Thursday, January 6, 2033


Welcome to my amateur radio BLOG. Here at (aka, 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 (, photography (, and life ( QSL via QRZ, LOTW, cards.

* Reference Links Page    * SOTA Specific Links  
* My Equipment Loadout    * DMR Tips    * My Youtube Channel

I monitor 146.520 and DMR SOTA (973)
track me on the trail HERE or APRS.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

2020-01-19 Guatay

Joe Toth decided to join me on today’s 138th SOTA hike and we were wheels up by 7AM. The original plan was to activate Cuyamaca Peak and Stonewall but after arriving, we found out that the top of Cuyamaca is closed to the public while SDG&E digs it up to lay in more power.  We could have easily gone over to Stonewall across the street but there were a LOT of people that were doing that one because of the closure.  The trail would have looked like the 405 freeway.  Instead, we headed over to Guatay Mountain for a little peace and quiet. 
(Route is HERE)  <click on image for larger>

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

2020-01-12 Corte Madera and Los Pinos

Today, I’m shooting for a double summit.  I conducted my annual hike to Corte Madeira and Los Pinos Mountain.  This was one of the longer ones with a total of 11.3 miles and an elevation gain of about 2,362 feet.  To do this one, I park about a mile and a half from a valley between the two mountains, go up one, and then come down and up the other.

I was wheels up at about 0730 this morning with a banana nut muffin and a double shot late.  It was a beautiful clear day with no wind.  The temperature at the trailhead was about 40F, perfect for a hike.  The first 1.5 miles has an elevation gain of about 500 feet.  By that time it had warmed up enough for me to remove my fleece and launch the final two miles to the Corte Madera summit.  

Sunday, January 5, 2020

2020-01-05 Eagle Peak

I met up with Jacob, W6RWS, and headed out to Eagle Peak this morning. I’ve done this one a few times and given the beautiful day I was looking forward to it.  It was in the low 70s and we had a lot of fun.  Neither one of us were in a hurry so it was nice to kick back on the summit and play radio. 

Jacob was on the peak and I was offset a bit to keep the interference down.  Jacob started on VHF and I think he was activated before he switched over to HF.  I picked up a familiar call sign, K6MXA, John was not far from us activating W6/SC-260, a no-name peak just south of El Capitan Reservoir.  We were probably 20km apart.  That was fun to finally get a summit-to-summit with John.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

2020-01-01 Iron Mtn. First Summit of 2020

Happy New Year!

I’m kicking off the new year with the first summit with the radio.  I made a quick trip up to Iron Mtn., not far from my house.  It was a beautiful day with temps over 70f.

I’ve been to this peak several times and I guess the only memorable thing this trip was my effort to keep my telescoping mast upright. 

I made several phone and CW contacts and had a nice conversation with a gentleman from Lakeside.  If you were wondering why I butchered your call-sign, it was a bit hard to hear your signal over his voice :)

SOTA '19 Accomplishments & 2020 Goals

At the beginning of 2019, I layed out some goals for my Summits On The Air (SOTA) activities.  Let’s see how I did on those and discuss what’s to come in 2020.  
(note: click on image for larger)

2019 Goals:

     I set out to break my 2018 SOTA stats
     Number of peaks summited in 2018 - 56
     Eevation gained in 2018 - 57,539
     SOTA points in 2018 - 303

     Learn morse code so that I could hike with a lighter rig up to mountain tops and communicate with other SOTA dudes on other peaks that ran morse only.

     Setup a portable winlink station in a backpack so that I could send email via radio during a disaster at a remote site in support of our ARES primary mission.

     Setup FT8Call, also known as JS8 Call to experiment with this mode.

OK, let’s see how I did.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

2019-12-28 Poser Mtn.

I went up to Poser Mtn. today.  Unlike last time, I expect to get my one whole point (actually it's 2).  You see, I packed up and left the summit with only three contacts the last time.  Although I “activated” the summit, I didn’t get the points because I only had 3 contacts.  For some reason I thought I only needed 3 (instead of 4) and I was in a time crunch.  The last time I was up there, the wind was really blowing and I’m hoping to avoid that today.  One other interesting factoid is that I was on this peak exactly two years to the day!  Creepy!
(click on pictures for larger)

I took my time getting out of the house and left about 9AM.  It’s about a 45 minute drive and I planned a two hour hike.  From the road to the summit is only about 1 mile (see my route here)... but it’s a bushwhack.  It takes time because I want to avoid stepping on living growth wherever possible so it’s slow going.  Also, at times, it can get thick.  So a lot of stop and go, plan, and go around.  On the plus side, the temprature was about 55 F, so it made for pleasant hiking weather.