Sunday, May 25, 2014

Dennie Ahl Hill (W7W/SO-079) SOTA

On 25 May 2014 I decided to give mom some much needed time alone at home and took the other 4 kids (Peyton, Brookelyn, Colten, and Makailla) out of the house for some time out in the woods. Of course this was going to consist of Geocaches, a picnic, and a SOTA squeezed in. Of course since we are up in the Pacific Northwest now we are going to have to deal with the rain. I figure that it is better to learn how to deal with it then wait for it to go away. If I wait for it to quit raining here I will never get any activations in! So we headed up to the hills. There was quite a few things that I wanted to check out in the Southern Olympic area and one of them was Lake Cushman. It appeared that I could check out the lake and then head around the southern end of the lake to pick up a SOTA or two. We checked out the lake and had a picnic lunch along the side of it. Then we headed to the south but there was no way to get throught the damn on the South side of the lake. So I put the coordinates in my GPS and started heading south on 101. The GPS took me right to the summit. I kept an eye on the summit and stopped out of the activation zone and got the bag out and headed the last little bit up to the top and sent the kids out looking for the Geocache. Once I was set up I ran back down to the truck and brought it up to the summit. I wanted the truck there in case the kids got to wet and cold. In the end they ended up playing out in the rain the whole time and found the tad poles that were in the puddles very interesting. There was a decent amount of area for them to run around also. Contacts were very tough today with all the contest traffic making it hard to find a clear frequency. Just when I was just about to stop on HF and bag for a VHF contact Elliot, K6EL, called me and told me where there was a clear frequency. Thanks Elliot! This made it easy and Tommy (W7RV) and Rich (N4EX) were there when I got on frequency. Thanks!!! I also did a little recon for several other 1 & 2 point summits in the area and a good day to the area could likely yield 3 or 4 summits if I just took Peyton with me. The near future is looking toward these summits and some good camping and fishing in the area. 



Waterfall near Cushman Lake.
Cell Signal: 
Verizon - Full 3G signal. No issues with calls or data spotting. After you drop off of the summit you are going to lose all cell signal though.

Repeaters:
I was able to get into the OARS (Olympia Amateur Radio Society) repeater on 147.36 mhz, 103.5 PL with full quieting.




 Radio working conditions: 
Horrible. The biggest issue was the contest traffic which left me pretty much on 30m for my activation. I did get a few contacts on 20m and 40m which were extremely helpful in making it a successful activation.

Trail Conditions
Road all the way to the top. You can drive all the way up but there are a couple of pull offs right outside the activation to make for a good approach for SOTA.

Weather: 
About 50 degrees and rainy!

Fees:
None




EVERYTRAIL ROUTE


From Olympia take HWY 101 North to West Skohomish Valley Road. You will have to follow forest service roads from there. If you have a GPS follow the everytrail link and download the GPX tracks into your device. They will take you right there.
As you can see we did a fair amount of traveling today. I thought that originally we would be able to come around the south side of the lake. Do not go this way as the damn that creates the lake is locked up tight. You must head further south and come around the less obvious way. The road is good and accessable by any vehicle, unless your vehicle is lowered then to bad for you.
http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=2794961

Geocache Screenshot. Notice there is one right at the summit.

Setup: 
PFR3 with 1800 m/ah LiPo - http://www.qrpkits.com/pfr3.html
AME Porta Paddle II - http://www.americanmorse.com/portapaddle.htm I am back to the Porta Paddle now. I took it apart and cleaned it up and it is working well. The Te-Ne-Ke is still in the pack as a back up.

Contacts: 

Used the Rite in the Rain pad today. I think that I will switch to this even on non rain days. Easier to write in any format that I feel like!


Thanks to my few loyal Chasers! Sorry to everyone else. Tough conditions today.

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