Tuesday, November 19, 2019

2019-11-17 Tahquitz Peak

I’ve been wanting to do Tahquitz Peak for a while but things have been getting in the way.  It’s located by Idlewild, making it an all day junket.  I was introduced to this one by Adam, K6ARK last year so I knew the drill.  I contacted Adam to see if he wanted to go and was busy.  I reached out to Mark, KG6LI to see if he wanted to go but he’s on the DL.  I forgot to call one other SOTA operator, so, I was solo today. 

Sunday, November 10, 2019

2019-11-10 Black Mtn.

I needed some exercise but couldn’t plan a big hike for today so I drove over to the tail head for Black Mtn. by my house (5 minutes) and hiked the 4 miles to the summit with my SOTA pack.  I took Sulu and it was nice to get out and get some fresh air.

Once on top I setup the K6ARK spider thread antenna on my mast and hooked up the KX2.  The noise floor was at S7 on 20, almost 9 on 40 meter.  I spotted myself on side band and didn’t get anything on either band.  I already have the points for this mountain so no big deal but before packing up, I sent out a CQ on CW (morse).  Dan, KI6KU called out to me when he got an alert via reverse beacon network (a very handy service).  Dan slowed down for me and with his contact, I was able to “activate” the mountain. 

The real bonus for this evening was the sunset.  I snapped the pic above a little late but no biggie.  Just as I was packing up, about 40 people in a hiking group showed up.  Younger people that do a meatup once a month.  Of course they were very curious about what I was doing and got a kick out of it.  I walked down in the dark under a full moon so bright that it left a shadow. I didn’t even need my headlamp.  That’s it, nothing more to tell.  :)

Sunday, November 3, 2019

My SOTA Expedition Loadout

My SOTA Loadout options: (UPDATED)

During SOTA QSOs, a lot of people ask me what I am using so I thought I would describe my setup here.  Take a look and comment on your SOTA setup.
Updated: 7/23/2020 
Updated: 6/10/2021

(BTW, SOTA = "Summits On The Air") 
Click on images for larger.

This page is turning into a bit of my "options" for a SOTA loadout. After doing this hobby for a while, gaining experience from my own adventures and learning from others, I've amassed a bit more equipment that changes based on mission. Below you'll see that I use different radios for given mission. I've been trying to lighten my load and go QRP with the KX2 and an ultra-light antenna but there are times when I load up the heavier FT-891 and associated battery when I really want to punch some power out and see how far I can really go.

One of the things that will really help me go QRP (lower power) is CW. Sending morse code over CW allows me to potentially get a lot more contacts farther away because the narrow band provides better signal to noise ratio. As I continue to learn about gear, make new antennas, learn CW, and experiment, I expect things will change. Mission #1 is have fun, and I seem to be nailing that. Pictured above is a complete 10 watt station, radio, antenna, and keyer. All you need to add is a way to get the antenna up in the air (tree or pushup pole) (it has a built in mic).(Note: Originally published Dec 31, 2017, updated Nov. 3, 2019)
 <click on images for larger>