Recent SOTA Activations

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Lone Tree Mountain (W7W/PL-065) SOTA FIRST ACTIVATION

On Sunday 17 July Brookelyn and I woke up early from our camping trip and decide to make our way to a SOTA Summit that was approximately 2 miles away. I think that we started to hike about 0900 and it took just over an hour to get to the summit. The route follows an old forest road for all of the hike. There is some sections of the hike that have views but there are limited views from the Summit. Make sure you pay attention because this is one of those cases where the named summit is not the highpoint and would not put you in the activation area. Brookelyn had a blast talking on the Radio and stated that her favorite person was Tommy (W7RV) "because he called me by my name." We had a great time. This was a nice easy walk to a four point summit that had not been activated. We will be back to this neck of the woods one day to get some more activations and camping it. Overall a great trip.

Just a short video of the activation. I did not turn the camera on until later in the activation. Sorry Chasers as I try to get the video. I need to get more creative with how I do videos also.

 Top two pictures of Brookelyn working the FT-817nd. Bottom left you can see that the road got pretty brushy in a few places. There was some wet places on the trail and a section of about 300 yards of rock slide that had to be maneuvered.  Brookelyn at the best view on the summit with the SOTA Flag.

 Charlie and Grizzy made the trip up here with us.

Elevation profile. Obviously this is from the top down. I did not run the GPS on the way to the summit.

GPS Track. Notice that the highpoint is not on the names summit. Don't make this mistake if you make the trip up here. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016


The family (Delma, Lily (12), Brookelyn (7), Colten (6), Kimber (3)) and I decided to head out on a camping trip in Lewis County in the Randle, WA area. We love this area and a lot of the time the weather is a little bit better and we can get away from the puget sound rain. I saw that Iron Creek Butte was an unactivated 4 point summit in the area and it was likely that I could drive within about 1 mile of the actual summit. This looked like a great opportunity to get an activation in while we were heading out in the area. We easily made it to the parking area and I realized that I had been in the area before. We made the easy hike up an
old forest road to within about 400 ft of the the summit. We had to cross country travel to get to the summit but it was a steep but easy trip. All of the kids were able to make it on there own power. This is a good place to say that if you had a chain saw to remove a few blowdowns and a narrower right then a Dodge Ram long bed then you could likely make it to with in 400 ft of the summit. There was some sign that others had been up there the year prior. We made it to the summit to find that there was a reason that no one had ever done a trip report on Peak Bagger or Washington Trail Association. There is absolutely
no view from the summit. We had a great time and Lily did most of the radio. We tried to get some contacts using the Technician part of the band on 2m FM and SSB to get an activation for Delma (KK6AHS) but we had no luck. It was later upon returning home that I found out that the reason why was that 6m was apparently wide open and everyone was there. I wish that I would have given 6m a try as I am sure that I could have got something to tune up with the Elecraft T1 tuner. I will have to pay more attention the next time that I am up. After the activation we packed up and headed back down the trail the 1.6 miles back to the truck. By this time Kimber was getting a little tired and hitched a ride for the majority of the trip back down.

After getting to the truck we decided to make the trip up to Burley Mountain (W7W/PL-039). We were able to drive all the way to the summit. When we got there we met a lady that was staying the night in the lookout. I should have took pictures but the lookout is furnished with two bunks, some cabinet space, and a fireplace. Apparently you can stay the night there on a first come basis. It was cold up at the summit so we decide to activate this one at a later date. We made our way towards Lone tree mountain and found a nice camping spot within a couple mile of the actual summit. Another post will follow with the details of that hike.

Additional Information

APRS - I forgot the Kenwood TH-d72 at the truck so was unable to try APRS while at the summit. This could have been a bad mistake as cell data) verizon was iffy. I was able to make spots using SOTA goat. This could have been bad as late in the day as I activated.

Cell Signal - As stated earlier I was able to use my Verizon cell for data. I assume that I could have made calls from the summit but I did not try. I was able to get texts out to Doug (KY7S).

Repeaters - I was able to reach the gold mountain repeater 146.62 (PL 103.5)

Download GPS Tracks on Everytrail.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Silver Peak (W7W/CW-052) SOTA

On 9 July Lily, Colten, Grizzy (Lab/Shepherd/Spaniel Mix) and I made the 1.5 hour drive up to Snoqualmie pass to do some hiking and radio. The weather seemed iffy but looked to be good if we were to get to the east of the pass. I had been looking at getting up to Silver Peak and thought that this would be a good day to do it. We got a little bit of a late start and left the house around 0930. We were at the trailhead at approximately 1130 and started to hike. The weather was great. There were some clouds but they left us alone on the hike and on the summit. We did not start getting any rain until we were off of the steep parts and back on the PCT. On the way up to the summit I was able to work Chris (WX7EMT) on the summit of Jester Mountain and Tim (KG7EJT) on the summit of Thorp Mountain. It is great to get to work other activators but it would have been nice if I was on the summit to make these summit to summit contacts. I listened to Tim work a few other summits.

Here is the video of our hike and activation. Cool part about 3:30 in the video when Lily works Katie and Tanner, W7TAO's children. Thanks Todd it was fun!

We got the directions off of the Washington Trail Association (WTA) and they were spot on. When you are in the area definitely look at doing Mount Catherine ( W7W/CW-066) as it is a short 3 mile round trip hike and another amazing view. Another Summit that is in the area that you could do if you are very ambitious is Tinkham Peak West (W7W/KG-063). When you hike the trip to Silver you are in the Saddle between Tinkham and Silver Mountains. I have seen reports on Peak Bagger that have summited this way. Check this Peak Bagger trip report out for GPS tracks:

Elevation profile from
WTA says that Silver Peak is a 5.6 mile round trip hike. I think that it is more like 6 - 6.5 miles round trip. I did not have a GPS on but I ran across a couple that stated that their GPS said 3 miles and they were still short of the summit. Still a great hike though. The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) portion of the hike is very gentle until the you turn off the PCT for the 2nd half of the hike where most of the elevation is gained. You gain about 1400 feet in about 1.2 miles.

Cell Service - Verizon, full voice and data at the summit. No signal after you were down about 300 ft off the summit.

APRS - I was able to transmit and receive signal on most of the hike. I also was able to self spot on the summit using APRS to SOTA

Weather - Weather was cloudy and about 60 degrees. We had some cloud breaks on the summit. A slight breeze on the summit but very comfortable. A little bit of rain on the way down.

Equipment - Yaesu FT817nd, 41' EndFed Random Wire (Wireman Part #534) / 16' Counterpoise, Palm Radio Mini Paddle, Yaesu VX-6, Kenwood TH-d72, Elecraft T1 Antenna Tuner. I also had my Elecraft KX1 in my bag. I guess you can never be too prepared!

GPS Tracks: