2018 was a busy summits on the air year for me. I completed 53 summits, hiking 270 miles (26 in Grand Canyon), earning 303 SOTA points and getting some great views. The map at the top (click for larger) shows the peaks that I’ve summited. It’s a cool new feature of sotamaps.
On Thursday, the doc administered the shingles vaccine to me. I had the non-pleasure of experiencing the side effects, mainly intestinal distress the next morning. I felt fine Friday afternoon so I thought I would walk up to Black Mountain (W6/SC-338) mainly because it’s right next to my house. After a 45 minute walk up the road, I got there shortly before sunset. I setup my light weight chair and radio gear. I noticed that there was more RF equipment up there, most notably a cell tower. After firing up the radio I also noticed that there was a LOT more RF noise. Adam (K6ARK) was up here a week ago and mentioned the same thing. I assumed he setup in the wrong place but it definitely has more RF. 40 meter was better than 20 but getting 4 contacts wasn’t as easy as before. I contacted a friend on DMR talk group and we tried doing a direct (HT to HT) conversation using DMR. We then compared to analog and wow, what a difference.
I figured I do my inaugural 2019 activation on Black Mountain since this is where it all started for me, and it’s 5 minutes from my house. I had my first SOTA contacts from there on 10/31/2017, one of the contacts was in Japan. I had no idea what I was doing a little over a year ago but I managed to do pretty well for myself. Today, doing SOTA from Black Mountain is easy as pie and “old hat”. I guess the one “new” thing about today’s summit is my DMR contact with Brian, KC2GNV. I’ll try DMR more in the future when given a chance since I’m taking that radio with me as my hand-held for doing 2 meter contacts.
I enjoyed the sunset from the mountain. I could see way out onto the Pacific from up there so it’s normally a great view. When I got back from hiking I found that I jumped the gun a bit on my health as one of the other side effects are other flu symptoms.. I’ll spend the weekend doing a little R&R and helping a boy scout on his eagle project.
Loadout for today:
● Yaesu FT-891D HF Radio at 100 watts
● 30’ of coax feed line
● 3 L of water (8 lb)
● SOTA Dog
● iPhone with All Trails, MotionX GPS and sota goat
● MFJ-939Y auto antenna tuner for 891
● Trekking poles
● Extra LiFePO Battery
● AnyTone AT-868UV DMR radio for testing.
● Delorme Inreach satellite tracker and communicator.