Recent SOTA Activations

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Hamilton Buttes (W7W/PL-023) SOTA

Peyton and I had decided the night prior to head out and do SOTA with our new FT-817nd. I crammed everything I could think of in the bag in order to try out the new radio with different configurations. In hind site there was two things that I forgot; the six inch cable to connect the Elecraft T1 tuner to the radio, and the 817 instruction manual. Neither of these things would prove to be a deal breaker but they both would have come in handy. Peyton decided not to come with me so I grabbed Charlie and we headed out. About 30 miles down the road I had to turn around realizing that I forgot my wallet; a 1/4 tank of gas was not going to get the job done! Back on the road. I put up a quick alert and headed out. Once on the summit I decided to start with the 817 and the SuperAntenna (since I could not use the T1). Somehow I managed to tune the superantenna perfect with no measurements. As soon as I turned on the 817 I remembered that it was the CA CQP. The bands were flooded with contesters. I decided to head to the top of the band and found that 14.346 was not in use. Before starting to call CQ I thought that I would find a contester and just see if I could work one. I worked K6R with no problems. I spotted with APRS without any issue and started calling CQ. Immediately I heard AC1Z come back to me but I could not seem to get my signal to him...Sorry Bob. I noticed that my meter was not moving much and in the bottom of the radio it only said L1. Time to start digging into the menues. As soon as I figured out how to get the radio putting out 5 watts Tommy (W7RV) was right there waiting. I also asked if he could respot me since I had the trouble. I got a few contacts but the CQP made it tough. I decided to try CW with the KX1 and the longwire adding another 5 contacts to the log. I continued to call CQ but had no takers so I thought that I would pack up and see if I could get to another summit. Road closures kept this from happening but I was able to scout out a couple more possibilities for the next time.

Google Earth Track assesment

Cell Signal: 
Like most of this area you should not count on cell signal. I have verizon and when I was on the summit I had extended analog signal. It was very unreliable though.

Trail Conditions
1 mile trip. Nice wide trail. This trail is shared with ATVs, though none were around today.

Pass may be required. This is national forest so a use pass is required I believe. I have a Annual National Park pass that works for all National Fee Areas.

APRS was successful at getting my spots out but it did not seem to update my location well when I looked at the site when I got back home.

GPS Tracks:

A short log. Partially due to me learning the radio and partially due to the CA CQP that was just wiping me out. I activated pretty late in the day also.

You can see the 16 minutes between when I spotted and I got my act together with the Radio Power Issue. 

Geocache on the Summit. 

Thanks for coming out and making this a successful activation. Thanks Mike (KE5AKL) for giving me great information on the FT817nd. The next summit I have should be a lot smoother without so many issues. Look for my kids on the air when we are up there. They love hiking, Geocaching, and Radio!