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 had my eye on a summit in New Mexico that
had not been “activated” yet for a while.“Not activated” means that no other SOTA operator has gone up there yet
with a radio and submitted their contacts, so I get to be “First Activator”
(FA).It’s kinda cool in that your name
is listed first and is always shown at the “first”.This will be the fifth FA for me.The peak doesn’t have a name so the person
that setup the peaks for this area just gave it a number, 8961 (which is
normally the elevation of the peak).It
SOTA designation is W5N/AP-015.Check it
out, you’ll see my call sign listed as the first activator (it’s all
about pumping up my fragile ego :).
I’d been trying to figure out what summit I
wanted to do this week that would push me over the 1,000 point mark. In Summits On The Air (SOTA), at 1000 you
make “Mountain Goat”. It’s a cool award
and a tough one to get. So my selection
had to involve getting my goat on.
Turner peak does require a bit of goat skill and it’s 8 points would
push me over the 1000 I need to be “Mountain Goat”. In this post I’ll cover today’s summit but
also the road to Mountain Goat, 1000 “activator points”. (click on image for larter)
I started doing SOTA on October 31st,
2017.I was a pretty new ham with a
general license but my home station kinda sucked.It was really hard to get the home station
performing well given that I didn’t have a lot of room for antenna wire and
suburbia has a lot of radio frequency interference (RFI).I somehow stumbled upon “Summits on the Air”,
a part of the ham radio hobby where you take a radio to the top of a mountain,
get a minimum of 4 contacts with your radio and and log the points for the
summit.These contacts have to be radio
to radio so you can’t use repeaters.
I decided to head up to my cabin and work from
there since the coming week is a short one given the fourth of July
holiday.The weather is absolutely
unreal right now.Highs of about 73 with
a light breeze.The house is at 8,300’
so that helps.I was here last month by
myself for 10 days and I activated 20 summits in 9 days of hiking.I had a great time.I really wanted to see how many I could
comfortably activate in a short amount of time.This trip I have a minimum of 3 summits that I wanted to do, and
possibly a couple of others in New Mexico that have never been activated.
I headed over to Noble Mountain which I can
see from my cabin and setup in the activation zone.I saw three deer on the way up the
mountain.The top is pretty flat so you
basically drive into the AZ and then decide where you want to setup.
After a long week in the chair I really wanted
to get out and do some hiking.I had
been up to the San Gabriels near LA with Adam, K6ARK in April 2018.We hiked Mt. Islip, Mt. Williamson, and did a
quick drive-up to Table Mtn.I really
wanted to go somewhere where the country was more alpine like and this area is
good for that, similar to last weekend up at Tahquitz.If I’m going to drive all this way, I might
as well make it worth it and try to do a triple.In addition, all of these are 8 pointers, helping
me get a little closer to breaking the 1,000 point mark.
I got up early this morning to head out to
Tahquitz. It’s one of my favorites in
the area but the trailhead is about 2 hours from my house, near the town of
Idlewild. The terrain on Tahquitz is
super variable, from pine tree lined paths to high desert scrub, brush, and
rock. I’d been thinking about hiking
Tahquitz for a while but I didn’t want to be hammered by the summer heat. There was a weather window that had a nice
dip in temperature forecast for Saturday and it didn’t disappoint.