Thursday, January 2, 2014

SOTA activation of Little Scraggy Peak (W0/FR-059) 2 Jan 14 and a Surprise from the Old Country!!!

First the surprise.

Background: In late Nov the dates of the inaugural "Mighty Mite Weekend", the brainchild of G3CWI, Richard, was announced on the SOTA reflector. The dates were 7 and 8 Dec 2013 with the goal to make as many QSOs from a SOTA summit or to a SOTA summit using a Rock Mite or Rock Mite clone transceiver. Richard even put up an award to the person that published the most interesting account of their activities.

I was pleasantly surprised and humbled when my entry was chosen as the winner but in my mind the accounts of G4ISJ far surpassed mine. You can read about his SOTA Rock Mite activation here: G4ISJ Blogspot

I wanted to do the event but we had an arctic weather front move in and the temps were not favorable for an activation so I was going to call it off but when I exchanged a few emails with Colin, M1BUU, he inspired me to get my little Rock Mite on the air from a summit. He also sent me super secret pics of his home-brew Rock Mite that he sent to G4ISJ.

I will not go into my activation as my accounts are posted here.

Today, on my 52nd birthday, the trophy arrived, great timing Richard.

How cool is that? Thanks Richard.
The Trophy along with my 20 meter RM

That just made my day. Hopefully next year will bring in a few more Rock Mites from the Colonies and other countries as well.

Now, since it is my birthday I get to choose how to use it and of course I wanted to do a SOTA activation. I wanted to go back to Little Scraggy and find the best way to ascend this mountain. After reading KX0R's writeup and studying a topo map I could see were I went wrong. All I had to do was convince Lynn because she knows how bad I screwed that up a few days ago. In my mind that was way back in 2013.

I told her if I could not find a better way we would forgo the ascent and will head to an easier summit close by. (Not as easy as you would think since the floods and fires still have a lot of local summits blocked)
Not the summit but looks scary. We went that way last time.
Remains of hams that failed to summit.
With topo map and KX0R's instructions in hand and GPS turned on we headed out. The TH temp was in the mid 30s so much warmer than yesterday, bonus. As we walked into the valley we picked up some tracks and found a nice little trail. It helped that at least three people before us left tracks in the snow. They were easy to follow and soon we were on the plateau that leads to the summit. Much easier and faster than our last summit on this mountain. I really like this summit and it reminds me of the South Summit of Mount Herman but with more rocks and dead fall.

I believe this may be Green Mountain also a SOTA summit
Neat rock formations
Headed that way
Lynn on top of the world
We found a spot in the AZ that had sun, a good tree to hang the antenna and was dry out of the snow. We setup and immediately the clouds blocked our solar radiation so the jackets and glove came out.

Lynn's favorite way to generate heat, wearing a plastic bag
I would guess it was about 30 degrees on the summit but once the sun came back out it felt like 50 degrees.

I was able to get a spot in (I remembered my iphone this time) and Lynn was rocking and rolling on 20 meters SSB. I am trying to get her to log her own contacts without relying on me and she did a great job. Thanks for everyones patience. Here is her log:

20 Meter SSB:

W0MNA
W0ERI
N4EX
W5QC
W7IV
N7UN
AJ5C
W6UB
W7CNL
KF4MH
AE4FZ
NE4TN
NS7P
WA2USA
KF5J
KH2TJ
KB1RJC
W9FHA (A rare appearance by John on SSB / Old dogs can learn new tricks!!)
KI4SVM
N7AMA
K7NEW

Lynn running the pileup
Frank breaks out the Goat Paddles, time for CW
Here is my log:

20 Meter CW:

W9FHA
K0LAF
K7NEW
WA2USA
K6TUY
VE2JCW
KH2TJ
W7RV
N1EU
N4EX
W4DOW
NS7P
KB2XX
KF5J
W0MNA
W0ERI
N4MJ
KG3W
K6EL
AE4FZ
N7WM
N0EVH
WA4AN

30 Meter CW:

WG0AT
KF5J
K0YO

12 Meter CW:

WH6LE
WG8Y

I tried other bands but no joy. It was a great activation. We were not freezing, no wind and just us on the summit.

Just one thing; there is always one thing! I heard my GPS beep when we got near the actual summit (I thought it beeped a little early). I did not pay it much attention. I use a etrex20 and am very pleased with it as it is not very demanding on batteries. I use it a lot when in unexplored areas and I had 9 way points to guide us back. When we packed up and started to head down I looked at the GPS and it was off. Well that is odd, I turned it back on and it said low batteries and shut down again. Well what do you know. I had just put freshly recharged batteries in there, or so I thought. After retracing our steps through the snow I was confident we did not need it anyway.

I try to use the same size batteries in stuff like the GPS, Camera, lamps etc and remembered that I had a fresh set of batteries in the camera and a spare set just in case. All was saved. We made it back to the SOTA Jeep and drove home. The lesson being, always double check your batteries going out and try to have as many devices that use the same size batteries as you can.

Tomorrow is our last day of vacation then the weekend (looks like bad weather) and Lynn and I are back to work so no more SOTA for a while. Thanks chasers, you really made my birthday a good one.

A lucky man and Lynn

72 Frank
K0JQZ

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