Friday, November 30, 2018

W4C/WM-018 - Wine Spring Bald

The weather looked promising as I left Travelers Rest at 7 AM.  I met up with Scott KW4JM at the Home Depot near I-40.  We drove up the National Forest Road which is a turn from Wayah Road.   The National Forest Road is a 3 mile gravel road which barely fits two cars.  There is an antenna farm at the summit (elevation 1640 meters)  I set up my MTR antenna  using one of the yellow posts as a support for my 26 foot mast in an inverted V.    I operated under the eave of the building on the right - but with the rain being sideways - did not help much from getting wet.  I quit after 5 QSO's on 40m  - just enough to validate the activation.

Here is Scott KW4JM from his operating position.  He set up under a canopy and used a QRPguys 3 band vertical on 20m.

Here I am packed up and ready to go down the 0.63 mile trail (6% grade)

We had planned on also activating Siler Bald - 3 miles away but with the heavy rain - not an appealing prospect for a 2 mile hike.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

W4C/WM-001 - Clingmans Dome

Activation date - November 20, 2018.   This is typically a very scenic spot for a 360 degree panorama of the Carolina Mountains - not so today.   The clouds were upon us and visibility was perhaps 100 feet.  It was also very cold - below freezing.  It made set up with gloveless hands a bit more difficult.

Above is the concrete observation deck.  The trail spirals up to it.

The path leading up to the top of the deck.

Here I am just below the deck.

Within the activation zone - there was a convenient bench and a convenient tree to fasten a mast to.  I made a summit to summit contact with K7DJL in Washington State on 20m.  I forgot the power cord - so had to rely on the NiMH internal batteries - thank you Elecraft - it was a lifesaver.

W4C/WM-092 Mount Noble

Activation Date - November 15, 2018

Mount Noble is accessed via this long 5 mile gravel road which turns into a dirt road near the summit.  The summit may be accessed by a high ground clearance Jeep.  We had a Honda Civic - so needless to say - we hiked the 1/2 mile with a 400 foot elevation gain.

Trail profile and heart rate trace (red)

Here I am in the steep section - facing backwards to the summit

Scott KW4JM headed up the trail.

The view at the top.  It was late in the day and we still needed to head back down.   I made a summit to summit contact.   Martha W0ERI and Gary W0MNA from Kansas helped make this a valid summit with them both calling us.   I needed 4 minimum and they were #4 and #5.

W4C/WM-027 - Nettle Creek Bald

Activation Date - November 15, 2018

The start of the trail to Nettle Creek Bald.  The trail head is about 20 minutes drive from the Clingmans Dome access road on US441.  The parking area is at the edge of the hair pin.

This is at the fork in the trail about 1/2 mile from the summit.   The summit is on the trail to Newton Bald.

I set up my gear on a tarp and leaned conveniently against the log.  The mast is fastened to a tree stump about 5 yards away.

My hiking companion Scott KW4JM logging his contacts.  He is making a summit to summit contact at the moment.  I made to summit to summit contacts from this summit.

My heart rate as recorded on my GPS watch.  See how it correlates with the slope of the trail (grey).  The first rise was an average of 4% grade.

This photo was taken on an overlook near the Clingmans Dome access road.  It was surreal reminiscent of the glaciers in Alaska.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

SOTA Chaser 100 Points Earned

Most of these were from a single day - 03Nov2018 when propagation into Europe was great.  Also reached 3 "completes"  with the activation and chase of Mt. Pisgah, Mt. Sassafras, and Mt. Mitchell.  Also made 2 Summit-to-Summit QSOs - to KW4JM on Mt. Mitchell while I was on Mt. Pisgah on 2 meter FM and to KX0R on Green Mountain in Colorado while I was on Waterrock Knob on 30m CW

SOTA Statistics:

Mt. Mitchell W4C/CM-001 Activated 29OCT18 Chased KW4JM 18OCT18
Mt. Sassafras W4C/US-001 Activated 25OCT18 Chased KI4SVM 03Nov18
Mt. Pisgah W4C/CM-011 Activated 18OCT18 Chased KW4JM 31OCT18

Activator Points: 44
Mt. Mitchell W4C/CM-001 10 Points
Mt. Pisgah W4C/CM-011 10 Points
Mt. Sassafras W4C/US-001 4 Points
Richland Balsam W4C/WM-003 10 Points
Waterrock Knob W4C/WM-004 10 Points

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

W4C/WM-003 Richland Balsam and W4C/WM-004 Waterrock Knob

Activation date  November 5, 2018

The view from Waterrock Knob

At the summit operating position

The descent of Waterrock with companion Scott Carter KW4JM

Overlook before the paved section

They call it Waterrock knob because spring water is seeping out of the rock

The view of the mountains near Richard Balsam.  Below us is the section of the highest paved road on the Blue Ridge Parkway at 6084 feet.   The summit was shrouded in trees as shown below.