Sunday, January 19, 2014

"A couple of Old Goats" or "wG0AT and K0JQZ activate Knights Peak W0/FR-144 17 Jan 2014"

It has been a while since Steve and I got out together to do a SOTA activation. I was really looking forward to it and it would turn out to be a great adventure.

Change is in the air, we did something we do not usually do, we agreed on a meeting time and place the day before instead of minutes before. Steve and I met at the Denny's in Woodland Park Colorado and I was treated to a great breakfast and conversation. It is here we decided on Peak 10650 and I posted an alert on SOTA Watch for the same. Soon after we had Steve's gear loaded into the SOTA Jeep (The Goat Wagon sat this one out) and headed to our destination of 10650 or W0/FR-140.

The area was heavily damaged by the floods after the fires these last few years. In fact, access from Colorado Springs is still closed so we went around to the Cripple Creek side and entered from the West. It makes for a long drive but the plus side is that we will have some summer time summits to activate close to home when the roads open up again.

I knew there was an access road to 10650 but I was unable to find it the last time I was on that road. Steve was able to find 10650 and the access road but the snow plow had made it impassible. There was no way to get close to the makeshift TH so onward to the next summit which was was Knights Peak (W0/FR-144). Knights Peak appears to be the only accessible SOTA summit in this area. The other SOTA summits are Almagre,  Mount Rosa, Cheyenne Mountain, 9410, 10650 and a few others.

Cheyenne Mountain from Knights Peak
Mount Rosa from Knights Peak
Almagre from Knights Peak
Knights Peak
Knights Peak looks like a easy summit. In fact it looks like you can just walk up the side. Well, I guess that is what we did but that side gets steep not to soon after you start the bushwhack. The 2 feet of snow in some spots made it more of a challenge so Steve navigated us through the brush instead of the clearings due to snow pack which was a wise move.

Steve quickly moved ahead of me and I followed his trail up to the top. There was a couple of moves that Steve made near the top that I thought he might have some Mountain Goat in him because I just looked at the trail and shook my head and looked for another way. I finally summited and we started to get setup.

It was actually pretty pleasant on the top and my temp gauge said 34 degrees. Without the wind it was down right comfortable. However, the wind would come and go reminding us what it can do.

We setup my EFHW for 20 and 30 meters and used my MTR. We would had used Steve's MTR or ATS4 but I have BNC connectors on mine while Steve has a RCA jack so lesson learned. Between us we had three HF radios, two antennas some batteries and I think no less than four audio recording devices. I had a good laugh at that one but Steve is always prepared.

My weapon of choice
Goat Paddles!!
Goat Paddles in action (photo by wG0AT)
K0JQZ using the Goat Paddles in the pileup (photo by wG0AT)
wG0AT finds yet another audio recorder
Great views
Steve at work
wG0AT running the pileup
K0JQZ and wG0AT on the summit (I was playing with a walking stick camera setup)
wG0AT and the Mountain Topping Radio

USAF Approved Mountain Topping Radio
I was a little disappointed that we could not self spot or change the alert so I apologize for any confusion. I know I sent our Ref number several times but perhaps I should have sent it more often. I doubt that would had made a difference. I was also surprised to see that we did not get picked up on RBN until near the end of my run (45 to 50 minutes into our activation). There were no spots on 30 meters although Steve called CQ several times. Perhaps I entered something incorrectly with the alert. With all that said it is possible to have a successful activation without the Internet. 

After the activation:

K0JQZ and Knights Peak in the background (photo by wG0AT)
I did manage to get my throw line throughly wrapped in a tree and it took a bit of effort to get it out. I am glad I did not have to leave it on the summit as trash…. Also, during one of the wind gust, my inflatable sit pad went flying off the summit but we were able to retrieve it on the way down. They do not cost much but they do make an activation more pleasant by not having to sit in snow or on a hard rock. I also fell on the way down but ended up just sliding down to a few feet from Steve on my ass, descending the easy way I guess. The snow was dry but I still got pretty wet. Fortunately that was on the way down.

It was a grand time!

My log from 20 meter CW using the KD1JV designed, K0JQZ built, 20/30 Meter MTR an EFHW.


On the way home I stopped at Lynn's favorite little burrito place (it is actually a BBQ place) to get the only thing on their menu I can eat which is a Egg and Potato Burrito with hot sauce. I have no affiliation with the Smokin Q but if you at the intersection of I-24 and CO 67/5 it is worth checking out.

In other news, Steve made Lynn and new hat to celebrate her achievements as a SOTA activator.

KC0YQF sports new headgear
Horney Goat QRP Adventures

Thanks Chasers


1 comment:

  1. Great blog post! Of course, everyone will want one of these hats now.

    73, Mike W5RST