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.
I met Andrew through the nasota Yahoo group and through Mike KD5KC. Andrew did a summit report where he called North Franklin Mountain in El Paso - Mt Mordor. Sounded like fun so I flew to El Paso and climbed it myself http://kc5cw.tumblr.com/post/60874516452/sota-trip-to-el-paso-n-franklin-mountain
Back to the subject at hand…
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.
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:
Here’s my log:
Date:15/Jun/2014 Summit:W5O/WI-031 (Cummins, Mount) Call Used:KC5CW Points: 4 Bonus: 0
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.
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.