On January 5th the whole family and I headed up to Black Mountain for the first SOTA and Geocaching trip of the year. This was also a practice run for my 8 year old Peyton to prepare him for our upcoming backpacking trip. You can see in some of the pictures that he carried a little bit of a load in his pack. Peyton carried the Arrow Antenna, 7.5 AH slab for the FT857d, the blanket, the Sandwiches in a small cooler, and a few other odds and ends. My wife also carried our 1 year old daughter all the way to the top of the summit and a good distance back down. She by far carried the most weight! I carried the radios and pushed the jogging stroller in case on of the younger kids needed a ride. My 5 year old daughter Brookelyn, 5 year old niece Makailla, and 4 year old Son Colten all made it the whole distance and had a great time. Peyton also got on the air for a few SOTA contacts and some Kids on the Air contacts as well. He had a great time. Delma did her best to entertain the baby while Peyton and I messed around on the radio. I also attempted my second CW activation with 1 contact on 7 mhz and a handful on 10 mhz. I still need practice but will keep it up with an activation starting with a few CW contacts. Bear with me! The hardest part was sorting through the pileup and dealing with the band fading. I would hear a signal real strong and respond and get nothing back.
Route: From Moffett Field Exit in Mountain View, CA take HWY 85 South (4.6 Miles) to HWY 280 North (6.5? miles) to Page Mill Road, Left on Page Mill Road (4.2 Miles) To small parking lot on the Right side of the road.
Cell Signal: Yes (Verizon). Digital Signal Questionable but with patience will be possible to self spot.
Interference: None on HF. Though there did seem to be a little on VHF on the HT. Every few seconds a very loud buzz would come through on 52.
Distance: Round Trip 4.5 Miles
Trail Condition: Well Maintained Easy to follow fire road and trail.
EveryTrail Route: http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=2444047 I did not actually track this trip but we did take the same route as I have in the past.
Setup: PFR3 with internal AA batteries and FT857d with 7.5 AH slab. I used the MP1 Super Antenna for both radios.
Contacts: 28 total with 8 cw contacts. Peyton and I also got some help from kids day as Peyton hung out on 14.282.500 calling cq kids day for a while.
The kids heading up the trail.
Delma on the way up with Kimber. This was probably a 45 lb pack 2.5 miles to the summit.
It did not take long and she was out!
Back awake and keeping mom busy at the summit. The hardest part is keeping her from eating all the dirt up there!
Now it is time to explore all the trails.
A little view of the valley.
If there is a tree they will climb it.
Peyton playing with his sister.
Mckailla who is our niece who has come to live with us for a while.
Peyton and I working the pileup. You can see the PFR there and the MP1 behind us.
Peyton did a great job today. He did a number of the SOTA contacts and then followed up with a few kids on the air contacts. I told him that he could go until he was tired or until the battery died. After a little while of calling CQ he decided that he was done. I think that mom was happy about that!
Mom and Kimber doing "selfies" while we were playing radio.
We always have to find the benchmark!
Our last Summit picture before starting down.
This tree was right before we got back to the trail head. It looked like a neat tree to play in and get a picture.
Thanks to all the chasers and everyone that puts the time into SOTA to make it what it is.