Recent SOTA Activations

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Larch MTN (W7W/SO-067) & ""Tuner Hill" (W7W/SO-114) SOTA

Working 20m with the Elecraft KX1, external
12v battery, KX1 Keyer, and 41 ft. Longwire
 Wooded Summit, Rainy, Cloudy, Windy, but a fun time. Brookelyn, Makaila, Colten, and Charlie joined me for a trip into Capital forest today for some hiking and SOTA. The trip was really just to get the kids out of the house so that mom could have some peace and quite. The kids each packed up a bag of toys, for playing or geocache trading, and mom made us sandwiches. We headed out of the house about 1200 hrs. local as the sky was starting to clear. The kids and I are fair weather SOTA activators, hikers, geocachers. The rain is just to much to haul the young kids out in and expect them to have a good time. We headed out of the house to recon W7W/SO-114 ""Tuner Hill"". I found a geocache (Muddy Outlook, GCHJTP)  that was in the area and used this as an approach. The geocache stated that you could drive all the way up now that they opened the road. This is not the case, the road is closed at 47.037316,   -123.018036. As I believe that you could park here and walk up no problem you definitely cannot drive over the pile of boulders blocking the road. There is a slew of "No Trespassing" signs on all the residences in the area but the road is public property. From here to the summit would be 2 mi. I decided to head on and look for other approaches to other summits. I moved on to check on W7W/SO-078 ""Message Peak"".
Hiking route to Larch MTN
The gate for this summit was locked at 46.953075, -123.075628. There was a bunch of vehicles parked here so I am assuming that this is a pretty heavily hunted area. The hike from here would have been about 4.62 miles according to, so we moved on. I took a quick look at my map and noticed that there was an approach to Larch Mountain from where we were. I had conducted a recon of Larch earlier in the year and knew where the gate was locked and also knew that it was a short hike, that would be easy with the kids up to the summit. The skys were clear so we headed up. The summit was covered in clouds and you could not see the towers at the top; don't head to the towers, this is not the high point. The activation went well with 20 contacts on 20 meters in 25 minutes. After I had worked all the chasers on 20 I switched to 40. I quickly spotted and called CQ for about 5 min. with no takers. I was really waiting on Phil, NS7P, but the rain started to come in and I had to pack up and head down the mountain. The kids were getting cold and it was time to move.

""Tuner Hill"" W7W/SO-114

On the way down I noticed a possible approach from the West to ""Tuner Hill"". I headed up there and found out that this summit is an easy drive up. I made a short approach just as it was starting to get dark and through out the Random wire in a tree. I worked 20m with 10 contacts, switched to 40 getting no chasers. During the 1 minutes I was on the air the kids played hide and seek. Sorry that this was a short one but the sun was down and the kids were hungry. I had to get this unactivated peak activated.

Reverse Beacon Spots

Approx. 45 miles of driving to check out the summits.

Thanks Chasers!!!

Summit information and resources used for planning

I use this app to estimate distances of new trails.

Tracks for my hike to Larch Mountain.

Here is one of my secrets!!! Even if you don't do geocaching take a look at the map. If you manipulate it right up can see every summit out there. If there is a geocache at the top, there is a way to get there. Sometimes if you click on the cache it will even give detailed directions to get there and some good pictures.

Here is an example of some decent directions learned from a geocache. The information was out dated but much of the time it is not.

I link to this site from my blog and from my blog to this site. This site is great because it posts the very necessary information straight to the Summit Page.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Ladd Mtn (W7W/PL-083) & ""Bug Hill"" (W7W/SO-106) SOTA & Other Recons

On Monday and Tuesday Nov. 10 & 11 I took full advantage of my days off for Veteran's day and headed out for a couple SOTA summits.

On the 10th I decided to do an easy 1 pointer near my house that had yet to be activated. ""Bug Hill"" was an easy hike and Colten enjoyed the time out with dad. Not much of a view but it just kills me to have a hill so close that has never been activated. There are a couple more of these nearby that will be done in the near future. This was an easy walk up / Drive if you are luck and the gate is open, summit. No view but an easy point.

Activation Details: Easy Hike up summit from right off of HWY; Verizon cell signal for spotting; No Views; KX1 (2.5 Watts) with 1600 mAh Li-Po Battery; 29ft Sloper Wire;

EveryTrail and GPX data:

On the night of the 10th Peyton and I decided to head up to the hills, camp out, and do a SOTA on the morning of Veteran's day. After a quick look on the map and trying to keep the miles traveled to a minimum we decided that we would try W7W/PL-083 & PL090. I packed our bags, posted a quick alert and then hit the road. We arrived in the vacinity of the summits at about midnight. We found a place to pull over and headed to bed. In the morning we got up and made some breakfast and headed in the direction of the summit. We decided to do Ladd MTN (083) first. This looked like the easier of the two and I wanted to avoid being to far away from the truck at 25 degrees and a good wind. Ladd MTN has a road going all the way to the summit except for the last 100 yards. The road is well within the activation area but I have to see the true summit. Once on the summit I decided to use my MP1 Superantenna but was not very successful with this, the random wire works better I think. I threw the wire (29ft) up in a tree to the West and ran the counterpoise to the East. Signals were booming in and made for one heck of a pile up.

Three Summit to Summit Contacts. Thanks Dan, Mike, and Harold.
Activation Details: Cell signal with Verizon able to spot with SOTA goat; Temperature about 25 degrees with about a 10mph wind; Wooded summit with a slight view of Mount Rainier from the summit but nothing to write home about; Easy access probably even with a limited clearance vehicle; KX1 (2.5 Watts) with 29ft. Sloper Wire; 

Every Trail and GPX data Trip Link:

After Ladd MTN we headed down to check out Stahl MTN. It looks like there would be no trail heading to the top and most of the trip would be a fairly steep assent through old growth forest. I will let you know for sure here soon. Peyton said that his legs were tired so we decided to call it a day. On the way back down the hill I did some recon of some other roads and identified gates etc. There are plenty of summits to be done in this area and I hope to get a few of them done before the snow sets in.