Recent SOTA Activations

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Willson Peak (W6/NC-182) SOTA Activation

Summit: Willson Peak W6/NC-182

On the 22nd of September I finally made my way into Henry Coe State Park again to activate this unactivated summit. After Bill's HIll earlier in the year this peak had to wait for the weather to cool off. Henry Coe is notorious for some very hot temperatures and very little shade. I left the home QTH at about 0600 and arrived and started at 0700. It was 48 degrees and very much appreciated. The trip got interesting when about 2 miles from the trailhead the check guages light came on in my truck. I noticed that the truck was not charging at the rate that it should. Earlier I had smelt a wierd smell but had chocked in up to the garlic in the garlic capitol of the world, Gilroy, CA. I guess that burning battery can smell alot like garlic! Anyway, I continued on to the trailhead figuring that my truck stuck in a parking lot was better then on a narron, at times one lane, road. When I got there I popped the hood and 1 of the 2 batteries on the 2007 Ram 3500 was leaking over and smoking. Of course at this time a check of the cell phone yielded no signal. I remembered from Bills Hill that when I was up on the summit that I had spotty signal so I got to stepping. I arrived at the summit at about 0830 about 30 min. before activation time a proceeded to call Firestone and get a battery that my XYL went and picked up and brought out to me. This only took about 5 dropped calls with Firestone and my XYL to take care of. In the end the Activation was great with 31 total QSO's and my first SOTA DX which was to Scotland! After the activation Delma and the kids met me and we did some geo-cacheing. 

Route: HWY 101 South, Leavesley Rd/CA 152 W. towards Gilroy, Left on Leavesley Rd, Left on New Ave, Right on Roop Rd, Straight on Gilroy Hotsprings Rd, TH on Right.

Cell Signal: Yes, Spotty (Verizon). I was able to send texts to my XYL to spot but digital and SOTA goat was not going to happen

Interference: None. I had absolutely no noise on the top of this one and was able to pull some really week signals. Really low signals were very copyable.

Distance: Round Trip 6.4 Miles. 

Trail Condition: Well traveled dirt path. Steep at times.TH is at about 800 Ft. and Summit is at 2651 ft. About 1800 ft. elevation change.

Setup: FT857d, MP1 SuperAntenna, 6 Counter poises at 1/4 wavelength, 12 ft telescoping whip, 7.5 A/H SLAB.

Contacts: 31 Contacts, 1 S2S with W7DDM, A Couple of these were dups on different bands, these were relaying information on other Summits and helping to spot. Thanks for all the help with this.

A good picture of what most of the trail looked like. There was small amounts of fire roads on the way.

Some great pictures in and above the clouds on the way up!

There is a deer in this picture! A little hard to see but it is there.

Some more great cloud photos.

 Benchmarks at the summit.

 This is Bills Hill across the Valley. I was lucky to come off of that hill with no Poison oak. It was everywhere.

 After I was done with the SOTA activation Delma and the Kids met me for some Geo-Caching. 4 more found today!

My log:

QSO: 18165 SS 2013-09-22 1753 KF7PXT        58         KC3RT         58          
QSO: 18165 SS 2013-09-22 1752 KF7PXT        59         N1EU          55          
QSO: 18165 SS 2013-09-22 1750 KF7PXT        22         MM0USU        33          
QSO: 18165 SS 2013-09-22 1749 KF7PXT        21         KI4SVM        55          
QSO: 18165 SS 2013-09-22 1748 KF7PXT        22         WA4HMX        22          
QSO: 18165 SS 2013-09-22 1748 KF7PXT        55         W6UB          53          
QSO: 18165 SS 2013-09-22 1748 KF7PXT        53         N7UN          53          
QSO: 18165 SS 2013-09-22 1748 KF7PXT        57         K6EL          57          
QSO: 18165 SS 2013-09-22 1743 KF7PXT        54         N4EX          54          
QSO: 18165 SS 2013-09-22 1742 KF7PXT        58         KC3RT         56          
QSO: 18165 SS 2013-09-22 1742 KF7PXT        59         KA7CVJ        51          
QSO: 14652 SS 2013-09-22 1720 KF7PXT        59         KG6NRI        59          
QSO: 71950 SS 2013-09-22 1648 KF7PXT        58         W7JET         53          
QSO: 71950 SS 2013-09-22 1645 KF7PXT        59         K6TUY         58          
QSO: 71950 SS 2013-09-22 1642 KF7PXT        33         N5XL          33          
QSO: 71930 SS 2013-09-22 1637 KF7PXT        33         NS7P          44          
QSO: 71870 SS 2013-09-22 1636 KF7PXT        22         W7DDM         22          
QSO: 14347 SS 2013-09-22 1612 KF7PXT        33         NS7P          33          
QSO: 14347 SS 2013-09-22 1611 KF7PXT        55         N0QAU         55          
QSO: 14347 SS 2013-09-22 1609 KF7PXT        56         AA7DK         56          
QSO: 14347 SS 2013-09-22 1608 KF7PXT        55         AD5A          55          
QSO: 14347 SS 2013-09-22 1607 KF7PXT        43         WN1E          33          
QSO: 14347 SS 2013-09-22 1606 KF7PXT        56         VE2JCW        22          
QSO: 14347 SS 2013-09-22 1606 KF7PXT        55         ND0C          44          
QSO: 14347 SS 2013-09-22 1605 KF7PXT        22         KC3RT         33          
QSO: 14347 SS 2013-09-22 1604 KF7PXT        32         N4EMG         33          
QSO: 14347 SS 2013-09-22 1601 KF7PXT        22         WX4ET         22          
QSO: 14347 SS 2013-09-22 1601 KF7PXT        58         W0MNA         25          
QSO: 14347 SS 2013-09-22 1600 KF7PXT        57         WB5USB        42          
QSO: 14347 SS 2013-09-22 1600 KF7PXT        55         N4EX          34          
QSO: 14347 SS 2013-09-22 1559 KF7PXT        58         K1JD          59      

Thanks to all the Chasers.

Rocky Ridge (W6/NC-268) SOTA Activation

Summit: Rocky Ridge (W6/NC-268)

On the 20th of September I activated this summit with a co-worker who is interested in Ham Radio and SOTA. I have been telling him all about it and I thought the best way for understanding is to see it in progress. We had to make a trip to some local areas for planning so I found this summit and we decided to activate. Not to many photos on this one and the two that I have should show why.

Cell Signal: Yes (Verizon / AT&T) No issues with sending or receiving information off of SOTA goat on the top of this one.

Interference: None. I had absolutely no noise on the top of this one and was able to pull some really week signals. I like the fact that I can make a 5/0 contact. Technically I never give that report as it sounds rediculous but I can truely say that there are summits that I am on that my meter on the 857d does not move at all but I can still here the caller 100%

Distance: Round Trip 2.6 Miles. This is a fairly steep trail. You start off at about 1,000 ft and climb t0 2,000 ft. in just over a mile. Definitely gets the heart going.

Trail Condition: Paved road for most of the trip. There is dirt trails that you can take to make it shorter. The last 1/2 mile is a well maintained dirt path.

Setup: FT857d, MP1 SuperAntenna, 6 Counter poises at 1/4 wavelength, 12 ft telescoping whip, 7.5 A/H SLAB.

Contacts: 14 Contacts on a fairly quick activation, all SSB.

This was the view I had for pretty much the whole trip. I could only see a little bit in front of me with all the Clouds.

Another View. Sorry for the lack of pictures. Not much to see today!

My Log::

QSO: 71850 SS 2013-09-20 1701 KF7PXT        58         WA6RIC        54          
QSO: 71850 SS 2013-09-20 1700 KF7PXT        58         K6TUY         47          
QSO: 71850 SS 2013-09-20 1656 KF7PXT        55         N6KZ          55          
QSO: 71850 SS 2013-09-20 1654 KF7PXT        57         NS7P          33          
QSO: 14347 SS 2013-09-20 1647 KF7PXT        55         K5DEZ         55          
QSO: 14347 SS 2013-09-20 1643 KF7PXT        43         WA4HMX        43          
QSO: 14347 SS 2013-09-20 1642 KF7PXT        33         WX4ET         33          
QSO: 14347 SS 2013-09-20 1640 KF7PXT        55         WG0AT         55          
QSO: 14347 SS 2013-09-20 1640 KF7PXT        54         N4EX          34          
QSO: 14347 SS 2013-09-20 1639 KF7PXT        57         WB5USB        55          
QSO: 14347 SS 2013-09-20 1639 KF7PXT        57         N4MJ          55          
QSO: 14347 SS 2013-09-20 1638 KF7PXT        59+        K6EL          59+         
QSO: 14347 SS 2013-09-20 1637 KF7PXT        59         K8TE          59          
QSO: 14347 SS 2013-09-20 1637 KF7PXT        59         AE4FZ         54  

Thanks to all the Chasers!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Santa Rosalia (W6/CC-062) SOTA Activation

On the 7th of September I activated Santa Rosalia Mountain. This was a great activation on a hot day. Plenty of Red Woods for shade on the way up and plenty of trees at the top for shade also. This was a great local hike for NA SOTA day. Lots of Ants and flies at the top. 

Driving Route: This is the route that I took to get there. Right at the right to Buzzard Lagoon Rd there is a good place to pull your car over. Though you could technically go futher then this the road gets pretty crowded with Bikes and the road gets pretty rough that you would need high clearance and 4wd. It is an easy 2 mile walk from here.

Cell Signal: Yes (Verizon) No issues with sending or receiving information off of SOTA goat on the top of this one.

Interference: None. Loma Prieta is not far away from this one so it gets all the attention for putting up local antennas.

Distance: Round trip about 4 miles. Not to steep but very gradual.

Trail Condition: Fire Road. In all actuality a jeep can make it most of the way to the summit if the gates are open. You will probably upset the bikers if you drive on the road though as they have pretty much claimed this road.

EveryTrail Route: I did track this trip but before I uploaded it to the website my cell phone got damaged and I was unable to upload. 

Setup: FT857d, MP1 SuperAntenna, 6 Counter poises at 1/4 wavelength, 12 ft telescoping whip, J37 Straight Key, 7.5 A/H SLAB.

Contacts: 13 w/ 7 S2S (WS0TA, KC5CW, N0BCB, K5RHD, K8TE, NM5SW, KE5AKL). I had trouble while calling CQ in that my I was getting a lot of QRM from adjacent stations and I was having a lot of trouble hearing. I ended up just mainly hunting and pouncing on other SOTA Stations. Sorry if you did not get chaser points from me it was just tough for me with the contest. I wanted to stay up for a while but only had one battery so I did not want to sit there calling cq for ever. I would try for a little bit and then take a break and go work other Activators.

This was a sign along the fire road. There is a gate right next to this sign that cannot be passed with a vehicle. This is about 1/2 mile from the summit. 

I brought my little camp table up to this one with me. It worked great. Notice my straight key. I got it cheap used at a yard sale. I have not put a base on it yet but it worked!

Fire Road all the way but the last 1/4 mile to the summit.

I know that it is hard to see in this picture but in the middle just to the Right of the three larger trees there is the tallest antenna that I have ever saw. This picture does not do it justice. I swear the guy lines for this antenna must be 1/2 mile apart at the bottom!

Another picture of the trail. Nice and Shady most of the way.

Just because it is a neat Redwood stump!

Entrance to the park. It says no horses but I definitely say horse shoe marks on the way down.

This gate was open and there was definite tracks on the way up the road. I think that you would upset the mountain bikers if you drove on it though. They seam to own this trail and it is very popular. I was probably passed by 30 mountain bikers during my hike.


QSO: 72850 SS 2013-09-07 2026 KF7PXT        55         NS7P          22          
QSO: 14342 SS 2013-09-07 2009 KF7PXT        55         NU0T          53          
QSO: 14061 CW 2013-09-07 1950 KF7PXT      599        KE5AKL        449         
QSO: 14333 SS 2013-09-07 1942 KF7PXT        55         NM5SW         57          
QSO: 14347 SS 2013-09-07 1939 KF7PXT        58         K8TE          57          
QSO: 14344 SS 2013-09-07 1928 KF7PXT        55         K5RHD         57          
QSO: 72850 SS 2013-09-07 1918 KF7PXT        33         N0BCB         33          
QSO: 14348 SS 2013-09-07 1901 KF7PXT        33         KC5CW         33          
QSO: 14333 SS 2013-09-07 1819 KF7PXT        22         N7AMA         44          
QSO: 14333 SS 2013-09-07 1819 KF7PXT        22         N4LA          33          
QSO: 14333 SS 2013-09-07 1818 KF7PXT        33         W0ERI         33          
QSO: 14333 SS 2013-09-07 1817 KF7PXT        33         W0MNA         33          
QSO: 14061 CW 2013-09-07 1755 KF7PXT      559        WS0TA         559         

Thanks again for everyone that has worked me while up on the summits. I am tentatively planning a trip to the Sierras for an activation of 2 unactivated peaks in the upcoming weeks. Trying to get a couple unactivated 8 point summits in before I head into back surgery on 7 October. This will likely make me a Chaser for at least 30 days. I hope to hear you all on the air. I will post to SOTA Watch when I have finalized my dates. 

Thanks to all the Chasers!

Chabot 2 Benchmark (W6/NC-432) SOTA Activation

On the 2nd of September I activated Chabot 2 Benchmark. I was able to follow the directions on SOTA website to the T to get up there. Even right up to the point of staying to the right at the fence and along the Eucalyptus trees, which provide for great shade on the top.

Cell Signal: Yes (Verizon) No issues with sending or receiving information off of SOTA goat on the top of this one.

Interference: Although there is antennas near by I had no issues with them affecting my receiver.

Distance: Round trip about 2.3 miles. Steep at the beginning but then ends up leveling off. 

EveryTrail Route:

Hike information: This is a paved path up until you get off to the right at the fence and then it becomes a dirt path. The people up there are very friendly and each one I passed said hello or something...very rare for California. This is also a park that dogs are allowed off leash...again very rare for CA. Check my Every trail if you want to see where I started.

Setup: FT857d, MP1 SuperAntenna, 6 Counter poises at 1/4 wavelength, 12 ft telescoping whip, J37 Straight Key, 7/5 A/H SLAB.

Contacts: 17 total, 4 S2S. (WS0TA was my first S2S contact! along with K0MOS who was my first ever CW contact from my home QTH the day prior! K5RHD, and KX0R) Thanks for your patience!!! Thanks also to my friend Wayne (KJ7EP) from Montana. This was our first HF contact. It is always nice to hear people from back home in Montana.

I need to work on spending a little more time with a better antenna setup for working more contacts while I am up there. One of these days I will have more antennas to experiment with End Fed wires are in the works for 20 and 40.

This was a fairly uneventful Trip. This is about 1/2 way up looking out over Oakland to the San Francisco Bay.

Again looking out over Oakland and San Francisco in the way back. It was cloudy so had to see to far to the West.

A view overlooking the Reservoir. 

There are some good benches along the way for a break.

The trail along the Right side of the fence and the Eucalyptus trees.

This stump was a very inviting setup for my Super Antenna and the other stump was a great table for my equipment.

A shot of the the Antenna just because I guess.

I took this photo on the way down off to the East. There maybe some activations out there one of these days. 


QSO: 14062 CW 2013-09-02 1754 KF7PXT      559       KX0R           559       S2S  
QSO: 14346 SS 2013-09-02 1749 KF7PXT        56         KJ7EP           22          
QSO: 14345 SS 2013-09-02 1725 KF7PXT        22         K5RHD         22          S2S
QSO: 14342 SS 2013-09-02 1722 KF7PXT        22         K0MOS         22          S2S
QSO: 14061 CW 2013-09-02 1709 KF7PXT      559       WS0TA         559     S2S        
QSO: 72850 SS 2013-09-02 1630 KF7PXT        58         KH2TJ          55          
QSO: 72850 SS 2013-09-02 1628 KF7PXT        57         K6TUY         58          
QSO: 72850 SS 2013-09-02 1626 KF7PXT        33         AB7YL         22          
QSO: 72850 SS 2013-09-02 1624 KF7PXT        59         W6WW          57          
QSO: 72850 SS 2013-09-02 1619 KF7PXT        58         NS7P             56          
QSO: 14326 SS 2013-09-02 1614 KF7PXT        57         KE5AKL        23          
QSO: 14326 SS 2013-09-02 1613 KF7PXT        56         N4MJ             33          
QSO: 14326 SS 2013-09-02 1611 KF7PXT        31         WB5USB       22          
QSO: 14345 SS 2013-09-02 1600 KF7PXT        44         K5WI             33          
QSO: 14345 SS 2013-09-02 1558 KF7PXT        55         WB9QDL      44          
QSO: 14345 SS 2013-09-02 1556 KF7PXT        22         W0MNA        33          
QSO: 14245 SS 2013-09-02 1555 KF7PXT        55         WA2USA      33          

Thanks as always to everyone who makes this such a great hobby. Thanks to the Chasers and I look forward to hearing you all on the air.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

China Grade Bench Mark (W6/NC-221) SOTA Activation and Geo Cacheing

Date: 8/25/2013    Summit: W6/NC-221 (China Grade Bench Mark)

Rig: Yaesu FT857d 30 watts into an MP1-Superantenna (6 - 1/4 wave counter poises, 12ft MFJ Telescoping Whip), 

Route: This is an easy drive up to the summit. We stopped short and followed the trail in order to get some Caches and then made our way up to the summit. The route is really self explanatory if you use the SOTA mapping program.

This activation was a part of an all day outing with the family. We left the house at about 1000 local (1700z) and started up towards skyline blvd with the intent of having a great day geo cacheing. Of course I knew that there was a summit towards the end of the route that could possibly get activated. During the day we ended up finding 19 Caches and activated one SOTA Summit. The Summit ended up being just at the right time as the kids were ready to get out and do some running around. There also happened to be to Caches right in the area of the Summit. As K6EL Elliot has said in his post on SOTA that this summit has a huge activation area which was advantageous to me. I hope that you all enjoy the pictures.

This was early in the day at a Geo Cache site. A cool one that was stuck in a rock wall along a trail. This picture is taken in a dry creep bed. This creek looks like it will move pretty quickly during the run off.

Family Pic near a Cache on China Grade. I think that this would actually have been in the activation area but we moved a little bit to where there was a bit of shade.

On our way up to the top we came across these cool rocks. These were pretty steep but very easy to walk on. The smaller rocks on top look like they are not connected to the big rock but it is actually all one rock connected. Pretty interesting and a good play are for the kids.

Colten looks so innocent in these pictures. Don't let the picture fool you he is a typical 3 year old!!!

The face looks a little devious. True Colten!

Peyton, Colten, and Brookelyn posing.


QSO: 14346 SS 2013-08-25 2332 KF7PXT        59         W7RV          59          
QSO: 7285 SS 2013-08-25 2325 KF7PXT        59         NS7P          59          
QSO: 14346 SS 2013-08-25 2320 KF7PXT        59         N7AMA         59          
QSO: 14346 SS 2013-08-25 2318 KF7PXT        59         N4EMG         59          
QSO: 14346 SS 2013-08-25 2317 KF7PXT        59         AB7YL         59          
QSO: 14346 SS 2013-08-25 2315 KF7PXT        59         VE2JCW        59          
QSO: 14346 SS 2013-08-25 2315 KF7PXT        59         K7JFD         59          
QSO: 14346 SS 2013-08-25 2314 KF7PXT        59         N5XL          59          
QSO: 14346 SS 2013-08-25 2313 KF7PXT        59         K5WI          59          
QSO: 14346 SS 2013-08-25 2311 KF7PXT        59         K5JCT         59          

Thanks to all the Chasers. I look forward to hearing everyone on the air. As a side note I made my first CW contact today (9/1/2013) with KX0R. Look forward to hearing continued improvement chasing and activations with me on CW. Thanks again.