Monday, January 2, 2017

A year ago today and 10650 Summits On The Air (SOTA) activation

A year ago today (2 Jan 2016) I was able to achieve Mountain Goat status by completing 1000 activator points. This was not my achievement alone. For a lot of those summits my friend Steve, wG0AT, and my wife, KC0YQF, was there with me. They both have been guiding me on this adventure. It is as much their achievement as mine.

"No man is an island" as John Donne has said.

As Lynn is narrowing in on 1,000 activator points herself I can reflect at how lucky I am to share the same hobby with my better half. It has been great to watch Lynn grow from new General to accomplished pileup tamer in a short period of time. SOTA has a way of adding a lot of experience in a compressed time period. I can't help to think of how proud my Dad would be of her. I really wish he could chase us.

10650 Activation

Today Lynn and I did 10650 which is an unnamed summit (its altitude is 10650 feet). It is less than half a mile and only about 700 or 800 feet vertical ascent. It is steep in spots and while we were hiking up we were quite comfy despite the low temps, 20 degrees at the TH.

Just started up and yes, Lynn always smiles

Getting steep but still smiling

Near the summit, still smiling

As we came to the summit we got chilled by the strong winds. I knew we would not have much time. I figured we would try 2 meters but only one station in Salida answered our call.

I have been having a lot of problems with my handheld but was hoping to knock out 4 QSOs quickly on VHF without deploying an HF antenna. That did not happen so I threw up an antenna and got setup. My hands at this point were freezing. Once we got Lynn setup I spotted her on 20 meters. Soon after Lynn started her activation my phone died so after she got done I took over on SSB. I had wanted to do PSK31 and some CW but not today. The wind was really brutal and there was no place to hide.

Not sure why I took this but think I was trying to take a pic of the KX2 in the snow and had the camera reversed

We packed up in a hurry just throwing loose items into packs. I even put my throw rock into my pack and laughed when I got home I saw it.

Antenna throw rock made the trip home with us

We did manage to get everything we brought up save the one item that I intended on leaving. We made it down but were almost to the Jeep before I felt better and warmer.

The only causality was my backpack. I must of snagged it on a branch because I got a pretty good rip in it. These things happen and if I cannot fix it I will get a new one.

Lynn said "it was a brutal activation" and I have to agree. Besides the phones dying, my voice recorder died as well. I was counting on it to help with my handwriting but got it sorted without it.

This summit does not offer a lot of views due to trees

I am not understanding the APRS feature on my Kenwood TH72A. This handheld is pretty beatup and I have had to repair it in the past but for a different issue. I may have changed a setting but it seems the only time it sends out a beacon is when I do it manually or right when I initally turn it on, I am pretty sure I have it setup to do it automatically. Perhaps it is time to get reacquainted with its features or in other words "read the book."

I would say that we earned our 9 points today (6 points plus 3 points for bonus season).

Thanks to Brad WA6MM who activated this summit a few days ago and laid down a good path. It makes all the difference if you do not have to break new snow.

WA6MM tracks near TH

WA6MM tracks near summit

We made it home, Lynn has homework to get caught up on and I have many things around the shack to do. Maybe we will head over to REI to look at new packs!



GPS Track:


  1. Hi Frank,
    Great report! It appears you had cooler weather than I experienced a few days earlier. My phone has stopped working when temps fall below 30 deg. I now carry it close to my chest so it stays warmer. I think Lynn's smile was frozen in place ;-).
    73, Brad

    1. Brad, Lynn got a kick out of that.

      73 Frank