Sunday, December 27, 2015

Mount of the Holy Cross Plan for the summer of 2016

Just before Thanksgiving I had to go home to NC to settle my mom and brothers estate. It was a quick trip with no SOTA possible. I went without Lynn as I just needed to have a few days with my sister and get the paperwork done. My sister and I also discussed my brother's ashes and while we all grew up near the beach my brother was not a big fan so we decided that I would bring his ashes back to Colorado and will bring him up to a 14er.

We selected Mount of the Holy Cross as Jim's summit. I have been researching the approach and trail. This looks to be about as difficult as the Mount Rosa ascent that Steve and I did last year (15 miles with over 5,000 feet of elevation gain) so I think we will break it up into two days.

Mount of the Holy Cross is the northernmost 14,000-foot mountain in the Sawatch Range. It was named for the distinctive cross-shaped snowfield on the northeast face. The mountain was proclaimed "Holy Cross National Monument" by Herbert Hoover on May 11, 1929.

This mountain has been the subject of painters, photographers and even a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, (The Cross of Snow). The first publicly available photograph was published in National Geographic magazine. Thomas Moran depicted the mountain in an oil painting, which now is part of the collection of the Museum of the American West, part of the Autry National Center in Los Angeles, California.

The Cross is visible from the top of Vail Mountain, but was first spotted in 1869 from the top of Grays Peak (another fourteener). The Cross is 1400’ high and 750’ wide – it melts each year to fill the Bowl of Tears Lake directly under the east face of the peak.
Now I just need to figure out the best time to do it. I think it will be when Lynn has her summer break from school so most likely in August.
North Ridge approach and common descent mistake

Great looking mountain
 The only part about this hike that concerns me is the 1000 feet ascent you have to do from that camp ground to get back over the pass and back down to the TH. I have a feeling that is going to be the real challenge.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas / NORAD Tracks Santa

Merry Christmas to all the read this blog. Lynn and I just finished our shift at NORAD, tracking Santa and answering phones. It was a grand time.

Looks like extra Communications Support was needed

Lynn, KC0YQF

Entering the Santa Track Ops Center


turn over briefing

Lynn in the thick of it

It was sometimes difficult to hear but Lynn's experience of pulling out weak SOTA chasers pays off!

The tracking screen in our area

Our short is completed
It sure was a lot of fun talking to kids that got excited about being visited by Santa. They had a lot of good and tough questions and we answered them the best we could and provided updates on locations and visit times. I am sure that Santa's trip will be safe and speedy. We have the watch!

Merry Christmas everyone.


Sunday, December 13, 2015


While Lynn and I were up in Denver I stopped in at HRO and quickly saw the SDRPlay hanging on the wall. The SDRPlay is a Radio Spectrum Processor that covers all frequencies between 100 KHz and 2 GHz. I have one of the 20 dollar dongles that can be bought most anywhere and while they are fun to play with most are not near the performance of the SDRPlay.

A deciding factor for me to purchase this was it is compatible with Windows, Linux, Android and Mac. I currently have it running on my Mac Pro.

This is what you get

The radio is around 150 dollars and from what I understand it is only being sold in HRO outlets.  The above picture is everything you get. You will need a printer to USB cable and an antenna that you can connect via the SMA connection. I am using my scanner antenna.

Power and computer interface

Antenna SMA connection
Unlike other dongles this also has a very good web site and videos. Check out SDRPlay web site for more info.

Here is a screen shot.

Below is a video from Robert Nagy, AB5N, that it explains it better than I can. Also he gives a good run down of installing and using the software. It is worth watching if you are just curious or are considering a SDRPlay purchase in the future.

Enjoy and 73,