Hey SOTAteers (not sure if that’s a word used or I just made it up),
Anyway, I’m new here to the Reflector and it’s nice to have a place to chit chat about SOTA online.
I’m in W0C and really plan on putting my SOTA boots on a lot this spring/summer/fall (even winter)!
Steve WG0AT kinda got me into this sub-genre of ham radio after I emailed, then called, him about an antenna question (I think). He invited me to a club meeting that he goes to and that led to my first activation up Mt. Herman…which should be renamed Mt. wG0AT in all honesty. He took me under his wing, which is behind his goats, and elmered me into SOTA. Bob (K0NR), another of my SOTA influences, also runs a great club and is a great group of people!
That first activation, I really didn’t factor in the hike portion. I also didn’t really have a backpack/SOTA friendly radio. So I’m thinking, it’s more or less a portable type of operating. I ended up hiking up Herman with an FT-450D and a 7ah SLA battery, with solar panels in my backpack. That was heavy. (Almost) as soon as I descended, I went straight to HRO and got an FT-817 lol.
So I love activating with my friends, but recently, as of last week, I’ve been activating solo. And that’s also fun. SOTA is just fun anyway you look at it.
It truly combines two of the things I love: the outdoors and ham radio. As of now, I’ve been using my Raspberry Pi on activations, running FT8 on the summits and also using it to log SSB Q’s. It’s very handy. Once I figure out how/if possible to post pics in here, I will.
So I’m just going to copy and paste the About Me portion from QRZ so you can know, well, about me!
I got my license in September 2011 and have been tickling the ether ever since. I’m originally from North Carolina and love the Tar Heel State. However, I believe Colorado is where I’m going to spend the rest of my days.
I also joined a local radio astronomy/ham club. It really peaked my interest because I love space and ham radio too! They have a huge 60m (wide, not band) radio telescope/dish and it’s awesome! I acquired a 1.8m dish myself and plan on using that for some higher frequency work and maybe EME at some point.
I’m a former U.S. Marine. Some of my past duty stations have been Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii; Okinawa, Japan; Camp Lejeune, North Carolina and Fort Meade, Maryland. I deployed to Iraq in '04-'05 as a heavy machine gunner. That was my MOS (job) for my first four years in the Marines.
A highlight from that enlistment was that I participated in Operation Phantom Fury, which was commonly known as the Battle of Fallujah and we recaptured the city from the insurgency. I’m very thankful and consider myself blessed that I made it through that war without injury or worse.
After a brief stint as a Deputy Sheriff in my home county, I returned to the Marines as a 2621 Signals Intelligence Analyst where I deployed to Afghanistan with 2nd Radio Battalion. This began my interest in radio, and after returning from that deployment, I got my Technician license.
After finishing my second enlistment, with a total of 10 years in the Marines, I got out and used my GI BIll to attend Charis Bible College where I majored in Biblical Studies and Ministry.
I also love to do woodworking as well and my specialty is woodturning. I make bowls and pens. I have built a lot of the furniture in my house and continue to do so often. Having an XYL that works for Sherwin-Williams Wood Finishes helps too.
So cheers to all, thanks for the chase! I’m beginning to hear some of the same nice people on activations and I hope I continue to get to know the SOTA community.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. 73!
Caleb // W4XEN