For the 2011 ARRL January VHF Sweepstakes, I repeated the tradition of doing a winter assault on Mount Herman (DM79) on Saturday afternoon. As in past years, Joyce (K0JJW) joined me on the hike, but we also had some other folks along to make for quite a party on the summit this year.
Stu (W0STU) and I operated independent “Single Operator – Portable” stations from the summit. Stu conned convinced James (KD0MFO) to join him on this trek. We had hoped to get “Alpha Goat” Steve (WG0AT) to go with us, but he made some excuse about needing to prepare for an upcoming trip to Dominica (J7). (Instead of slogging through the snow, Steve wants to go to the Caribbean? Probably a good choice. See Steve”s video of his previous trip up Mt Herman here.) Dan (N0OLD) also hiked up a little later in the day to join us on the summit.
Trail conditions were good, with not much snow on the trail. There were definitely some icy spots such that we enjoyed the extra grippers attached to our boots. The weather forecast was a bit marginal, so we were prepared to deal with a snowstorm moving in on us. As I told Stu, the philosophy is “We’ll have a good hike and we might also have some fun working the radios.” In the end, the weather remained solid with only a few snow flakes and temperatures just above freezing. Dan and James built a small campfire (in an established fire ring) that really warmed us up.
My primary radio was the Yaesu FT-817, driving an ARROW II yagi on 2 Meters and 70 cm and a wire dipole in the trees for 6 Meters. I also had several handheld FM rigs along including one on 222 MHz. Overall, I made 83 contacts with 15 grids for a total score of 1725.
This may have been the most fun yet for the January VHF Sweepstakes. Of course, any day in the mountains playing with radios is a good day.
73, Bob K0NR