Friday, June 13, 2014

Aspen Ridge and Bald Mountain SOTA Activation

I was supposed to be in WI with Lynn on vacation but with an older feline we did not want to stress her anymore that absolutely necessary by taking her to the kitty boarder so I stayed home. I did have the leave time already approved so I took the Wednesday through Friday off to do whatever. Whatever included a few SOTA summits, namely Aspen Ridge and Bald Mountain.


I got up earlier than my normal time and was a few hours ahead of myself. It is hard to judge the activation time when you have to drive 100 miles then drive 15 miles of jeep trails. No matter, I could always SMS Spot. I just wanted to get going.

I got to the same place we parked the Goat Wagon when Steve, wG0AT, Dave, NK0E, and I activated this summit last year. The road (185 I think) looks like it got a little worse and a high clearance vehicle is required but I think you can get with 1.5 miles of the TH in a normal car.

I was excited to get up there and get a pileup going but in my excitement I left my cellphone in the Jeep so no self spotting on this summit. I debated heading back down but thought the RBN would pick me up an hour before my scheduled activation time which means I had an hour to go. I was that early!

A lot of deadfall
Clear to see why it got its name
Finally breaking through the Aspens
Great views

When you reach the ridge you follow the fence line to the summit
Easy to follow
More fence
Rolling Hills
Looking at where I would operate from
I threw out a couple of CQs and the ever vigilant Elliott, K6EL, on his home summit in California picked me up. I made 4 other QSOs making it an official activation with out the Internet or a spotting function. I saw later that I was spotted by NS7P but band conditions were not that great anyway so I doubt many heard me. I heard WA2USA in there but he was not hearing me.

I used my trusty KX1 and EF. My 20 meter CW QSOs were with:

K6EL Summit to Summit

Here is a video of that activation. I had turned the audio recorder on but forgot to push record... Therefor no audio for this activation.

If you like, dislike or want to see something else in my videos please let me know. You can comment on youtube or here on my blog. I will entertain all ideas. I am not promising anything but I would like to hear what people would like to see more of (SOTA / Ham Radio / QRP related). 


Just to get to the TH of Bald Mountain you need a high clearance vehicle. However, Bald Mountain does have a gnarly Jeep trail going all the way to the top. I remember last year hanging on in the Goat Wagon as wG0AT expertly made his way up the mountain. I debated on driving up but ultimatley decided that I got the Jeep just for this stuff so up I went. Once you start up you are pretty much committed. I think I could have turned around in a few spots but I was so close to the top that I just kept going. I parked a little closer than last time and walked away from the jeep leaving half my pack (but I had my cellphone). I had the important stuff so I setup, made the QSOs and tore down. I wanted to get off that very exposed summit before the next round of storms came through. I think next time I will just hike up Bald Mountain. It is not worth the chance of breaking down or getting a flat on the sharp rocks.

Thanks to all the chasers on 20 meters CW:

K6EL  Summit to Summit


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