Tuesday, July 30, 2019

2019-07-30 Flat Top


Today’s hike takes me to Flat Top Mountain, near Springerville, AZ.  It also happens to be known by the SOTA community as W7A/AP-033.  I begrudgingly got up at 0630 to head out.  In retrospect I should have loaded up earlier.  Jeanette was going with me today as it’s a good hike and near her folks place. (HERE is our route that we took which was 7.8 miles round trip and 935 elevation gain.  Not bad really.)

The trail head is about 25 minutes from the SOC (SOTA Operations Center, AKA  my villa or cabin) and well marked.  We put on our packs and headed out for the hike on a warm clear monring.  With all the rain the area is looking really nice.  The trail goes up the Murray Basin / Saffel Canyon and then branches off to the south west up Flat Top trail.  The mountain has verticals cliffs around 2/3rds of it so you have to walk around to the back side, up a saddle and then up that ridge to get to the top.  The last mile has about half of the 935 feet of elevation gain so it’s not really that bad.  It’s rocky terrain mixed with areas of sandy loamy earth.  It’s a nice trail.


Once on top, I walked to the other side of the mesa.  It’s definitely flat, and expansive.  It would be perfect for a field day operation because you could really spread out.  The Field Day Team would just need to pack all their gear and supplies in.

Because we summited at about 10 there was plenty of shade to be had.  Setup was easy and I first set out to do a little chasing.  AT&T service was sketchy but usable.  I tried a few stations via CW but no joy.  I did get one station via phone SSB and another called me.  After spotting myself, I had a pretty good pileup working.
(Update: Pete, 
KD2OMV, emailed me this evening and said that he thought he heard me calling S2S with my call sign.  We never made contact but it's nice of him to let me know.  I guess this shit does work after all. )

I netted 20 contacts and decided to try chasing what few SOTA guys were out there.  I had one call me earlier but I couldn’t pull out any of the CW guys.  I almost had one but I just couldn’t pull the operator out of the noise.  I really should be trying my dipole but the CHA MPAS allows me to run multiple bands.  A good number of my contacts were in California, surprising both myself and the chaser.  Normally 20 meters skips right over CA.  Pretty much the same story yesterday.  40 meter sucked just like yesterday.

The way back is always a tad boring since the sense of adventure is gone.  Today it felt a bit longer due to the heat.  It was probably pushing over 80.  The dog was hot and her paws took a little too much damage I’m afraid.  She was limping a little but would run ahead of me, duck under a tree, lay down and then wait for me to pass.  I gave her some breaks and water along the way.  I felt sorry for her.  She’s beat.

After the hike, we met up with Jeanette’s parents for lunch.  I took everyone out to Booga Reds, and yes, I gorged myself on green chili rellenos and beans.  Now it’s time for a nap.  The clouds are building over the mountains but not like yesterday.  I give it a 75% chance of thunderstorms here in Springerville, 95% chance for thunderstorms in Alpine, next to my villa.  (BTW, I've never seen a "Sharp Curves" sign on a hiking trail. 

Thanks to all the chasers out there.  It was another fun peak.

P.S. It rained on the way home and the villa was, cool, wet and inviting.  Once I finished editing the vidio from today, I shaved, showered, and setup the sundowner eats and wine outside.  Ahhh.  This is the life.

 A glass of Cabernet and other bits to eat during the day's "sundowner".

Contacts

Date:30/Jul/2019 Summit:W7A/AP-033 (Flat Top) Call Used:N1CLC Points: 10 Bonus: 0   Delete

Time
Call
Band
Mode
16:47z
W1DMH/VE6
14MHz
SSB
17:03z
K0LAF
14MHz
SSB
17:09z
K6EL
14MHz
SSB
17:09z
W0MNA
14MHz
SSB
17:10z
W0ERI
14MHz
SSB
17:10z
VE2JCW
14MHz
SSB
17:11z
K0BBC
14MHz
SSB
17:12z
AB4WL
14MHz
SSB
17:12z
N0RZ
14MHz
SSB
17:12z
W5GAI
14MHz
SSB
17:13z
K3TCU
14MHz
SSB
17:13z
KD0MQO
14MHz
SSB
17:15z
NE4TN
14MHz
SSB
17:15z
NG6R
14MHz
SSB
17:16z
KE6MT
14MHz
SSB
17:17z
AI6CY
14MHz
SSB
17:18z
KH2TJ
14MHz
SSB
17:19z
K0AVN
14MHz
SSB
17:20z
K0BBC
14MHz
SSB
17:27z
W9MRH
14MHz
SSB


 Loadout for the multiple summits:
NOTE:  The links for these were broken, I've updated them on my equipment loadout page.
      Gregory Zulu 40 backpack
      First aid kit.  Make sure it’s a good one... like ability to patch up an impalement wound.        CHA MPAS with spike and additional MIL mast (and version 2 of the top section)
      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
      LDG Z-100 plus auto antenna tuner for the FT 891
      Trekking poles
      Jetboil MicroMo cooking system
     Packtenna.
   Extra LiFePO Battery
   AnyTone AT-868UV DMR radio for testing.
   Custom wiine bottle cork paddles for CW (crafted by K6ARK)
   American Morse Porta Paddle for CW
   Delorme Inreach satellite tracker and communicator.

73,
N1CLC
Christian Claborne
(aka Chris Claborne)



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