Wednesday, January 16, 2019

W4C/CM-022 North Eaglenest Mountain

Another visit to North Eaglenest as a bailout activation to preserve the points goal for the day.   Originally, we were going to hike Siler Bald - a mere three miles away from Wine Spring but we got off the Wine Spring summit way too late in the day and North Eaglenest is on the way home.

Noth Eaglenest is shrouded in trees and the only views are on the way down the road from the summit. 

A sprinkling of snow from the weekend storm.

Log from the activation

W4C/WM-018 Wine Spring Bald

Another visit to Wine Spring Bald for 2019.   The weather was crisp but not too cold - just above freezing with no wind at the summit.   It was a bit warmer at the base of the climb.   The view below looking at Whiteside Mtn.

My station at the summit - brought the KX3 connected to my home made link dipole.  The REI chair was very comfortable - no more of the legs going to sleep.

There was a ranger station about halfway up the Forest Road from 1916

Nice blue sky back drop with the SOTA flag waving in the slight breeze.

Hiking down - we can still see the summit in the upper part of the picture - one can see the antenna farm

GPS track of our hike

Three summit to summit QSO's - one with Paula K9IR activating Lookout Mountain W9/WI-003 in Wisconsin, with George  KX0R activating Green Mountain W0C/FR-085 in Colorado and with Bob AC1Z activating Mount Israel W1/HA-049  in New Hampshire.    I made QSOs on 4 bands, 60, 40, 30, 20m.   I even got a surprise call from Slovenia S57V.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

W4C/WM-047 Toxaway Mtn

I activated Toxaway Mtn today (9Jan2019).  I had originally intended to activate two summits today but that did not pan out because of the weather.  I had brought the K1 once again.  The temperature was about 27F at the summit and the wind was blowing at a steady 30 mph+.  I only worked 2 bands because of the adverse weather conditions.  The video below shows how hard the wind had been blowing.


I hunkered down in a low spot to get a wind break.   You can see the antenna farm at the summit.   I used one of the trees to support my mast.

Here I am leaving the summit with the antenna farm in the background

Ran into W1PTS and KS4FX at the summit - they activated in SSB

Nice view of Lake Toxaway fromnear the summit

W4G/NG-002 Rabun Bald

The activation party from Whiteside Mtn (KE4EA, NY4G, and KW4JM) continued on to Rabun Bald.

At the summit is a wooden observation tower which has unobstructed, 360 degree panoramic view of the surrounding area.  The video is courtesy of KW4JM.

The USGS marker signifying the summit above.

KW4JM set-up his vertical by using the tower for support.  He operated below the tower.  KE4EA and I tagged team on the deck using the LNR MTR on a SOTABEAMS mast.  I first started on 20m and Dave KE4EA finished on 40m.   KW4JM stayed on 30m.

Here is the highlight of the activation for me - ZL1BYZ called me on 20m.  How is that for cool?

Since it was getting late.  We hustled down the mountain and made it out before dusk.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

First Activation 2019 - W4C/WM-042 Whiteside Mountain

This started out as a trip to the wrong Whiteside Mtn trailhead.   Scott KW4JM is usually early.   I texted him that I was at the trailhead.   Sure enough, I was at the wrong road (not too far away from Scott).

My hiking companions on the way to the summit.

A view of Rabun Bald in North Georgia where we are headed to later in the day.

The view of the surrounding mountains across the sheer cliff of Whiteside

Here I am operating my K1 - a convenient rock

Fulfilled a request for a contact with AB4PP on 60m

A view of the 1000 foot drop to the bottom

Monday, December 31, 2018

SOTA End of Year 2018 Summary

Chaser Points - 465 - Reached #25 on the W4C All Time Chaser list (tied with KF4BY), and 9th for 2018 which is not too shabby considering I only started in late October.  The top 7 surpassed 1000 pts in 1 year with N4EX leading the pack by a wide margin.

Activator Points - 133 - with 14 Summits Activated, climbing up #19 in the W4C all-time list

For 2018, Patrick led the pack with 76 activations - which is more than 1 per week.  I climbed to number 11 in 2018 (just for the year).   Hopefully I stay healthy and put forth a good effort in 2019 - the clock starts tomorrow.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Link Dipole Project

I wanted to make a link dipole that I can take on SOTA activations.  I wanted it to be light.  To that end I made some wire winders (17g)  that are less than half the weight of the SOTABeams plastic wire winders (37g).  The winders are made from Spanish Cedar.   The antenna (without the feedline) comes in at 144g.  The antenna covers 4 bands 60-40-30-20m bands.  This version is without the 60m add-on. This can be compared to:

LNR EFHW Trail Friendly 40-20-10 at 182g
LNR MTR 40-30-20 at 200g

The 60m add on only adds 13g for the additional 10 feet of wire per leg. Guy rope would add additional grams.

The version above has the 60m links added plus some guy rope.

W4C/WM-064 Satulah Mountain

Satulah Mountain is in the middle of Highlands NC and the summit itself has a home amongs the multitude of upscale homes in the community.  The hike itself is about 1.1 miles with about 600 feet of elevation gain.  We parked our vehicles in downtown Highlands and proceeded on the hike up Satulah Road

The hike was punctuated with views of Whiteside Mountain and many beautiful homes.

There were many signs prohibiting unauthorized vehicles from going up the road to the summit as shown by signs like the one above - though it did say "hikers welcome".

I set up the station at a rock outcrop - conveniently like a table 

The LNR MTR on the mast above

I did have one summit to summit contact with K7MK  who was on W7I/SR-167

Scott operating across the cul-de-sac at the summit.

View of the summit we just hiked.

My QSOs as displayed on the SOTA Mapping tool

W4C/WM-033 Shortoff Mountain - 8 Pts plus 3 Pts Bonus

We were at the same trailhead at coordinates 35 deg 6.2749 min North and 83 deg 12.2470 West when we activated Panther Mtn.   The trailhead has the title Yellow Mountain Trail and is the same trail that proceeds to Yellow Mountain which is 5 miles away.   The Yellow Mtn hike is longer as Shortoff summit is but a stop-over to Yellow Mountain.   The hike itself is some 1.8 miles.  The GPS track for the hike is shown below:

The hike has about 850 feet of elevation gain over teh 1.8 miles and is mostly over the ridge line between Cole Mtn and Shortoff.   The ascending parts are the first and last third of the hike and culminates in switchbacks to the summit.  The summit elevation is 5018 feet.

Upon reaching the summit, KW4JM (Scott) and I setup in the generous flat portion with plenty of room for antennas.   Scott used a tree limb as per his usual practice while I used the SOTABeams 10m mast.   This time I brought the MTR 3 band EFHW from LNR as I was using the K1 for this activation.  A pic of the deployed antenna above with a SOTA flag - of course you can't see the wire.

Above is the image of my mountain top station.

Scott - happy as a clam - working his pileup.  He started on 20m and I started on 40m.

A couple of hikers on their way to Yellow Mountain.  They really appreciated what we are doing and thought it was "cool".  Scott kept our visitors entertained.

Operating at the Summit