Monday, August 12, 2013

38 SOTA Points in a week or how to get divorced on your honeymoon

On 2 Aug Lynn, KC0YQF, and I tied the knot and on the 4th of Aug we found ourselves in Cody WY. Cody is a tourist town but not without actives like the Buffalo Bill Museum which is worth the price of admission.
Lynn and Buffalo Bill

Lynn in Cody WY
We spent most the morning there (get there early if you go as it gets crowded fast) before we headed into Yellowstone.

When you drive into Yellowstone via the Cody WY entrance you come to Yellowstone Lake and a SOTA summit called Lake Butte (SOTA Designator W7Y/PA-219). There is a paved road most of the way to the top but it is not marked. In fact there is a sign that says "Lake Overview," or something to that effect, in "1 mile." Right after that sign is a road to the top. If you go 1 mile you went about .9 miles too far, We got to the parking area, out on our packs and headed up to the summit. There are one or two false summits but the actual summit is clearly visible and I would guess right about a one mile hike.
Summit in view

Lynn working the pileup

Great ham shack views over looking Yellowstone Lake
The only hard part was navigating the dead fall. It was an easy activation and I would have liked to have spent more time on the summit but we needed to get going to find our campground and setup our base camp.

LAKE BUTTE W7Y/PA-219

KC0YQF Log 

20 Meter SSB
W7RV 
W0MNA
W0ERI  NS7P  K6EL  N7AMA   WA2USA      
W1DMH SUMMIT 2 SUMMIT




K0JQZ Log
20 Meter CW
KU6J 
K7NEW 
ND0C 
W6UB 
W0MNA 
W0ERI 
W7RV 
N0TU 
W7CNL 
N4MJ 
K6TUY 
WA2USA 
VA6FUN 
N0EVH 
K1JD 
K5SSR 
N7AMA 
N6JZT 
KH2TJ 
N6GA 
N4EX 
N9KW


We camped in the Bridge Bay camp ground and probably had the worse campsite in the whole park. It was too close to other people but we did not spend much time there anyway so it was a moot point. I checked out some of the other loops and will know better for next time.

The next day we tackled Mount Washburn (SOTA Designator W7Y/PA-163). There are two trails that lead to this summit. They are both nice hikes, about 3 miles each. We took the shorter and steeper route but still it was not much of a challenge.

We saw a lot of wildlife on this hike and they are apparently used to seeing humans in their area. I tried to talk this fellow into hauling my gear up the summit like Rooster and Peanut but he said "unless I could get their autographs," that he would have nothing to do with me. I tried to convince him that R and P were close friends of mine but he was not buying it.

You want to strap what to my back?
The summit was crowded but the breeze and chill made it feel pretty good. We setup and knocked out a few QSOs. the crowds of people made me leave this one earlier than I wanted to. The young people that camped next to us took the other route up and my antenna support (fishing pole) fell on one of the young ladies. I apologized just about every time I saw her after that. I am sure they thought we were about as looney as they come.
Lynn on top
Just over 10K feet (a 4 pointer in Colorado but 8 points here)
MOUNT WASHBURN W7Y/PA-163

KC0YQF Log

20 Meter SSB
W0MNA    
W0ERI     
NS7P   
N7AMA      
N6JZT     
W7RV  
   


K0JQZ Log 
20 Meter CW
N0EVH 
W7RV 
N4EX 
ND0C 
NS7P 
WA6ARA 
W0MNA 
N7AMA 
W0ERI 
W0CCA 
K6EL 
N7UN 
NE4TN 
WA2USA 
K1JD 
N6JZT 
KG3W 
N9KW 
N0HYD 
AB7YL 


After this activation we felt pretty good and headed to Elephant Back (SOTA Designator W7Y/TT-141) TH near our base camp. It is an easy 2 mile hike with a lot of switch backs through a nice forested area. I should say that it would be an easy hike if you had not already hiked 6 miles to Mount Washburn. We met up with another couple and chatted on the way up. I think Lynn was getting sick of SOTA at this point.
Lynn on the trail (why are we doing this again?)
Elephant Back summit was sandy, so sandy in fact that sand got in my camera that I use for SOTA activations and I broke it permanently while trying to clean it, I am now in need of another camera. My next one will be more resistance to the elements.
K0JQZ working the pileup on the sandy summit of Elephant Back
ELEPHANT BACK MOUNTAIN W7Y/TT-141

KC0YQF Log 

20 Meter SSB
K5WI 
KT5X    
W1DMH    
N4EMG  
NS7P   
K0LAF  


K0JQZ Log 
20 Meter CW
KD9KC 
N4EMG 
W7RV 
K0LAF 
W4IHI 
WA2USA 
WK6L 
ND0C 
W9FHA 
WK0X 
N4EX 


After Elephant Back we took the day off and became tourist. We took showers, did laundry and checked out more of Yellowstone.
Old Faithful

Buffalo (massive creatures)

Elk

Fat Grouse

After 24 hours off we tackled Bunsen Peak (W7Y/PA-224). This was easily my favorite summit. It is about a 2 mile hike on a well marked trail that goes up and over the summit to the other side. It was nice and rocky, no sand, and there were many places to setup an antenna. It, like all summits in the summer time in Yellowstone, was crowded but not as bad as Washburn.

When we first started down this trail we came across a father and son team that appeared to be throwing rocks at something then running down the trail. When we approached them they said there was a rabid squirrel on the trail and that it would not let them pass. They were throwing rocks at it to try and kill it apparently. The son wanted me to use bear spray on it but we just walked by and the squirrel was doing nothing more than protecting its area and these two clowns are just idiots. We played tag with these two all the way up. When they finally summited the father decided to knock down all the rock cairns left by people over the years. I was happy when these two left. I tried my best to re-do the cairns he knocked down.
Lynn blazing the trail
Our Reward
BUNSEN PEAK W7Y/PA-224

KC0YQF Log

ND0C    
W0MNA    
W0ERI    
K0LAF    
W7RV   
N7AMA
 


K0JQZ Log 
30 Meter CW
NS7P 
K6TUY 
W7RV 
K8TE 
WB5BKL 
W9FHA 
N7AMA 
W4AMW 

20 Meter CW
N0HYD 
W0MNA 
K6EL 
NA6MG 
N4EX 
W0ERI 
NK6A 
K5RWP 
VE1WT 
N1FJ 
WA2USA 
ND0C 
N0EVH 
K5WI 
W7USA 
N4MJ 
K6TUY 
KG3W 
AE4FZ 
AD4IE 
N6JZT 


We only had one more summit left and that was Signal Mountain (SOTA Designator W7Y/TT-161) in the Teton NP. After Bunsen we went into Mammoth and ate but it was not agreeing with me and I was almost sure that I would not be able to hike the 6 miles RT for Signal Mountain, and since it was a 4 pointer we decided not to mess with it. We headed into Teton NP and to our long awaited cabin. However, we could not check in till 4pm so we decided to go look for the TH and of course we found a road that went to the top. We took the road, did a qualifying hike and setup along the road to the summit away from the crowds. There are two small turn outs after the last bend to get to the summit. I would recommend the first one you come to however, we choose the one closer to the summit which actually serves as an over flow area. I had the jeep parked to protect us from the masses and was able to get the EFHW in an inverted L shape in two trees. I think I got the best signal reports from this location.

Incidentally, I was using (Sprint) SMS text messages to spot Lynn on each summit. It worked great and the summits were the only places we could get any kind of reception so we also made our phone calls while on the summits. Without this ability it would have been very hard to activate on SSB.

Teton Range

SIGNAL MOUNTAIN W7Y/TT-161

KC0YQF Log

20 Meter SSB
W7RV 
N7UN     
N7AMA   
AE4FZ     
W7/DL1UF   
K5RWP 
NS7P    
N4MJ    
K0LAF    
W0MNA     
W0ERI


K0JQZ Log 
20 Meter CW

K7NEW 
W7RV 
KE5AKL 
N7AMA 
K0LAF 
N6JZT Summit to Summit
WA6KYR 
WA2USA 
N0EVH 
N9KW 
W7USA 
KB9ILT 
N4MJ 
K6EL 
K6TUY 
W0CCA 
W0MNA 
W0ERI 
NE4TN 
N0HYD 

30 Meter CW
WG0AT (Finally able to make contact with the Old Goat)
KG7E 
WA6IAF 


So we were done activating SOTA summits. We checked into our cabin, took a nice hot shower, ate some great food and drank a little wine and beer. The staff sent some champagne and chocolate covered strawberries to our room. I am not much of a drinker so one beer is good for me. We slept very well and decided to head out the next day refreshed and look around Teton NP and the Jackson Hole Ski area. Of course that is when I discovered that we would be on another SOTA summit and some quick research shows that it has been activated before. I wrote down the wrong reference number 035 vice 061 but ND0C corrected me. Thanks Randy!!!!  The correct designator is W7Y/TT-061.

At this point Lynn was fed up with SOTA and said she was not carrying a pack and just wanted to be a tourist for the day. Of course I could not resist the 8 point summit with a cable car that goes to the top. The cable car was filled with hikers that were going to hike to various destinations in that area. I would like to take a week just to hike this area. One young lady we met told us she hikes on average 10 to 20 miles a day and today she expected to be back in time for dinner with friends. She was single and mentioned that she comes to Jackson Hole every year. The thing that stuck in my head is she commented that the guy to gal ration was in her favor. She said "the odds are good but the goods are odd". That one had me laughing. I think Lynn and I would have enjoyed hiking with her for a few minutes. She, like most of the other hikers we saw, meant business and I doubt we could have kept up with her for long.

Lynn pretty much indulged me for this last summit (although I kept blaming Gary, W0MNA, for suggesting it). The cable car ride was very nice and after we got off the cable car we hiked around and found a good spot and figured we could activate and watch a storm move around us. Well, everything worked to plan save the fact that the storm came right up on us. Lynn decided to try to make a few contacts..which she did, but then got cold and headed to the summit house and I threw myself on the KX3 to protect it from the elements, reflecting great credit upon myself and SOTA activators everywhere.

Maybe that is a little dramatic, truth be told, after trying, unsuccessfully, to protect the KX3 and stay warm and dry myself, I also scurried to the summit house leaving the antenna behind. The storm was over in short order and before the next one moved in I finished up the activation with a few CW QSOs.
Before the skies opened up
RENDEZVOUS MOUNTAIN W7Y/PA-219

KC0YQF Log
20 Meter SSB
AD5A 
K7JFD  
W7RV  
W0MNA   
W0ERI   
VA6FUN
N7AMA   
N4EX    
K5WI   
N6KZ


K0JQZ Log
20 Meter CW
W0ERI 
N7EI 
W0MNA 
AD5A 
WA7JTM

30 Meter CW 
N0EVH 
W7RV 
N5JKY 
N6KZ 
NS7P 
K6EL 
K0LAF 
W7/DL1UF 
K7NEW 
W7USA 
N7AMA 
N4MJ


That officially ended the SOTA activation part of the Honeymoon. We have decided to visit that area again, there are more SOTA summits to be had and it was a blast to see all the wildlife (both quadrupeds and bipeds)

Rig: Elecraft KX3 at 10 Watts
Antenna: Slightly modified EFHW
Power: Buddipole A123 Battery

(NOTE: the battery was charged before we left Colorado. It had a total of 3 hours of solid operation not counting CQ and QRL request before it started dropping in power:
2 Amateurs
6 Summit activations
1 Charge

BTW: Lynn and I are still married. : ) !!

73
Frank
K0JQZ

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