Back in the summer of 2013, I did the first Summits On The Air (SOTA) activation for W0C/SP-094. This is an unnamed summit (10350) near Trout Creek Pass not far from our cabin. Although I did activate it, I only made two radio contacts from the summit (so no activator points awarded). A thunderstorm had moved in and I decided to abandon the effort. Actually, I don’t recall much from that activation other than getting skunked due to weather.
So today, Joyce/K0JJW and I returned to the summit to set things right. Following Walt/W0CP’s suggestion, we drove the Jeep from the south (Hwy 24) taking FR 305 to FR 376 and parked just off the road at 38.86967, -106.03146. FR 305 is a good 2WD gravel road; FR 376 is easy 4WD (or high clearance 2WD). (Be aware of the seasonal road closures from Dec 1 to April 15.) A winter storm warning was in effect the night before we hiked, so I wondered if the weather was going to win again. As it turns out, we had 3 or 4 inches of new snow on the ground which was not a problem.
From the parking spot, the hiking route is not critical. Just head for the summit. We decided to swing slightly to the east which gave us a little less slope. It also provided us a nice walk across the top of the ridge that extends out to the southeast. As you can see from the photo, the summit is flat with a reasonable number of trees. Round trip distance is 1.5 miles with 700 feet of vertical. Easy peasy.
Once on top, we called on 146.52 MHz and worked Bob/W0BV, Skip/W9GYA, Jim/KD0MRC, Walt/WZ0N, Dave/N0KM and Ken/WA6TTY. We also made a couple of 446.0 MHz contacts with some of the same stations.
Earlier, as we left for the trailhead, I got an email from Steve/WG0AT that he was headed up Mt Herman (W0C/FR-063). This sounded like a great summit-to-summit opportunity! I figured we’d need our best 2m fm station, so I got out the Yaesu FT-90 and the Arrow 3-element yagi. I saw him spotted on SOTAwatch so I called him multiple times on 2m fm. Finally, I heard someone else talking to him on 146.52 which caused me to swing the antenna back and forth. Sure enough, I could hear him…barely…with the antenna pointed way south of his location. This often happens in the mountains…the direct path is not always the best path on VHF. I just barely worked Steve and got him in the log.
We stayed on the summit for a while, enjoying the view of Mt Princeton, then hiked down. It was a wonderful activation…much better than the first time.
73, Bob K0NR