Sunday, March 10, 2019

2019-03-10 Viejas Mtn to Portugal

Today’s hike was up Viejas Mountain (W6/CC-039 - Viejas Mountain).  I contacted Adam (K6ARK, AKA the “SOTA Yoda”) yesterday and we hatched a plan to be on the summit at the same time as Jamie (N6JFD) would be on Boca Hill (W6/NS-264) summit north of Lake Tahoe.  Jamie was just about to cross over to “Goat status” by racking up a 1000 activator points and he was also going to crest 1000 chaser points at the same time, thus earning the “shack sloth” award. Adam knows him pretty well so he wanted to make sure he was able to contact him on the big day.

BTW, Adam is a "SOTA goat" as well, so I figured he needed a shirt to show off a little.

I’d hiked Viejas before on 2/25/2018 and knew what to expect.  It’s a medium climb with a total of 1,473 feet of elevation gain in about a mile and a half.  I’d say the trail is doable for just about any trail hiker out there.  The forecast was for no rain but we had overcast skys with another scattered layer below.  We made the summit in time to contact Jamie and Adam setup about 50 yds from me and was able to contact him on CW and get a few summit-to-summit points.  I don’t know morse code (but I’m learning) so I was boxed out of the initial contacts and was unable to hear Jamie when he used phone on 20m.  On the plus side, I got a Portugal contact today. It was C. Gomes, CT1HIX.  It was a short contact but solid contact.  I’ll have to send him a QSL card. Seems like the Europe hams are chasing NA SOTA activators so I’ll have to keep in mind to summit early in the morning to improve my chances.

Speaking of QSL cards, which is a small postcard that operators mail to each other, I received one from Haruo (JA1CG) in Japan.  This whole thing about sending “QSL cards” is a bit dated now that everyone has email, but it’s still a lot of fun to see what people have designed for their card and exchange something via the old postal mail system.  The original purpose of QSL cards was to verify or confirm that a contact was actually made.  Now it’s more of a greeting card and a thanks for chatting.  I’ll probably send a few out today to some of the new contacts that I made, definitely to Mr. Gomes in Portugal.  I don’t ask them to return a card to me but I figure if I send a some good karma, I’ll get a little good karma back, and it’s worked out for me.  Haruo’s is below.  The artwork for my card is in the upper right corner of this BLOG.

Today was a lot better for me (RF wise) than yesterday, where it felt like the bands were dead.  I netted 22 contacts on 20 meters, one on 18 meters, and I logged nine more simplex contacts on DMR.  Brian (KC2GNV) rounded up quite a few operators with DMR HTs and had them call me. It’s always fun to test the range and capability of just using a handheld radio.

It was colder than expected.  After summitting and setting up, a very cold wind started up, chilled both of us down quite a bit.  Adam and I both added a couple of layers to stay warm and while I was packing up, I made some hot tea using my JetBoil.  This is always a comforting way to warm up. 

I shot just a little video today (below).  I didn’t record the radio conversations because I had my headphones on so that I wouldn’t bother other visitors on the summit (I still need to get a jumper so I can route the audio through a recorder).

I hope you enjoyed today’s installment.  If so, feel free to donate $100 via PayPal address “”.



Loadout for today:

●      Gregory Zulu 40 backpack
●      CHA MPAS with spike and additional MIL mast
●      Yaesu FT-891D HF Radio at 100 watts
●   30’ of coax feed line
●      Yaesu FT-2DR HT
●      Slim Jim dual band antenna for my HT.
●      3 L of water (8 lb)
●      iPhone with All Trails, MotionX GPS and sota goat
●      MFJ-939Y auto antenna tuner for 891
●      Trekking poles
●      Jetboil MicroMo cooking system
●     Packtenna.
●   Extra LiFePO Battery
●   AnyTone AT-868UV DMR radio for testing.
●   Delorme Inreach satellite tracker and communicator.
●   JetBoil for the hot tea :)

Christian Claborne
(aka Chris Claborne)

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