Welcome to my amateur radio BLOG. Here at N1CLC.com (aka HamNinja.com), I hope to cover my exploration of ham radio, summits on the air (SOTA) and general RF geek stuff. My other BLOGS focus on technology (cloudrant.com), photography (cameraninja.com/blog), and life (thethroboflife.com). QSL via QRZ, LOTW, cards.
I’ve been wanting to do Tahquitz Peak for a
while but things have been getting in the way.It’s located by Idlewild, making it an all day junket.I was introduced to this one by Adam, K6ARK
last year so I knew the drill.I
contacted Adam to see if he wanted to go and was busy.I reached out to Mark, KG6LI to see if he
wanted to go but he’s on the DL.I
forgot to call one other SOTA operator, so, I was solo today.
I needed some exercise but couldn’t plan a big
hike for today so I drove over to the tail head for Black Mtn. by my house (5
minutes) and hiked the 4 miles to the summit with my SOTA pack.I took Sulu and it was nice to get out and
get some fresh air.
Once on top I setup the K6ARK spider thread
antenna on my mast and hooked up the KX2.The noise floor was at S7 on 20, almost 9 on 40 meter.I spotted myself on side band and didn’t get
anything on either band.I already have
the points for this mountain so no big deal but before packing up, I sent out a
CQ on CW (morse).Dan, KI6KU called out
to me when he got an alert via reverse beacon network (a very handy
service).Dan slowed down for me and
with his contact, I was able to “activate” the mountain.
The real bonus for this evening was the
sunset.I snapped the pic above a little
late but no biggie.Just as I was
packing up, about 40 people in a hiking group showed up.Younger people that do a meatup once a
month.Of course they were very curious
about what I was doing and got a kick out of it.I walked down in the dark under a full moon so bright that it left a shadow. I didn’t even need my headlamp.That’s it, nothing more to tell.:)
During SOTA QSOs, a lot of people ask me what I am using so I thought I would describe my setup here. Take a look and comment on your SOTA setup. (BTW, SOTA = "Summits On The Air") Click on images for larger. This page is turning into a bit of my "options" for a SOTA loadout. After doing this hobby for a while, gaining experience from my own adventures and learning from others, I've amassed a bit more equipment that changes based on mission. Below you'll see that I use different radios for given mission. I've been trying to lighten my load and go QRP with the KX2 and an ultra-light antenna but there are times when I load up the heavier FT-891 and associated battery when I really want to punch some power out and see how far I can really go.
One of the things that will really help me go QRP (lower power) is CW. Sending morse code over CW allows me to potentially get a lot more contacts farther away because the narrow band provides better signal to noise ratio. As I continue to learn about gear, make new antennas, learn CW, and experiment, I expect things will change. Mission #1 is have fun, and I seem to be nailing that. Pictured above is a complete 10 watt station, radio, antenna, and keyer. All you need to add is a way to get the antenna up in the air (tree or pushup pole) (it has a built in mic). (Note: Originally published Dec 31, 2017, updated Nov. 3, 2019)
Did a quick hike up to Twin Peaks to get some
exercise and test out my deployment of the K6ARK Spider Thread Antenna. The hike was an easy one up to the summit and
included a hilarious roll off a rock due to a stupid overcommitment on a
step. It was fairly hot today, about 80. I was enjoyable to be 9 lbs lighter in the
equipment department. If I can keep the
gut weight off, that would be awesome.
After setup, I reached out to the DMR group
here in San Diego and asked if anyone wanted to try a simplex call over
DMR.AI6CX is always ready to help and
W6CRC in Poway jumped in as well.
I wanted to get out and do a quick hike today
and play radio. I was thinking of going
over to Twin Peaks and then heard a SOTA buddy, Jake (W6RWS), on the radio as
he headed up to that very mountain. If
you remember, a couple of weeks ago, Jake, Adam & I went up to Morena
Butte. Adam jumped on the radio and
answered Jake and then we talked about getting out there with Jake. Adam and I decided to do a quick hike one up
to Mt. Woodson, about 30 minutes from the house.