Sunday, June 22, 2014

Red Top Mountain (W7W/CW-061) SOTA

From Left to Right Colten, Brookelyn, Lily, Makailla,
and my wife Delma. Don't forget Charlie the dog.
Kimber is on my back in the carrier. 
On 21 June the family and I headed out to Ritzville, WA to pick up my oldest daughter, Lily. Of course you know that I cannot drive 2/3 of the way across the state of WA and not find a SOTA to do. As I was looking at the map I noticed that there was a geocache ( the top of Red Top Mountain, which normally means it is reachable. I then took a look at the Washington Trail Association page ( and noticed that this was an easy hike and was kid friendly, more about that soon. So off we go to pick up Lily leaving at about 0930. We planned to meet at approximately 1500 and were right on schedule. As you can see this is the middle of a long day. 4 hours drive to Ritzville and then a few hours to the TH. We were at the summit at about 1845. The view was great and all the kids had a fun time. I will say that dad was a little stressed. The East side of the summit is about 200ft of drop off and there is not much room to run around. Which leads me to the personalities of the the kids at the top. Colten immediately finds the tallest rocks and wants to climb on all of them, Brookelyn is right behind him and has an obsession with looking off the edge of the cliff, Makailla is freaking about the ant that is crawling on her legs, and Lily as always is helping out with Kimber who is the typical baby and exploring, and Delma has total control and is calm while all this is happening. All the while I am working on contacts on the radio. My wife Delma is doing great watching the kids but I just cannot concentrate with the 200ft cliff near my side. Needless to say there was only 5 quick contacts and then the stress level was to high and I had to call it quits. We made our way down the hill and made it back home in Olympia just a few minutes before midnight.

I will take this opportunity to tell you about some tricks that I have in my bag. I like to use the map at to look for local summits. This if for two reasons; the map is good and shows a lot of the summits and if there is a geochace on the top of a summit it is likely that I can get up there...somehow. I then can reference the summit/geocache that I see on the map with one of the SOTA mapping softwares that are out there and see if it is indeed a summit. I use both the mapping at and, These provide great resources for getting to a summit. I am also going to try to start uploading my tracks on the sotamaps page. 

Another resource that I use is I like to use this to figure out trail distances. This only works if you can see the trail on a map or just want approximations.

Here is one for all of you that are looking for line of sight S2S possibilities (Thanks Etienne for this one) 

                                                                                Cell Signal:
Digital signal at the summit (Verizon) I was able to get my spots out on SOTA goat. Once of the summit there is nothing until you get back to the nearest town. At least 25 miles.

Did not try any VHF

 Radio working conditions: 
For the quick contacts it was great. There is a nice flagpole to use as a support for your wire antenna and a nice rock table next to it.

Trail Conditions
Great .5 mile trail. to the summit

Great weather today!

NW Forest pass required.

My Driving Route:
See the link and pictures along with a zoomable / adjustable map at
PFR3 with 1800 m/ah LiPo -
TeNeKe for CW


I apologize to those that may have been patiently waiting for me to change bands. I know that everyone understands the complications with kids on summits. I was a little selfish and pulled the first few contacts and then pulled the radio off the air...or maybe it was just a late activation with not too many contacts.

Plans for more summits over the next couple weeks

To view all the pictures from this trip go to:




  1. Great write up Matt. I always enjoy seeing your pictures and reading your words especially when you bring the family along for the adventure. Thanks Matt, 73 Frank K0JQZ

    1. Thanks Frank, We look forward to getting down there to Colorado one of these days. I am glad that people appreciate the kids and the blogs. Sometimes they cut my activations short but they are so much fun. I just know that some people are scratching their heads and wondering why I don't stay longer / switch bands...well I am sure that they understand by now. If you see "with kids" on my activation it really means, work me quick I am not sure how long it will last. Hi. Take Care Frank, thanks for reading.