Friday, February 14, 2014

SOTA Activation of Three Mile Mountain W0/SP-107 13 Feb 2014

Against my better judgement I left Lynn at home, sick in bed. I almost turned around a few times but I know she wanted me to get an activation in. I took the day off from work to do a SOTA summit so I would not had been home regardless. Lynn convinced me it was ok and I was off to a late start.

I stopped in Woodland Park for breakfast and thought to myself that while I enjoy doing SOTA activations that they are more fun when they are shared, even with goats. Today I was solo as Steve is having fun in the sun with the Buddipole Expedition.

I got to the TH in plenty of time to make my activation time of noon MST. I had some trouble finding a spot to park since the side of the road was covered in a few feet of snow. I found a spot kind of half off dirt road so I would not sink in too far. The area Steve and I parked before was too deep and I almost got the SOTA Jeep stuck.

The SOTA Jeep parked along the side of the road in about 2 feet of snow
Three Mile Mountain
It was hard going in some spots as there was three feet of snow in the open areas and no way around them. This would had been a good hike to use snow shoes except I d not have any snow shoes and after wGoAT made me wear them up Squaw Mountain I decided I would not invest in any. It is hard work to hike with Snow Shoes but harder without. I may have to get some.

After I made the half mile trek I got in the saddle and it was a self paced walk to the summit.

The setup for this activation was the 2 band MTR (30 and 20 meters) and a linked End Fed for the same bands. I brought a support pole for the antenna which I actually used this time.

EF supported by the fishing pole
The matching section is in a tree above my operating position not seen here
Looking down at the op position
The shack with MTR, recorder, speaker, Goat Paddles, log book etc
I had some QRM or QRN on 30 meters. I am not sure what caused it but it sounded like the MTR was getting over loaded. I am going to check it out sometime soon but it could had been something as simple as a bad connection. After all, I built this thing so anything could be the problem.

Because of this I had to bail on 30 meters but managed to work a few stations before it got too bad. After that I went to 20 meters where I had no problems at all unless you think too many chasers is a problem, which I do not.

Here is my log:

30 Meter CW:

20 Meter CW:

A few notes. The ARRL Special Event Station for WI was my first QSO which was special but not the last special QSO. When I got called by W7ZOI (Wes Hayward) that really made my day. Wes and I chatted before when I was on a summit. Wes is a pioneer in Trail Radios.
From the 1976 ARRL Operating Handbook (Wes inspired many of us)

To top it off I got called by G4OBK who is an outstanding SOTAteer. Here is a link to his Blog. Phil often has his XYL, Judy, along for activations. He does some great write-ups and his blog is worth studying.

Now, working UK from the East Coast is thrilling but to actually get into the UK from the middle of the USA is really cool. Especially considering the fact that my transceiver is in an Altoids Tin and my antenna is a an EF. Phil was a solid 559 at times. Amazing stuff! I really loved hearing the G4 call sign since for a few years in the early eighties I was G4VDN.

Looking South

Looking East
Now the rest of the story.

I was having some troubles on the summit. I was finding it hard to concentrate and had to hear the calls several times before they clicked. I was getting cold but it was not that cold out maybe in the low 40s. On the way down I promptly lost my trail and went too far West and ended up looking at a small cliff. The Jeep was in sight so I was not worried and I knew what I did wrong. I found a way down and made it back to the Jeep only stopping once. I could not find my trail across the field because the wind had already covered it, amazing! When I got back I texted Lynn and threw everything in the back of the Jeep. I wanted to get a drink of water but apparently had left my water bottle on the summit. I started thinking "What else did I leave?" The only thing I would have gone back for was the "goat paddles" as they cannot be replaced but I had those secured in a sunglass case.

NOTE: Most everything of value has my name, address, phone number and email on it just in case a loose it and someone honest finds it. That may not work but then again I figure I have a better dance of retrieval if someone finds an item labeled that way.

Once on the road I called Lynn and realized that I was coming down with something as well. My nose was running and I was still having concentration issues. I made it home, took a very hot shower and knew that I was sick. I got the cold sweats and spent the rest of the day in bed. I tried to do this blog last night but only made it about halfway through so I am finishing it up today.

I feel much better today but will take it easy today and maybe do a few projects around the shack and maybe look into the MTR to see if it was a radio problem. As it turned out I left nothing on the summit. I found the water bottle inside my pack instead of in the outside pocket. I guess it is a good thing I left when I did. I hate unorganized packing.

I wish 30 meters had worked out better. However, I am still thrilled about the activation and the QSOs I had.

Thanks Chasers, it was a grand time.


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