Sunday, January 25, 2015

How not to do a SOTA activation

Lynn and I took our time getting to the TH and hit the road at 0830 and got there about 0930. Not a lot of traffic and the sun was out. Temp at the TH was about 30 degrees. We did our summit approach from the North side (shaded side) in three to four feet of snow. It was rough going and with no sun the temp was much lower. Regardless we trekked on. As the bushwack got more vertical we took a break for some tea and to rest before the final ascent. After our break we continued on. Near the summit I noticed my new FT1DR handheld was no longer in my pack. I yelled down to Lynn to pick it up if she saw it but figured with the snow the way it was it was gone until spring. Lynn soon found it by stepping on it and returned it to my pack. I noticed the GPS was not working anymore so I just turned it off.

I know Lynn was cold but figured that once we got back into the sun we would be ok. Once we were on the summit in the sun I threw the antenna in a tree and setup the KX3. I pulled the handheld out, turned it on (GPS still not working) and went through my checklist to get a spot in on the web site. I did not check the freq (cold was affecting me as well) and spotted myself on 14.061 which was where AD5A was operating. I got a quick summit to summit in and figured the crowd would find me a little up in freq after they worked AD5A, which they did. I kept checking on Lynn as she was not saying much and I was trying to encourage her to drink some more hot tea. She was complaining about her feet being cold so I knew our time was limited. To top it off the Elecraft paddles seemed to be acting up and that could had been due to snow on the contacts. I don't know but I was having a hard time sending coherent CW.

Lynn did not want to go through he trouble of spotting again and getting on HF SSB because sometimes the pileups can go for 30 to 60 minutes so she used her handheld to make a few VHF QSOs. To get her last QSO I headed down out of the activation zone and we had a QSO. At this point I noticed her speech was getting slurred so she meet me off the summit and we hastily started down. She had a few moments of sickness and not wanting to move but I kept prodding her to get down the mountain and she kept going. I sure did not want to have to drag her off the mountain.

I started thinking about what was in my back and I knew I could get a fire going and I could have made a shelter but that is just the stuff you think about in these situations. Lynn made it down and once we were on the road walking back to the Jeep in the sun she was getting better. By the time we got in the Jeep with the heat on she was fine. Driving out there was interesting, a fellow in front of me slid in a turn and side swiped a truck coming the other way. I almost did the same but managed to steer towards the snow bank and let the snow stop me. A few miles later we came upon a Toyota Truck that went into a snow bank and I was able to pull him out without much effort. Almost to the end of the road there were no less than three tow trucks trying to get a car that went over the side. It was a pretty steep area. I wanted to stop and check it out but I needed to get Lynn home.

So, no pictures or video. I did get some video of the inside of my pack as my gopro must have turned itself on. I am just glad to be home. I am glad they are not all like this.

Sorry for cutting the CW activation short but I am sure the chasers understand.



  1. Frank,
    Glad to hear that you and Lynn are OK. I may not be a chaser (much) but am glad that you all got off the mountain and Lynn is feeling better. Thanks for sharing as it keeps it in perspective for the rest of us. 73

  2. Matt, thanks for the comment. We were never in too much danger as that summit is not far from the road so I was positive Lynn could make it but it did scare me a bit.