Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Pikes Peak with Gary, W0MNA and Martha, W0ERI

Gary, W0MNA and Martha, W0ERI manage to get through Colorado Springs about once a year and when they do we usually get together for fellowship and a SOTA activation.

Lynn is off for school break and I was looking for a reason to burn up some leave time so we decided to take Martha and Gary up Pikes Peak.

The weather was about as good as it gets. 55 to 60 degrees, slight breeze, plenty of sun and no threat of an electrical storm.

Gary deploying the antenna

Martha makes sure Gary does it right

View from our shack

Lynn, KC0YQF

Gary fixing a switch

Martha running the pileup

The crew

Gary had an End Fed antenna that he supported with two 16 foot painters poles. It worked very well. There was enough snow left that we could just jam them into a snow bank or wedge them between a few rocks. With hardly any wind it was a no brainer.

Martha and Gary have a good system when activating. They each work the chaser in tandem by using an interconnected headphone/microphone combination. This works pretty good and I think they have perfected this technique.


Gary and Martha redefine teamwork

End Fed support with two poles up 14,131 feet!

Gary logging QSOs

Martha is also very efficient!

Team Kansas

While Gary and Martha was on HF Lynn tried 2 meters but no takers. I also tried 2 meters with no results. After Gary and Martha finished with 20, 40 and 10 meters Lynn took over on 20 meter SSB. The QSB was pretty deep at times but Lynn managed a few QSOs. Thanks Chasers for hanging in there to work Lynn:

AE9F
N0EVH
NE4TN
NG6R
W7USA
AE4FZ
WA2USA
KW6JIM
AA7BK
W7CNL
K6KNS


Better half of Team Colorado

Lynn's KX3


After Lynn and I took a stab at 20 meter CW real quick and Scotty, KG3W was waiting for me (thanks Scotty):

KG3W
NA6MG
W7RV
KB7HH
N7WM
W5ODS
N4EX
W7USA
WA2USA
NU7Y
NG6R
KH2TJ
K6EL Summit to Summit (Thanks El)
N0EVH
WB5USB
K6TUY

N5GW? (not sure what I wrote on this call and did not have my audio recorder with me) may be NS6?? or something similar. I blame the altitude.

NE4TN
WA6KYR
AE9F

Gary and Martha next tot he COG Railway Car

Lynn living on the edge


On the way down this fellowed stopped to ask about Peanut and Boo. Apparently he is a big fan!

A fan of Boo and Peanut
It had been a long time since Gary and Martha had been up Pikes Peak so I am glad they wanted to go. It is not my favorite due to the crowds and the fact that you can drive up but I could not have asked for a more perfect day and company. There are a few other summits near by but we will save them for their next visit.

Thanks Chasers and thanks Martha and Gary for the fun time and fellowship!

72
Frank
K0JQZ

Monday, June 22, 2015

Ormes Peak 21 June 2015

First things first. If you have never sent Lynn a QSL card she would like to request that you send her one if you had a QSO. She is starting at a new school next year as a special education teacher and plans to display some QSL cards in her classroom and hopefully will be able to demonstrate ham radio  to the kids. Lynn will always return QSL, no need for a SASE. I think most hams will agree that QSL cards have a unique way of kicking starting the imagination of young minds. Imagine a classroom with your QSL card on the wall and Lynn being able to tell the story about how she climbed a mountain and talked to you via ham radio.

Ormes Peak is named after Manley Ormes. Manley Ormes was the father of Robert Ormes, co-author of the Pikes Peak atlas.

Robert Ormes is synonymous with the Colorado Rockies. He was an English teacher at the Fountain Valley School and later as an English Professor at Colorado College, Ormes is most widely known for his contributions to "A Guide to the Colorado Mountains", which was the earliest guidebook to the Colorado Rockies first published in 1959. Ormes was also a member of the famous Pikes Peak  AdAmAn Club.


Lynn wanted to get one more summit in before her trip to WI. I was not sure if we would be able to get access to Ormes Peak due to most of the area still being off limits from the Waldo Canyon fire a few years ago.



Burn Area

Pikes Peak from Rampart Range Road

KC0YQF



Parking sign

Nature coming back
If fact, while driving on Rampart Range Road, there were several signs indicating that access to the National Forest was closed and you could only park in designated areas. I told Lynn that this might be a drive in the woods with no activation. As we passed the Boyscout Camp there were signs stated that people could harvest fire wood out of this area.

The road that goes around Ormes had a sign that said "Road Closed." The rains had washed out part of the road. People had put dead trees and had driven around the washout but I did not want to do that (although the Jeep could handle it). I decided to back track to the last approved parking area making sure to give plenty of space to other vehicles in case someone wanted to harvest some of the dead wood. We headed off on foot. Up down all the way until we got to the base of the mountain.

Ormes Peak in the distance

Our Route
Elevation Profile

At the start of the ascent I choose a wash out until I saw a game trail and in fact I saw some game on the trail. A few deer walked past us without giving us much attention. I also took note of some big cat tracks about as well. Lynn and I maneuvered to the East side of the rocks and found a path up to the summit. There was a nice breeze on the summit but it was pretty buggy.

I decided to setup the recorder (recently fixed) and the gopro to get some footage but when I returned home I discovered the gopro has a bad SD card. At least that is what I think it is. I had almost an hour of footage that is now lost. No matter. I did get a lot of pictures.


Lynn on the summit
Lynn, KC0YQF taking a break

View from our radio shack

End Fed going into tree

Other end of the End Fed support

KC0YQF running the 20 meter SSB pileup


View towards Colorado Springs

Marker
APRS Beacon

FR 302
Google Earth View of our GPS Track


K0JQZ on CW

We drank plenty of water (3 liters) and a quart of gateraide. It seemed to help. I really do not care for gateraide and plan to find something else in the future. I think we should have had one more liter of water. The temps were around 85 degrees so not as bad as the 100 degrees in Fountain but with no wind and in the sun it was brutal.

Lynn 20 meter SSB Log:
K6CEL
VA6FUN
WA9STI
W7RV
N4EX
W0ERI
W0MNA
AE9F
K7ODX
K7WYV
WA6KYR
N6GR
AE7AP
WG0AT
KH2TJ 

My 10 and 15 meter log:
W0MNA
W0ERI
NG6R
K7ANT
WG0AT
N5XL
K7TNX
KG3W
K4MF
VE2JCW
K6TUY
W7USA
NF1R
W4DOW 

The rig was Lynn's Elecraft KX3 at 5 watts and an End Fed antenna based on the Hawaii Emergency Amateur Radio Club's design. (9 to 1 Balun with about 30 feet of wire). 

This is an easy 4 pointer that has some great views. It is not as easy as driving up Pikes Peak but it offers a little bit of the Colorado mountains close to the city. It might be a good candidate for a visiting SOTA Activator. 

72
Frank
K0JQZ

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Cheyenne Mountain 19 June 2015

This is the second time Steve and I have been up this summit this year. It seems like we do it twice a year for some reason and it is a tough one.

This time we had my former boss along, Lt Col Dave "soon to be retired" Farmer, Lynn, KC0YQF, an another co-worker, Capt Mark Muller, USAF.

We met for breakfast and got an early start. There is just no easy way to summit Cheyenne Mountain so we took the direct approach. Steve, wG0AT, expertly navigated his way, with us in tow, to the summit. It took us just over two hours to summit. That is 2 hours, 1.5 miles and about 1800 foot elevation gain. Steep was the word of the day.



Our track is light gray

another view from google earth

Regardless of the steep terrain we made it and was able to 1. activate Cheyenne Mountain for Summits On The Air and 2. fly Dave's retirement flag over the summit and the place where Dave began his operational Air Force Career, CMOC or Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center.

Dave's retirement flag
Folding
Steep hike
Mark goofing off
wG0AT and KC0YQF taking a break
Marker
Lynn, getting naked!
Panoramic view from the true summit of Cheyenne Mountain

Lynn's chasers on 20 meter SSB were as follows:
NE4TN
W7RV
W7CNL
NG6R
N6JZT
AE9F
W4KRN
W0MNA
M0ERI
K0LAF
N8DEA
KG3W

My Chasers on 30 Meter CW:
KG3W
WB5USB
W0MNA
KB7HH
W0ERI
K6TUY
NG6R
K0LAF
NA6MG
W7YAQ
NX1P

I am still learning how to use Garmin Basecamp and Google Earth. I would not exactly call Google Earth "user friendly" but it is much easier than Garmin Basecamp which I call "user brutal."


The bad news is I got very sick after this hike. I am pretty sure I was dehydrated but I was drinking a lot of water. Obviously, not enough! Next time I will try a sports drink of some type. I was sweating very badly and think I just could not replenish the fluids in time. Last night when I was trying to feel better I started thinking that this may be my last SOTA hike and if I keep getting sick like this I will not be doing SOTA activations any more. Hopefully a sports drink and keeping better track of my water intake will help.

72
Frank
K0JQZ