Sunday, September 27, 2015

Mount Sherman, finally, and Lynn's first 14er

This hike was epic for a couple of reasons:

1. Lynn's first 14er
2. My second attempt at this summit and my third 14er
3. Meeting Brad, WA6MM
4. Perfect Colorado Day

You really have to watch the weather when you try these high summits. The first attempt, my friend Dave and I made, found us weathering 50 MPH wind gust at the saddle with a wind chill to match, we turned back. Today however, the wind was light and warm.

We had to leave the house by 0400 which got us to the TH at first light. I was concerned because Lynn did not eat anything and she started having difficulties almost right away. She did bring some tea and that, with a couple of breaks and energy chews, had her going strong in no time. However I was very concerned at the beginning of this hike but was prepared to turn around if Lynn got worse.

Not far into our hike, Brad, WA6MM, came up behind us and we chatted a bit. He soon pushed on and I followed his progress visually. He made a quick ascent and activated the summit. By the time we showed up he was finished on HF and was calling on 2 meters.

Brad had a nice spot on the summit that we took over. It shielded us from the wind and was away from the main crowd. Thanks for the spot Brad!

As I setup our antenna Brad packed up and headed to Mount Sheridan. I had high hopes of doing both as well but knew that my energy level was dropping and was happy with the one high summit for the day.

I was ecstatic to have finished my 3rd 14er of the year and have Lynn with me on her first!

While summiting 14ers is a Colorado past time, I never thought I would get so much enjoyment out of it. My first, Pikes Peak, was just a few months ago. I think, of the three I have done, it was the most difficult but very rewarding. There are no easy 14ers. A good resource for hiking 14ers or 13ers in Colorado is HERE.

5.1 miles with 2111 feet ascent in just under 7 hours

GPS Track

Thanks chasers for listening for us and working us even though you may not have received any points after working Brad. I am really pleased to see the same callsigns work me that worked Lynn.

I really did not intend on making a video but had enough footage to put something together.



Sunday, September 20, 2015

Trachyte Knob W0C/FR-132, 20 Sep 2015

We had intended to do this mountain a few months ago when we camped at the Cripple Creek KOA at the base of Trachyte Knob but the weather did not want to cooperate.

We enjoyed staying there and with the new owners it is a very pleasant place. Today we pulled up and asked if we could 1. park the jeep at the KOA and 2. use the back gate to the KOA to access the trail.  I was willing to pay for a camp ground but that was not required. The owner, Tom, just said "go ahead!"

It is a short but near vertical in places. Once you hit the boulder field it gets tricky because some of  those boulders are loose.

Lynn blending in with the forest.

A horse trail goes around the mountain

perfect day


Lynn taking a break before the final boulder field

The KOA below

Another view of the KOA
I was remembering bits and pieces of this trail. I knew to not start the final ascent too soon due to a false summit and wanted to get around that to the boulder field. I was second guessing myself but came out exactly where I wanted. I saw a young lady and her dog make their way up and knew that I was in the right spot. Her puppy could not make it and she came to Lynn and I while her owner summited. Soon her owner came back into view and the puppy calmed down and they went on their way down while we went up the final 50 feet.

That last little bit looks massive
While I was stringing up the End Fed I heard WA6MM on a summit on VHF and chatted with him. Brad is out there every weekend climbing summits in the name of Summits On The Air.

I got Lynn set up and spotted and she worked all callers. Thanks chasers:

WA6MM Summit to Summit
W6AH Summit to Summit


Lynn working the pileup

When I got on, the bands just seemed to drop out. RBN never did pick me up. I tried 15, 20, 30 and 40 meters and was only able to make contact on 20 meters, save the QSO with Brad on 2 meters.

Thanks for those that heard me:

WA6MM Summit to Summit

K0JQZ trying to get a QSO
It was a perfect day on the summit. It was about 5o degrees and not much wind. I kept thinking that I should have attempted Mt Sherman today instead of last Friday but no complaints. Trachyte Knob is one of my favorite summits.


Hike Profile


Friday, September 18, 2015

Happy Birthday

To the United States Air Force that is. 68 Years!

An American Airman

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Sept 11 on Mount Bierstadt (14,060 feet) W0C/PR-015

I took Friday off in an effort to burn up some overtime and a group of us decided to hike Mount Bierstadt. Our group quickly became two people with everyone else dropping out for various reasons.  Dave and I met at 0300 and headed to the TH. We arrived at 0545 and waited a few minutes for the sunlight to light the trail. When we hit the trail at 0600 it was a cool 30 degrees out.

I was glad I had my heavier jacket!

On the Trail
Paused a moment for a SELFIE!!
On Trail

K0JQZ making his way up
Time to eat and figure out why the FT1D is not beaconing 
If you read about this mountain and trail you will find out that you drop 200 feet or so in elevation at the beginning. That is really no big deal until your return trip.

Dave and I made our way up the mountain letting faster hikers around us. We made the 3.5 miles and  3,000 feet elevation gain in 4 hours. Not bad for a couple of retired guys!

Dave and Frank on the Summit

Busy summit
Looking toward Mount Evans
Pano shot
Once we took in the views Dave helped me get setup for 20 Meter CW. I promptly broke the end of my fishing pole because I had the wrong connector for the EF on the pole. I tried to rig it up and ended up putting too much weight on it, snap! I was able to rig it up without the tip and Dave helped me deploy the wire.

The radio is the Steve Weber Designed, K0JQZ built, Mountain Toppin Radio with 2 bands (20 and 30 Meters). I only had the 20 meter End Fed along so that was the band I was limited to.

Getting Setup
Fishing for some DX
Deploying the End Fed
MTR powered by 9 volt battery

View from my shack
Trying to get a few QSOs
Radio, battery, log book and iPhone (iPhone is my UTC Clock)
I was not spotted by RBN so I had to send a SMS Spot. I was a little worried that maybe the SMS function or the SOTAWatch web site was down, that has happened before.

Self Spot

The band was very quiet, so much so I thought there could also be a problem with propagation. I called CQ a few times and K6EL filled my headphones. At that point I knew I would not only be spotted but would get my QSOs for a successful activation. Just hearing a familiar callsign calling helps keep spirits up! Thanks Elliott!!!

In short order I worked the following stations with a radio I built in an Altoids Tin, power by a 9 volt battery, with 30 feet of wire and a matching network in a pill bottle, supported by a fishing pole.:

K6EL in California

AE4FZ in North Carolina

VE7OM In BC Canada

WA2USA in Illinois

NE4TN In Tennessee

K4MF in Florida

NG6R in California

NK6A  in California

K0FNR in Colorado

I was starting to chill down and no one else was answering my CQs so I packed up and we headed down the mountain. It took us 2 hours to get back to Dave's truck and I had a great feeling of accomplishment with my second 14er (1st was Pikes Peak from the Crags). Now I just need to get Dave licensed so he can join in on the fun!

It was a perfect day with mild temps and not a lot of wind.

Thanks Chasers and thanks Dave for taking pictures, driving to the TH and the great company!