Sunday, October 27, 2013

SOTA Activation of Capulin Volcano (W5N/SG-009) New Mexico

Capulin Mountain is an 8 pointer just across the border into New Mexico. Lynn and I decided to make it a weekend and pickup 8 points. I had thought about doing another summit on the way to Taos but I was beat from activating Capulin and from driving most of the day.

Capulin erupted around 60,000 years ago and had 4 main lava flows that still define a part of the landscape in this area. There is much more info HERE.

The visitor center and park are very nice. There were only three cars including ours in the packing lot the hour we were up there. I do not think they get a lot of traffic but it was well worth the 5 dollar entrance fee.

We hiked up to the tallest part and setup on a park bench. Lynn really liked being able to sit down on a bench vice the cold hard ground. With the wind chill I would imagine it was in the low 30s up there. It was a challenge to find a spot out of the wind. I thought we did until the wind the wind changed direction so we had to tough it out for the rest of the activation.
KC0YQF in at the SOTA Jeep getting gear
Nice parking area and rest rooms
Even nicer trail to follow
More of the trail
Lynn leads the way
Our destination
 Once a good location was found we setup the KX3 and 58 foot long wire. Lynn started us off on 20 meters SSB and quickly exhausted all callers for her. I know the WW SSB Contest was on but we found a clear freq and went to work.

KX3 at the bench operating location
Lynns Log:
20 Meter SSB


I took over after Lynn was done and hit 12 meter CW just to check the conditions. I was surprised.
12 Meter CW:


Then onto 30 meters for more locals:

WG0AT    S2S from Mount Herman

I looked for Dan, NA6MG, but by the time my SOTA Goat spot had came up Dan had moved to 10 meters and I could not hear him. Of course I was thrilled to get France and Finland on 12 meters. From this part of the country that is great DX. The KX3 and 58 foot long wire performed great. I did get the antenna roller stuck in a tree and broke the wire but Lynn was able to retrieve it. I am glad I did not have to leave it there since it had Rooster's picture and Rooster's company name "Goat Berries" is on it and I did not want Rooster to get ticketed for littering in a National Park.
Rooster approved winder
View from the top
Another view
Frank K0JQZ
After we got done we decided to hike to the bottom of the center part of the volcano. Timing is everything, we made it out ok without any eruptions.

The bottom looking up
Volcano plumbing in case you are interested
After our activation we headed to Taos. Lynn and I have spent a lot of time in Taos and we stayed at our usual place and relaxed and had a good dinner. We got up early and knew the ballon people were in town so we got another show.

Great stuff, we thought of Martha and Gary (W0ERI and W0MNA) as we marveled at the lighter than air craft.

On the way home we stopped in San Luis Colorado just across the border on the Colorado side.  San Luis is the oldest town in Colorado established in the mid 1800's. Also, San Luis has the Station of the Cross Shrine. Read more about it HERE. The church overlooks the town and I have seen it many times but never stopped until today. It is not a SOTA summit but a neat place to check out if you are so inclined.
The old church
Lynn as we went up to the church
The Mayor
Our ascent and descent was under the escort of "The Mayor". We asked one of the locals about this dog that pretty much stuck to our side on the way up and down and she said they call him "The Mayor" and he spends most of his days walking up and down with people. He stayed with us the whole time, save when a rabbit crossed our path.

The Shrine is not a SOTA summit but there is a four pointed on the other side of town that looks like it could be driven up but we did not explore it today.

It was good weekend with some Ham Radio and some exploring the area mixed in.

Thank you chasers!



  1. Frank & Lynn,

    Sure wish we could have activated Capulin on our way down to Albuquerque but it was closed due to the government shutdown. That's one of our favorite places to hike and it a really pretty area as you well know. We'll activate it next trip down to Albuquerque and probably will operate from the same park bench you did.

    Sure wish we could have been in Taos to see the hot air balloons. It looked like you had really nice weather there if the balloons flew. I'm sure we saw all of those same balloons in Albuquerque a couple of weeks ago.

    Next trip we make out to Gunnison we'll get in touch with you and try to meet up somewhere for dinner or lunch.

    Thanks for the great picture of Capulin.

    Gary A. - W0MNA

    1. You bet Gary, Lynn and I would love to meet you and Martha next time you are out.