Saturday, August 24, 2013

SOTA Activation of Mount Evans (W0/FR-003) and Chief Mountain (W0/FR-030) 23 Aug 2013

After an email from Steve I decided to take a vacation day from work and accompany Steve for a possible 16 point day.

We left on time and drove without problem (last time my new jeep kept stalling) in Steve's tried and true "Goat Wagon."

It was crowded on the summit but after a short hike we found a suitable location. I generally avoid crowds as I am not happy answering a bunch of questions but for the most part people left us alone on this crowded summit.

Much to my disbelieve I was unable to use SMS to spot Steve on 20 meter SSB however, he was able to start the pileup on 20 CW. At the same time I decided to try my first ever two meter FM activation of a summit just in case the Park Ranger decided we had a permeant antenna structure without a permit, as Matt's, K0MOS, had warned us about.

I knocked out 4 FM contacts on 146.520 in short order. They include:

This was my first experience with 2 meters on a summit but I do have an arrow yagi for two meters and plan to try 2 meter SSB when Elecraft comes out with the KX3 2 meter module. Other than that it was not as thrilling as HF CW but it got the job done in case we got chased off the summit.

wG0AT tuning the AlexLoop

This was also a first activation for me using the Alex Loop antenna. I do not have an opinion one way or the other of the AlexLoop as we were not able to compare it to anything else. My goal, with Steve's help, is to have an antenna shootout one day. I would like to include it in the shootout along with a Buddipole Vertical and an EFHW.

Maybe, one day.....

Steve taught me how to assemble the AlexLoop and how to tune it. It is touchy but easy to do.

Here is my 20 meter CW log from Mount Evans:

Chasers, thanks for the efforts and 10 points. I also notice we now have two suffixs that end in "USA" (W7USA and WA2USA) and now in "EL" (K6EL and K3EL) in the mix.... Sometimes I only get the last part of a call so this is going to get interesting hi hi.

The KX3 makes any antenna play well

It does not take much arm turning to get Steve out on another summit. We headed over to the TH for Chief Mountain, an easy 800 foot ascent on a well marked trail. Or I should say, it would have been an easy ascent if you were not trying to keep up with the Old Goat trying to beat the weather moving in. 

We summited, got setup and started rolling. I grabbed some chow while Steve ran the pileup and we switched off when it died down a bit. This was another summit that I could not send an SMS spot but was able to SMS a spot when we were at the TH. Odd cell service....
The Old Goat running the Qs on 20 CW
Heading our way!!!!
We just did not have the time to run all the callers and I am sorry for that. Nor did we have the time to setup my new linked 4 band dipole but I will save that for another summit.

After no one was calling me Steve make the call to pack up and we did, very quickly. The temperature dropped and the smell of rain was in the air. 

We donned our rain gear and started down the trail. We were not too far from our operating position when the hail stated, then the rain and always present was the thunder. Steve expertly navigated us down a shortcut that shaved maybe .25 to .5 miles off our descent and we made the saddle and picked up the trail again all the way down. It was interesting to note that we passed at least three people heading up while we were trying to get off the mountain. All young people and none of them were prepared for that weather.

We really hit the bad stuff a few miles from the TH while secured safely in the goat wagon.

It was a great activation and Chief has a great summit. I will be back.

Here is my log from Chief Mountain on 20 meter CW:
We decided to stop at a favorite restaurant in Castle Rock on the way home. I was hungry and tiered and I am afraid I was not much for conversation until I got some food in me. I felt renewed after I ate way too much and was looking forward to a good 8 hour nap when I got home. 

What a great day!!!!!

Thank you chasers for making the activation as thrilling as it can get.

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