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)
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Saturday, April 24, 2021

Improve Your Chances Of SOTA Activating

Want to have the best chance of getting the minimum of 4 contacts on a summit to be awarded the SOTA points? The secret is to get spotted.

A spot tells people that you have been “spotted on a summit”, and are on a frequency NOW. Chasers load either sotawatch or in their browser and wait for activators to show up.  Some, like me, also put your call-sign or region into Hamalert so they are notified as soon as you appear on sotawatch or RBN. More on that later.


An April 2021 SOTA UPDATE

I realize it’s been a while since I’ve posted here.  No, ham’n on mountaintops has NOT come to a halt, but unfortunately my writing did.  I’ve tried to focus more on my VLOG because that’s where all the cool kids hang.  So today, I’ll zip through my activations so far in 2021 and maybe add a little color to some of the new summits I’ve checked off during my adventures.  You’ll also see the embedded YouTube link to some of them as well.  
(Click on Images for larger)

Sunday, February 14, 2021

2020 & 2021 New Year's Summit Fest

The Summits On the Air (SOTA) amateur radio hobby is a gamified affair.  Radio operators, geeks like me, summit various designated peaks (all have at least 500’ of prominence) and depending on the elevation of the summit, receive the alloted points for the summit if they make  four contacts and have not logged that summit more than once during the calendar year.  Some of my fellow SOTA operators had plans to use the rules to get double points on one trip to the summit of a designated peak by being there as the calendar year crosses over from 2020 to 2021 on new years eve.  Because the UTC day changes at 4PM local time in the winter where I live, it’s still daylight, making it easy to get points twice on a summit in one go.

2020-12-29 Owens Peak

A friend of mine activated Owens Peak earlier this year and I’m surprised I never considered this one.  It’s easily accessible and a short little hike.  I joined a friend of mine, Jacob, W6RWS, and Jacob’s two kids, at the trailhead and we made quick work of the trip to the top.  The trail was a good climb but less less than a mile.  It was beautiful weather and enabled a quick getaway. 

Once on the summit, Jacob used his HT and quickly bagged 4 contacts.  I setup my HF end-fed antenna and fired up the KX2 and landed 15 contacts and one with my HT.  It was late in the afternoon so I didn’t get any summit-to-summit contacts but I still had a good time.

That’s it, nothing else to report.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

2020-12-26 Gordon Point

Today’s expedition was with N7DA, Drew.  We had originally planned to MTB up to Grodon Point, next to Palomar State Park, but we decided to hike it at the last minute.  It actually would have been a perfect MTB since most of it was road.  There were two gates that we needed to get through but we should have been able to feed the bikes through. 

It was perfect weather for the hike.  Once on top, we scouted around for a way to make it to the very top.  It would have been a pretty tight bushwhack with very little reward.  Given that we were only about 50 feet from the top, we were still in the activation zone.  We both fired up our HF radios and easily landed some contacts.  I made a few FM contacts and we headed back.  On the way down, we did see a few hikers.  Given our early arrival, we had had the mountain to ourselves. 

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Qualcomm Amateur Radio Club Presentation

I'm pleased to present to the Qualcomm Amateur Radio Club Summits On the Air.

You can access the slides ---> HERE <---.