Wednesday, August 14, 2013

SOTA Activation of Mount Herman (W0/FR-063) 14 Aug 2013

Having a choice to stay home and get some things done on my last few days of vacation or go take a hike in the woods and activate a SOTA peak well, I choose the latter.

Lynn had to report back to work and wG0AT was otherwise occupied so I was on my own. I decided to use the ATS4b and a new linked dipole I made about a month ago for 20 and 30 meters. It is based on WA33WSJ's design and is called the Iditarod mini dipole, or a linked dipole. It is tuned for 20 and 30 meters so no tuner is needed. Of course the draw back is coax is required but I used 25 feet of RG-174.
The dipole ready for action
center section

This morning I got packed and was ready to go. I got to the TH and there was no one there. That is unusual as the Mount Herman trail is very popular. I started off on my hike and saw some trash not too far from the TH and since I had trash bags for our trip to WY still in the jeep I grabbed one and did a little trail cleanup on the way up and down. I do not think I have ever seen the Mount Herman Trail so green.
A result of all the rain we have been getting

I was about half way when I scared a few deer and they came running across the path (3 total). I thought that was pretty cool.

There are a few rocks along the trail that I always thought would make a good shelter if the sky opened up and I decided to have a few snacks there.

Good place to rest and snack
It was here I noticed the top cap to my fishing pole was missing.

No top cap
I got to figure out a way to secure that thing because it keeps slipping out. I found it on the way down.

The trail

I got up to the summit and decided to go down and South from there, not all the way to the South Summit but far enough away that if a group of people came up I would be out of the way. I found some supports for the ends of the dipole and went from there. I strapped the antenna support to a dead stump and I did not realize it until it was too late that it was an ant colony. I disturbed them and they let me know it. I had to move a bit but since the support was there I left it. Other than that it was a pretty good operating position..

Antenna and coax

 I was real pleased when the dipole required no tuning so I did not need a tuner which was good because while I remember the jumper coax for the radio to the tuner I forgot the actual tuner so that worked out well.

Here is my log:
20 Meter CW
Summit to Summit
NS7P Summit to Summit
30 Meter CW
Summit to Summit

I did not stay long due to some clouds forming up.

Storms a brewing
We have had rain about every day and I would have liked to stay a bit longer but....... I did have a few things to get done today. However, I did reward myself with lunch at the Noodle Company.

Veggie Med Sandwich and salad

The ATS4b is one of my favorite radios for SOTA and QRP followed closely by the KX1 but after using the KX3 for the last dozen or so SOTA activations I have gotten spoiled. It is so nice to have the capability of my home station (K3) on the summit with the KX3. I could see going back to a ATS or KX1 when doing a 14er to save weight (4 lbs with the KX3 and antenna/battery vice 1.5 pound with an ATS radio). I think the ATS radio days are numbered. 

ANTENNA: Linked Dipole (20 / 30 Meters)
POWER: LiPol 1400mah battery
PADDLES: Pico Paddle

Thank you chasers and fellow activators. What a fun day.


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