Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Larch Mountain (W7W/LC-103) SOTA

Peyton and Brook on the way up.
On 25 March Brookelyn, Peyton and I decided to get out and beat the rain with a hike / SOTA activation. I did not alert this one as I was not sure that I would make the summit with my daughter and the possibility of having to make it through some snow. This was almost a big mistake. I tried to post using text but nothing went through until I was back down at my truck. Later I checked the reverse beacon and this would have been successful if I would have spotted. Lesson learned. We made the easy hike to the summit wiith no problems, stopping to have a couple snow ball fights along the way. I had trouble at the beginning with not being able to spot but thanks to KH2TJ and AE9F for finding me and getting things started. Thanks everyone for spotting me and being there. I was getting worried for a minute. All in all this was a great activation out with the kids. I would really recommend this route on the trail rather then on the other side and following the road. A great first activation in Washington! Thanks Etienne for the suggestion!



Cell Signal: 
Verizon - I was showing signal but was still having trouble getting any texts out.




 Radio working conditions: 
Great conditions

Trail Conditions
Awesome - About 200 yards of snow that was about 6 in. deep. Easy to get through.

Weather: 
About 60 degrees but started to cool off at the summit 55 when we got back to the truck.

Fees:
None


EVERYTRAIL ROUTE

PFR3 with 1800 m/ah LiPo - http://www.qrpkits.com/pfr3.html

Contacts: 
Thanks to Todd and Dan for getting those much needed spots out for me. 
Thanks to all the Chasers!!!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

North Chalone Peak (W6/SC-149) SOTA


On 14 March Peyton and I decided late that we were going to head to Pinnacles National Park and do some hiking / SOTA. We arrived at the camping area at Pinnacles about 2330 to find that all of the campsites had been taken. This was not that big of a deal as we were probably just going to throw the sleeping bags in the back of the truck anyway. We parked in the overflow parking area and threw the sleeping bags out and went to sleep. At about 0600 we woke up to frost covered sleeping bags. We tossed them inside the truck and took off, following two other vehicles to the trailhead. There is space for about 12 cars at the TH. Get there early or you will not get one! We ate some breakfast, Cliff bars, and headed up the trail as soon as it was light enough to see it. About 1 mile in I encountered the caves. I knew there was caves but did not realize that our route would take them right through them. They were amazing! We continued on up the trail to the summit. The day was great at about 80 degrees and my only worry was sunburn. We had originally planned to do South Peak also but SOTA always depends on the energy of my trusty companion Peyton. When Peyton is not to motivated to keep going then it is time to head down. He was really excited to get back and explore the caves. If you have never been to PInnacles and have the chance. Do it! The caves are amazing, if they are open. I overheard a Ranger saying that most of the caves are only open in March and again in October depending on the migration pattern of the Bats. We got LUCKY and were there at the right time. 



Cell Signal: 
Good analog signal. Was receiving and sending SOTA goat spots but I would not depend on it.




 Radio working conditions: 
Great conditions

Trail Conditions
Awesome

Weather: 
At wake up about 32 degrees but quickly warmed up to about 80. Cave temperature at a solid 45 degrees. Felt good after the long hike.

Fees:
$5 for park entree. $21 for camping
Setup: 
PFR3 with 1800 m/ah LiPo - http://www.qrpkits.com/pfr3.html
Elecraft T1 Tuner - http://www.elecraft.com/T1/T1.htm - I was trying this new toy out today. Worked amazing! 










Contacts: 

I continue to try and make John's call (KB7HH) KB7SS and he continues to correct me. Somehow I always miss that extra dit at the end. I will get it straight one of these days John. Robert (K6TUY) squeeked in on me at the end of 40m and then was my first contact on 30m. Thanks!
I appreciate everyone who stuck it out for me and continues to stick it out with me on CW. I know that I am not the greatest operator but I do my best to get the job done. This is the first time that I actually showed you my log becuase even it is getting better! In the past it looked pretty scared up! Thank you all so much for sticking with me!
I had 20 Contacts on 3 bands with the PFR3. For more pictures and downloadable gpx tracks see my everytrail post.

Thanks Chasers!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Pt. 970 (W6/NC-422) SOTA Activation

On Sunday 3 March 2014 Peyton and I decided to head out for a hike and a SOTA to try out his new backpack. Peyton decided that he wanted to go do Pt. 970 W6/NC-422. Peyton particularly wanted to go to this summit because we had never completely made it to the summit and also because there was a rope tied to a Eucalyptus tree that he wanted to try to climb. It has been raining a lot in the bay area so we were splitting rain clouds to try and get to the summit. We were good with the rain until we made it to the summit and then it started to come down pretty good. We put up the poncho to protect us and the equipment and then started to put up the antennas. I decided that Peyton would start out on 20 SSB so I set up the EFHW wire through the SOTA tuner. The tuner did not want to tune the wire so I through out the counter poise and it tuned it 1:1 no problem. I quickly remembered that there was a contest going on when I started to look for a clear frequency. We wedged our way in between two stations and hoped that we would be able to get through the contest traffic with our little 10w. Peyton managed to work 10 stations on 20 SSB even with the contest! I would say that is not to bad. I then went to 30 and then 20 CW on the PFR3. In between we also made some lunch. The rain let up just as we were leaving the summit and we did some geocaching on the way down. Just as we were getting to the truck the rain started to pick up again...perfect timing.

Peyton and his new bag at the grove of Eucalyptus trees
The map with the Geo Caches that we found out on the trip.
Cell Signal: 
Full digital signal. Was able to send and receive SOTA goat spots.




 Radio working conditions: 
No issues besides all the contest traffic.

Trail Conditions
There are good trails all the way to the top but very muddy. The cows had also trampled the trail down pretty good with made it even more muddy.

Weather: 
Rainy and about 50 degrees

Fees:
$5 for parking at the Trailhead.













Here is an opportunity to share a online tool that I use to check trail length and elevation. This is from www.runningmap.com  A very handy website!
Everytrail Route
Here is the link to my everytrail route that I used last time - http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=2648877  We went the opposite way this time as it is more scenic. The app was not tracking right so I gave up.

Setup: 
FT857d with 7.5 a/h slab
SOTA tuner with 20m HW wire - http://www.qrpkits.com/sota.html
PFR3 with 1800 m/ah LiPo - http://www.qrpkits.com/pfr3.html
Contacts: 


Under the dome of trees at the summit

Climbing around on the trees

Looking at Sulphur Springs Mountain W6/NC-406

Looking back towards the summit

Can you spot the Geo Cache. This was a tough one to get to. Easy to see but tough to grab.
Thanks to all of the chasers!! See you all on the next one.