Monday, October 26, 2015

Midland Hill near Buena Vista Colorado or W0C/SP-117

Midland Hill will always be a special place for me. Not only was I the first to activate it but mostly because it was my first SOTA activation on 6 July 2012.

Lynn and I got a late start for several reasons but had near perfect weather for the hike up and down.




KC0YQF


K0JQZ

Hike Profile

GPS Track


GPS Track on Google Earth

Not much to say Ham Radio wise save that 20 meters seemed to be working very well.  Lynn worked 17 Meters due to the SSB contest going on and she worked the following stations:

WA7SB

N4EX

KX7L

N2JBJ

K6EL

KG6AFA

KW3F

KD2GKO

WA2FON  Summit to Summit

I started out trying to work another Activator on PSK 31 but was unable to pull him out however, I did have a nice run on 20 meter CW:

W0MNA

W0ERI

AE5B

NS7P

N0EVH

W9FHA

W7RV

K4MF

N8BB

VE2JCW

EA2IF

K4YA

W7CNL

NU7Y

W5ODS

NE4TN

WA7SB

KW3F

K0JEM

N6JZT

W6JP

AC1Z

AC7A

K4YND

AA7EQ

W1ZU


I had to forgo the dipole and went with the EF due to space on the summit. The linked dipole is a much better performer but with the bands like they were even an a compromise antenna would have yielded good results.

It was a long drive and we did not get home till almost dark. We were exhausted when we got home.

72 Frank
K0JQZ








Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Elecraft SP3 Speakers

Today my new speakers arrived. All I have to say is Wow! What a difference a quality speaker makes. After I hooked them up I worked V73D first call (5 Watts to a Vertical). Of course there are several factors that enabled that and the main one was propagation. They were loud! After I found their split freq (using the P3 and second receiver) it was a simple matter of giving them a call. Fun!!!



Closer View
72
Frank
K0JQZ

Sunday, October 18, 2015

10090 or W0C/SP-101

This was a last minute plan. Lynn wanted to get out for a hike and she had never been on this summit and I kind of forgot about it. It is in the area we are looking at land and cabins so I figured we would enjoy our Sunday and do this one. It is a short but steep one and it takes a lot more effort than it looks like it would.

It looks like an easy walk up

Looks are deceiving and the last bit is very vertical

The reward is the views
I decided to use the linked dipole again and it performed very well as I have come to expect it would.

Lynn ran through the 20 meter SSB pileup very quickly and after calling for any last callers several times I moved to CW. Here are the stations Lynn worked:


NG6R
N4EX
WA2USA
K4MF
N8BB
K6TUY
N6JZT
K5WLT
VE2JCW
AE9F
KE6YX
WA9FTT
N1GB

Here are the stations I worked on 20 and 30 meter CW:

N6JZT
W4DOW
KX7L
N1EU
WH6LE
N8BB
K6TUY
WB4MNK
NG6R
VE2JFM
NK6A  Summit to Summit

Lynn working through the pileup
K0JQZ on 20 Meter CW

center of linked dipole supported by a fishing pole

one leg of the linked dipole
After CW I went to PSK31 and did not get any takers but it was nice to see that everything worked  without issue.  I am using the beta firmware for the PX3 to allow keyboard entry. It works well! Not pictured (and not on the summit) is a cheap windows based tablet that I can use to update the memories if so desired. I requires nothing more than a cable between the radio and the tablet.

NOTE: I noticed my spot for PSK31 did not go through on the SOTAWatch website. I am not sure why but am positive that is why I did not get anyone calling me.

PX3 with cardboard sunlight shield, KX3 and rollup keyboard

Of note, Steve, wG0AT and I operated in the same spot on the first activation of this summit and his picture of me operating here became what is now my current SOTA QSL card.

Panoramic Shot
I was a perfect day on the summit. The wind and clouds did pick up but we had already enjoyed an hour with no wind and mild temps.

72
Frank
K0JQZ

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

South Peak W0C/SR-111

I was unable to walk, much less hike on Friday and Saturday. Apparently I did something to my foot and it felt like I had a mild sprang so Friday and Saturday I was off my feet. I felt better on Saturday evening and I thought we could do a SOTA summit on Sunday before Lynn had to go back to work on Monday (I have the Federal Holiday off). Lynn was really wanting to get out!

We headed to South Peak or W0/SR-111 which is less than 13,000 feet (I think it is around 12,800 or so). I really wanted to get one more 14er in before winter but do not think that is going to happen and think the wind was a little much for a 14er on this day.

As Lynn and I headed up in altitude the wind was getting worse. I am not sure what the gust measurement was but it sure was a lot more difficult with that wind against us. I was worried that we would not be able to setup on the summit due to the winds. I was right! However, we got lucky and found a cliff on the side that took us completely out of the wind. In fact, behind the cliff it was very pleasant.
Views from the hike

More views

I decided that in order to maximize our 5 watts, with current band conditions, I would setup my newly built linked dipole antenna. I have made a few of these in the past but I took my time with this one and got in matched very well from 40 meters up. There was not enough room to deploy it fully as a 40 meter dipole but utilizing the cliff area I was able to get it setup for use on every band save 40.

Once I hooked up the mic I did a quick check I found out the mic was not working. Something happened when I plugged it in and it just stopped working. I was not sure if it was a radio setting to the microphone itself.

I really did not want Lynn to leave the summit without her QSOs and seemed to remember that there was an internal mic or something on the KX3? For the life of me I could not figure that out. At almost 13,000 feet I just was not functioning very well.

After fiddling with the radio I noticed that the VOX and the transmit function worked so I decided I would just hit the transmit button on the KX3 and Lynn could talk into the mic. This worked well enough for Lynn to run her pileup and she started pushing the transmit button on her own as she got more comfortable with the setup.

Trying to fix the mic
Lynn smiling after running the SSB pileup

The highlight of this activation was Lynn talking to Kylee at the helm of ND0C. It is always a pleasure to hear Kylee's voice break through the pileup.


Lynn chasers on 20 meter SSB:

NG6R

AE4FZ

WA2USA

N4MJ

KJ6NHF  Summit to Summit

ND0C

W6JMP

N4EX

K7HLN

WA6KYR

KG5EIU

W5/G4JBI

VE6AO


I then got on 20 meter CW and had a few problems with my paddle, operator error, but soon got that sorted and I worked the following stations:


KG3W

WA6KYR

ND0C

WA9PWP

N4MJ

NS7P

NG6R

I intended to go to 30 meters and other bands but the wind had shifted direction and the fishing pole holding the dipole fell to the ground just as I was standing up to change bands. I took that as a sign and we packed up and headed out. Getting back into that wind was brutal but we descended quickly and completed another activation with a few challenges.

Listening to the signal reports Lynn was getting it seemed the new dipole antenna was working well. I have started carrying the EF as a backup as it always works but, with the band conditions lately I wanted to have a little extra. I have one more antenna I want to try which is a modified OCF Dipole.
The Linked Dipole
The SOTA part is always fun but building and using your own equipment just adds to the enjoyment.

My foot felt ok but I started to feel a little bit of pain as we hiked up and down. I am feeling it a little more as I write this but can walk without a cane so it is healing up nicely.

Thanks Chasers!

72
Frank
K0JQZ