Friday, August 28, 2015

Aspen Ridge, Summits On The Air

Between work and SOTA activations on the weekends I have not had a lot of time to make bog entries much less do any videos.

Lynn and I did Aspen Ridge last weekend. Normally we would do two summits because it is a long drive but we did not want to get home too late. We were here a few weeks ago but I started to feel bad about half way up and rather than chance it we pulled the plug and headed home.

The smoke from the CA fires really clouded the views. The Rockies looked more like the Smokies.

Aspen Ridge is a very nice summit with little effort. The TH we normally park at had a sign that it was "Administrative Use Only." I am not sure if that sign had been there before but I decided to park across the road.

I am not sure what "Administrative Use Only" really means.

The summit registry has a few SOTA people listed.
Lynn and I with friend Nick


My SOTA/Ham Radio card (I put three in there and only one is left)

Lynn listening to the CW pileup
Our shack for the day
Lynn making her way back to the Jeep
It was a good activation. My battery died in the recorder so I did not get the audio of my last few QSOs. They are in the log. Lynn really did great with three Summit to Summits.


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The rest of the story.....

Here is a link to the article they local paper (Colorado Springs Gazette) did about Lynn and I and our activities with Ham Radio and Summits On The Air. LINK

You never know what will happen from a chance encounter. People have found jobs, spouses and lasting friendships through random or chance encounters.

When Lynn and I last activated Mount Rosa it was an overcast day during the week and there was a chance of rain and thunderstorms. We decided to go anyway and would turn back if needed.

Not soon after we arrived on the summit a young lady appeared. We did not have the radio setup yet and we were just enjoying the view. We asked her to take a few pictures of us which she did.

Lynn explained a little bit about Ham Radio and Summits On The Air while I dug out a SOTA/Ham Radio business card for her.


The business card has my email, our callsigns, URLs to this blog, my youtube channel, the ARRL and the SOTA website along with some short descriptions about ham radio and what we were doing.


I figured if this brought one person into the hobby then it is worth it.

After she left we activated the summit and headed home. About a week or two later I got a call from the young ladies husband, Lance Benzel, explaining how he is a reporter for a column called "Out There Colorado" for the Gazette and how he would like to interview Lynn and I.

From what I understand Lance and his wife were chatting after her hike and she handed him the card I gave her and Lance researched my blog a bit, saw the video and gave me a call because, as he put it - "my wife and I thought this was a very interesting hobby."

The interview was about an hour and a half and I thought the way he asked questions was real interesting and while he may had concentrated a little much on the points system and our placement among SOTA Activators he did manage yo capture the essence of our Ham Radio and Summits On The Air activity.

It was a pleasure talking to Lance, meeting his wife and doing the interview as it is always fun to talk about your passions to someone who is interested.

... and that my friends is the rest of the story.....


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Just a couple of pictures

I really have not had time to do anytime of meaningful blog entry so figured I would just post a few pictures. I am having camera issues but here are a few pictures from the last few SOTA activations we did.

Mount Pisgah

Lynn at the top

Frank on the summit of Pisgah
Lynn checking out the old cars

old cars controlling erosion

You used to be able to drive up to the summit of Pisgah

Chief and Squaw Mountain

Hiking up Chief Mountain

View of Chief from Squaw

Lynn hiking up Squaw road

Mount Evans
Echo Lake

Neat rock stack

Lynn's KX3

Lynn's log book


The View


Genesee Mountain


Monday, July 20, 2015

A memorable QSO with Kylee at ND0C

While doing a SOTA activation from Monarch Ridge South Lynn got a pleasant surprise when she was called by Kylee from the station of Randy, ND0C. We could hear Kylee better than she could hear us and Lynn was fading completely out at times on Kylee's end. If not for that I do not think Randy would have stepped in.

Here is a video of the QSO:

It really made our day! Thanks Kylee and Randy!


UPDATE: The final curtesy of a QSO is the QSL. I love it when someone takes the time to fill out a card for a QSO and put it in an envelope so it does not get damaged. I really love the fact that Hams are taking more of a personal approach to their card designs these days. 

Notice: QRP Station!!!

All the right info and readable

Love the note from Kylee!!!!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Gipsy Windcamp portable Dipole Antenna

I recently picked up a Gipsey Antenna from Windcamp. A good friend, W0MNA Gary, showed me one of these not too long ago. I was curious so found one on the Internet and picked it up here. I think it was around 70 dollars.

The antenna manual

This antenna is simple, a 1 to 1 balun and two wire winders with wire that are pre-marked and tuned for 40 through 10 meters.

What impressed me was the high quality of the product. The 1 to 1 balun and wire winders are machines very nicely. It is a little heavy at almost 1 pound (14 ozs) but I though if nothing else I would through it in the jeep along with the KX1 for that just in case moment.

The contents save the stow bag and small loop to support the center that is almost useless (I added the orange velcro and BNC adapter)

I did attach a velcro strap in order to have a way to support the center and also a pl-259 to BNC connector for the coax as that is what I had out at the time.

Close up

Color coded and easy to read. Idiot Proof!

Just unroll to the band you want (Red = 28 - 29 MHz)

Attach your support line to the hole on the other end of the winder

The feed end of the dipole

Attached to the 1 to 1 balun

I connected both ends of the dipole and hoisted it up to about 25 or 30 feet and used it in an inverted-vee configuration. No surprises and it works as advertised, just like any other dipole. I checked it on each band and it was broad enough for SSB and CW operations.

Although it is not an optimum SOTA antenna it can certainly be used very effectively anywhere there are trees to support it just like any other dipole. The only draw back may be that over time the wire connector may bend and break but it would be simple enough to just feed the wire into the hole on the post.

72 Frank