Sunday, September 21, 2014

An almost perfect SOTA activation (Knights Peak W0C/FR-144)

So what makes a perfect SOTA activation. Points? A lot of QSOs? Easy Hike? Maybe for some those are motivators but for me just being able to summit a peak like Knights Peak with my XYL. The last time I did this summit it was in the winter with wG0AT and we had a grand time.

We used Lynn's KX3 and an End Fed that is always in my pack as a backup. I forgot to pack the Buddipole Vertical which I would have rather used on this rocky summit. We got Lynn setup and despite having 3 bars on my phone I was not able to SMS a text to spot Lynn on the web site so she called CQ. It took an hour to produce just one QSO so we went to 2 meters and got on a local two meter simplex chat freq of 146.460 and worked two more stations. One of the contacts informed me that everyone else was at a breakfast so Lynn went to 146.520 and picked up a mobile station. Four QSOs means she gets the points for this summit but I was not too worried about it because we can always come out again and do it. I was off on my activation time as I did not expect us to get such an early start so I take some of the blame. I would rather not spot at all but use APRS but it has been my experience that chasers do not seem to want to check APRS beacons as much as they use to. Everyone waits for the spot to appear.

Thanks to KE5YYJ who was portable in a park in Texas. Lynn worked him on 20 meters and he mentioned that he wanted to try SOTA but lived in the flat lands. Also thanks to the local 2 meter crowd that gave Lynn those much needed three remaining QSOs. Ray KG0SS, Melvin KD0DRH and James KC0EL all in Colorado Springs.

The summit registry is really secured to the boulder and it has been there for at least ten years. There is even a wrench attached to help you get the cover off.

Summit Registry
The leafs are starting to change colors and there was a lot of activity in this area when we left. When we parked at the makeshift firing range nearby there was only one car. When we left there were several more.

Parking Area/Firing Range
Several people stopped to ask us for directions so at lot of first timers were out in this area. There was a couple of loads of Boy Scouts that were lost (or their Scout Masters were lost). Having been a Scout I was a little disturbed with the lack of preparedness and courtesy of the Scout Masters. Maybe that is because all my Scout Masters were United States Marines. I hope they found where they were trying to get to but more importantly, I hope the lads had a good time.

After Lynn finished her activation I debated if I wanted to operate at all but I did want to see if my friend G0PEB, Rob, was able to hear me in the UK. Rob had his HW-8 out for a SOTA activation and dropped me an email before he headed out. He had his KX3 as a backup so I tried the bands that I thought would work to the old country, 21 Mhz and 24 Mhz. I could not see if he was on due to no cell phone connectivity but Rob did email me that he saw the RBN spot for me on 24 MHz. I did get into Spain so I know 15 Meters was open. After a while I dropped down to 20 meters and got KC7DM and my friend John, N0EVH on summits in OR and MI respectively.

Mount Rosa from Knights Peak
I would have really loved to have at least heard Rob on his HW-8 but maybe another time.

Now I want to get an HW-8!!!!!

I watched some clouds move in and we got back in time to enjoy the rest of the day. It was as nice an activation as they come.

from Frank and Lynn


Bonus video: SOTA activation of Signal Butte:


  1. Frank/Lynn

    Good work. Thanks for looking out for me on the other bands, unfortunately conditions weren't quite right.
    One of these days'll happen, and the qsl card will be on it's way over to you.
    Hope you find a HW-8 soon.
    Rob G0PEB