddy. I did expect W0ERI afterward so that went really quick. You definitely took my QRS QRS to heart! That helped but I still was scratching my head due to my lack of practice… Sorry but thanks for working with me.
Notice I have Fred Meier’s KX3 heatsink on. I’m trying it out and it is a nice addition to my KX3. I worked 12w the whole time and it was in the 90s on the summit, I like that it lets me tx full power without shutting down due to heat. It will get a chance to work through some real heat when I take it to Oklahoma for the SOTA rendezvous after hamcom.org in Plano, TX.
I wanted to get some points this past weekend, so that meant a trip to Oklahoma.
I texted my SOTA goat buddy Andrew, KD5ZZK, If you don’t know what a SOTA goat is, it means he’s activated over 1000 points worth of mountains. With the max points being 10 per summit, that’s a LOT of summits.
He got much of those points in OK, so I knew he could help me plan out a quick Saturday expedition.
What I ended up going for was not so much points, but planting the SOTA flag for the first time on 3 summits.
KI-012 took about 3.5hrs to drive to from my house. It is on a dirt road that is fairly well maintained, although there were some big water holes that I had to drive around from a recent rain near the summit. Any car should be able to make it up this road if taken slowly.
Once you make the right hand turn to the summit road, you are in the activation zone. I drove a ways at a gentle uphill slope until I found a place I could turn around and then packed up and headed up a bit more till I got to a water pool covering the road and threw my end fed wire into a tree on the side of the road.
There are some roaming cattle on this land, so watch out for them when you are driving. They don’t seem to give right of way very easily if they’re busy chewing something. By the way, ATT service was spotty but most of the time it would eventually get Edge service and I could post a spot.
Next I headed to Flagpole Lookout. Cell coverage here and in the town of Clayton was spotty to non-existant. I don’t have any photos, it is a similar dirt road to the previous one. Any car can make it up this road, slowly.
I did have an issue here. For the first time every, my orange lead weight arborist throw bag got stuck. I mean, this thing was seriously wedged up in a pine tree. I couldn’t get it down no matter what I did and eventually had to unscrew the other end from my UNUN, tie it to the latch on the back floor of my CX5 and drove till it pulled free. That was a BIG BUMMER. Now I don’t have a good way to throw my antenna into a tree. I’ll need to buy another one soon. Here’s a list of some: Throw bags
Unfortunately I didn’t get started before the new date or I could have doubled some chaser’s points.
Here is my log:
Time Callsign Band Mode Notes
00:11 W7RV 7MHz SSB
00:14 WN1E 14MHz SSB
00:15 NS7P 14MHz SSB
00:17 W7RV 14MHz SSB
00:19 N4EX 14MHz SSB
00:20 NE4TN 14MHz SSB
00:21 N0TVE 14MHz SSB
00:22 WG8Y 14MHz SSB
00:23 VE2JCW 14MHz SSB
00:26 KU6J 24MHz SSB 10 over 59 signal!!! best ever
00:32 KD5ZZK 7MHz SSB
00:40 KJ6MBW 21MHz CW
I had an issue on this summit that might be interesting to others… I was looking for a clear slice of frequency and ended up in Extra land. It’s not a problem for me since I have an Extra Class license, but many chasers do not. When finding a spot to land on, it helps if you keep to the general portion of the band. It also helps if everyone studies for their Extra so they don’t have to worry about that! haha
Now for the last one, W5O/KI-017
I headed for this summit by going south of Clayton on 271 to 9 Pine Rd and heading north until turning right onto Clayton Trail.
It starts out the first few hundred yards as a nice dirt road, but slowly gets worse and worse. As I started in, I saw a HUGE beautiful buck jump across the road in front of me. I continued on the fairly steep road wondering if I could make it all the way up. Here is an idea of some of the road ‘bumps’:
Supposedly there is a turn off that is a more direct route to the summit but I would want a 4 wheeler or a lifted Jeep to attempt that route.
If you look at a satellite map of the ‘road’ there is a switchback that will take you to the summit. After multiple stops to manually haul large rocks and small boulders out of the road, I made it to that switchback. I have to say that I was puckering a LOT on this road up until now and would have turned around and gone home if there was space.. but I kept crossing streams and rocks and blind humps until I made it to the switchback.
From here, it was truly 4x4 territory and I did my best to turn my vehicle around (it was past 11pm local at this point), pack my gear and start hiking up.
I kept my phone out to check the altimeter app and as soon as I was in the Activation Zone, I started to unpack. It was a steep climb and the side of the road were steep as well. I ended up scampering up the side a bit to lay my end fed wire in some tree branches about 3 feet off of the ground to try and get my signal out.
Cell coverage was spotty but I was able to txt Andrew for my first contact. The remainder of the activation was very grueling as the moon hadn’t risen yet, it was getting cold, and I was in a sweaty tshirt and shorts. My flashlight and the glow from my KX3 display were all that I could see with and I just kept trying to drum up some contacts so I could get points for all the work to get on the summit.
I could hear stations from Russian and Cypress at S9 levels but I couldn’t get through to anyone. I was trying any means of getting 2 more QSOs and Andrew was working his contacts via txt msg to drum up some chasers as well. Luckily, he was able to get through and I got Phil, ns7p then almost an hour later, I got KG3W Scott and W5RST Mike, a local to OK. Here’s my log:
Time Call Band Mode
02:45z KD5ZZK 7MHz SSB
02:50z NS7P 7MHz SSB
03:26z KG3W 10MHz CW
03:34z W5RST 10MHz CW
I packed up and headed back down. I was pretty tired but was able to chat with Andrew who was working a night shift and that helped but I did jump 3 times on the ride home as I was startled from almost falling asleep while driving. I got home just before 3am. I pushed my luck a little on this trip and got out ok, but I won’t be doing a midnight drive home by myself again. I should have just packed to camp in the car and then I could have done a couple more summits the next morning before heading home.
Thank you chasers for helping me activate and get points for these 3 new summits and again, thanks to Andrew for helping me plan this trip out on short notice…He and I tend to do these kinds of trips. Some people call us crazy/addicted/etc… Oh well, it’s fun!
If you are new or old to HF, you know how hard it is to break through a pileup to a unique station sometimes. Trying from a QRP rig is even harder and you just can’t compete with some of the big stations that put out 500w or more into a log periodic or yagi antenna.
Well, if you want to find someone to contact and get some sota points along the way, go to sotawatch.org and look at the spots. I don’t do that while I’m driving but I do have an HF rig in my car (and IC-706mkii with a little tarheel II antenna) and I use the SOTAgoat app on my iPhone. That app will alert you when someone posts a spot, and today, on the way home, I got an alert that Mike, KD5KC was on W5N/SI-022. I tried his first spot on 30m and didn’t hear him. A little later he moved to 21.063MHz which is the 15m band. I crossed an overpass and he got fairly strong but I wasn’t going to stop on an overpass. I was almost home but heard him calling CQ SOTA so I pulled over, turned the car off for the minimum RFI and waited until he finished his CQ SOTA call.
I haven’t been able to use my TE-NE-KE with my mobile for perhalps a wiring issue that doesn’t affect my KX3 but somehow doesn’t work with my Icom… so I have to use the hand mike to send CW.
If you don’t know how that works, you just use the up/down buttons while holding the PTT to send via the Iambic keyer. Up is dit and Down is dah or vice versa.
I sent my call, Mike sent CQ SOTA again. I sent my call, I got back a R R (which means Received! Received!) and he sent my call with a UR 57N which translates to 579. I sent him a R R then sent him his report.
Mike is my favorite CW contact because each time it reminds me that my first CW contact was with him and it was a summit to summit. Now I’m chasing people and activating summits on CW. If you are thinking about learning CW/Morse Code.. Please do!!! it’s really neat to learn a new language that opens up a whole new world to you.
And my SOTAgoat screenshot showing the post by Mike. Notice I am a little off of his freqency. When responding to someone, it is good to be off by a few Hz so you sound different than the calling station to others and it helps you stand out in a pileup. Changing freq changes the pitch of your signal on the other end.
I had a Living Social coupon for a night at Lakeview Lodge in Beaver’s Bend State Park, OK that my wife said we should use for Mother’s Day.
There is a SOTA summit or 3 in that area so I was pretty excited to go. I planned to stop in Paris, TX at Main Trading Company, http://mtcradio.com
But somewhere along the way I thought they closed at 3pm on Saturday, not 1pm. Luckily, the owner was still there and let me in, thanks Richard! but I didn’t want to just browse and hold him up so I talked quick and ended up getting a dual band vhf/uhf antenna and mount for my SOTA-mobile.
We found our way to the lodge, put our things away and headed toward the first summit - yes, my wife was going with me but mostly to stay in the car and read her book.
I’m really glad I got an AWD car as the dirt forestry road had some mud spots and some high angles on scree covered areas that a 2wd might not fare so well.
Here is what the roads look like:
For East High Peak W5O/WO-009 1pt,
I tried access by going North from the Lakeview Lodge on 259 and then turning right onto 51810 which is a dirt forestry service road. The road parallels the summit and is in the correct altitude to be in the activation zone if there were not hollow between the road and the summit. This was the bad news. There was a wall of thick vegetation with a LOT of poison oak and a fairly steep climb up the other side of the hollow, I didn’t want to get itchy or attempt the bushwhack so I headed back to the main road and passed a beautiful trout stream:
Carter Mountain W5O/WO-008 2pts.
There is no sign for the turn-off, but you can see the watch tower and the antenna tower further to the West as you approach the summit on 259.
There was a gate, so I parked and headed up the road:
Here is the first radio tower you come to. It is in the activation zone:
Why not go a little further and get to the actual summit?
The buzzards kept circling… I tried not to take that as a sign!
I worried if I could go past here, but it is open for access:
I had no luck on 40m SSB so I moved to 12M and got 1 contact. I decided to move to CW and started getting some contacts. Here’s my log:
I’ve come to find that I probably have people chase me on CW just to get a good laugh… know that I’m laughing on the summit sometimes too! Like when I was getting WG8Y calling me and I kept sending him back WG3Y? and he’d patiently send back WG3Y until it clicked and I realized what I was doing and then sent his correct call ? and I got back R R R and I’m sure he was laughing as was I!!!
I was supposed to get a 6m contact with my wife back at the car, but I found out after I got back, that the radio and antenna controller were going crazy trying to constantly re-tune, which is the really bad news… My wife said it was worse than water torture because she didn’t want to mess up my radio by turning the power off or doing anything to it. This was the ‘more bad news’.
Here’s a view from inside the Lakeview Lodge:
I will be going back for some more summits in the area. I also want to catch some of the trout I hear they have around there.
Here’s my reverse beacon network data:
de dx freq cq/dx snr speed time
AA4VV KC5CW 14046.1 CW CQ 22 dB 12 wpm 2353z 10 May
W3OA KC5CW 14046.1 CW CQ 15 dB 12 wpm 2353z 10 May
W8WWV KC5CW 14046.2 CW CQ 19 dB 12 wpm 2353z 10 May
I tried calling cq on a few bands with SSB but didn’t get any bites except the one on 12m. I’m glad I have CW in my toolbag, even though it is quite a mental workout still. I do enjoy it and it makes me want to practice more so I get better.