Saturday, November 26, 2016

Cheesman Mountain and a new GPS

We started out he day heading to the TH of Burntop Mountain but as we drove through Woodland Park there was still a lot of snow on the ground at 9,000 feet and we needed to get to over 11,000 feet. I just did not want to spend all day in waist deep snow on a steep hike. We opted to turn around and head for Cheesman Mountain near the little town of Deckers, Colorado. It is a straight forward hike with a lot of deadfall, today it was 24 degrees at the TH so we bundled up and hit the trail. I kind of screwed up on our ascent and wanted to take a more direct approach but I quickly realized I should not had done that and stuck to the published route. We made it but not without cost. Lynn got sick near the summit but after a short rest and some food she was feeling a lot better. That kind of scared me a bit as there is only cell phone coverage on the rock that towers above the summit about 10 feet. This outlines the need for a checklist so I do not forget my handheld with APRS (and another checklist on how to use it). With APRS I can send a distress signal if need be. I hope to never have to use that but can if needed. However, I need to bring the radio with me. I think that is the last time I forget it.

I told Lynn we could head back down as this was only a 1 point summit but she would not have that. She was there to activate!

Lynn worked 20 meters SSB and had a lot of QSOs. Her is her log:

















There were a couple of calls we never heard before and it is always a blast to hear new people getting into SOTA, activating and/or chasing. 

I did not have the pileup Lynn did. The CQWW CW Contest was in full swing so I went to 17 Meters and worked the following chasers:









Walt, NE4TN, made a recording of my CQ. It is really cool! Thanks Walt.

That is 5 watts from an Elecraft KX2 to a 29 foot wire with a 9 to 1 UNUN and about 6 feet of RG-174 coax. Colorado to North East TN.

It is always nice when the chasers works us both even though there are no additional points for them. With out those dedicated chasers I would had have trouble activating this one.

I tried to go to 30 and 40 meters and was not able to get another spot in no matter how I held my tongue. I called a few CQs on both bands on the QRP freq with no joy. That was ok as I wanted to start heading down. Lynn was feeling much better and she had no problem with the descent. When we got back to the Jeep the temp at the TH was up to near 50 degrees.

A few pictures:

Lynn getting her warmies on

Cheesman Lake

Lynn making her way up

Pano pic on the ridge line

Summit in view

Cheesman Mountain


I have been using an Etrex 20 by Garmin since 2012 as my GPS unit. I like it a lot but my one complaint about it is it is horrible in a forested area. Also I broke the Mini SD Card holder so sometimes I have to reseat it before a hike to get the map to come up. I decided to give the Etrex Touch 25 a go.
Etrex 25 Touch PROS:
- A lot of features
- I get signal in my basement quickly
- It is much quicker to acquire and locate
- Larger screen
- Touch screen
- Light weight

- Battery hog I was surprised to only see 1 bar at the end of our hike (I will see if I can turn off some features to increase battery life)
- Touch Screen cannot be used with gloves on

If I can turn off some features to increase battery life then I will be very pleased with it. If not I will have to go back to the Etrex 20 as it still works fine and does not drain the batteries that much.

Etrex 25 touch on left and etrex 20 on right


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