Saturday, December 7, 2013

Mighty Mite Weekend on Mount Herman with the Rock Mite 20, 7 Dec 2013

This was probably not the smartest thing I have done. Our weather has been very arctic like with temps well below zero with the windchill. However, it was Mighty Mite weekend and the dedicated hams that have built the Rock Mite series of radios were heading out to try to make a few contacts using less than 1 watt. I did not want to miss this!!!!!

In case anyone is interested, QRPME is the new web site to order a Rockmite from.  You can read about/purchase them here QRP Me.

I gave myself two hours to get to the TH and a good thing I did. The Interstate between my house and Monument was very icy, I do not think I went over 50 MPH the whole way. I was worried about the road to the TH because it is dirt and probably not plowed but it was actually better than the Interstate. Upon arrival there was only one car at the TH parking area.

At least one other brave soul was there.
Beautiful Day
The TH was a balmy Zero Degrees Fahrenheit.
Once I got my gators and spikes on my hands started to get cold. I started down the trail and did not think I would make it, my hands started to hurt and I could not get them warm. I decided that I would set a goal of at least 1/3 of the way up and if my hands were still hurting I would retreat. Once I started up the steep incline I started to warm up and my hands no longer bothered me. I started stopping more often to ensure I did not sweat but I misjudged that and started sweating from the top of my head. I do this a lot so I carry two hats, I stopped, dried off and put on another hat. I was able to regulate my body heat much better without the gore-tex jacket so I stowed it.

It was a nice hike and very quiet until I caught up to two people that decided to brave the cold as I did.

Soon I was at the saddle between the North and South summit. I was debating on which one to operate from and since there were people on the North Summit I went South. It was so calm that I could hear them talking from the South summit although I could not make out what they were saying. The South summit was very peaceful and I choose a place that Lynn and I used as an activation area before.

Nice and still
The saddle looking East to Monument Colorado
Heading South
A nice "rock" to hold the "rock mite"…..
View from my shack
Another view

This thing is off a bit
My temp gage is not very good and had been sitting in the sun but I wanted to see how accurate it was. I have an app on the iPhone that said minus 10 degrees Fahrenheit but I do not know if that was correct or not either. My guess is it was closer to minus 10 than 20 degrees above. I have asked Santa for a digital one for Christmas.

I threw a cord in the tree nearest me and attached the end of the EFHW to it and was surprisingly able to deploy it fairly quickly in the cold. The coax was already somewhat stiff from the cold. After hooking up the Rockmite I was on the air calling CQ…. and calling CQ… and still calling CQ. I checked the RBN and nothing…. There was a lot of interference on the band from a Weekend Sprint (not sure which club was running it) so maybe the RBN was having trouble hearing my complete call. After all I was just putting out 200 milliwatts.

A quick call to Steve on 2 meters and I was spotted and started my Mighty Mite pileup. The chasers really earned their 4 points on this one today. With all the activity on the band and my weak signal it was amazing anyone heard me.

Thanks to the following chasers:

N1EU   8164 miles per watt!!!! Thanks Barry!!

I am still amazed at just a few components, an EFHW and a 9 volt battery could produce that kind of results.

I did not have time to change out C8 so the sidetone note is still pretty loud (you will hear it in the youtube video) but it worked fine.

I started to get cold again and wanted to get down. My water had started to freeze and so did I when the wind picked up. It was time to go, I packed very quickly and beat feet off the side of the mountain. While heading down I reached a part of the trail I call "The Meadows" because it is flat and during the summer it looks like a bog meadow, almost out of place. It was here that the wind really started. I had stowed my gore-tex (water proof) jacket and had on a soft pull over. As soon as the wind started the snow started falling out of the trees. I got soaked and could see steam rising from my arms and neck because I was just too warm. I decided not to stop and pushed on to the TH. I was very warm by the time I got to the Jeep and was glad I did not do something stupid like that on the way up. 

I stopped to take a few pictures on the way home.

I passed Steve, wG0AT, on the way out but I did not see him. He saw me heading down while he was heading out to take the herd out for some exercise. I wish he could have joined me on this one. 

It was a good activation. I am surprised how well I did in the cold but that was due to gear and it is ever important to remember how easy it can turn on you. At those temps it is nothing to be taken lightly.

My first Mighty Mite Weekend activation is over but I am already looking forward to the next one.

Here is the Miles per watt breakdown:

Call             Actual Miles     Miles Per Watt
W5ODS           547                    2733
W6IYS             964                    4821
W7RV              545                    2723
NS7P              1011                  5055
N4EX              1453                  7267
AJ5C               674                    3372
K0LAF             634                    3169
N7WM             552                    2762
W7CNL           659                    3294
WA2USA        952                    4759
KG3W             1319                  6596
N1EU              1633                  8164 (NEW RECORD FOR ME)
N0EVH           567                    2835
WG0AT           4                       19
W0MNA          535                   2675
W0ERI            535                   2675
K5RWP          619                   3095


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