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3 year-end activations in the Virginia Appalachians

[A report with photos of three year-end activations]
(https://n3ii.wordpress.com/2017/12/24/wolfgap01/): W4V/HB-023, HB-025, and HB-031. I’ve decided to combine activating more with backpacking trips. I’m enjoying the unrushed pace of these SOTA/camping operations, and it allows me to get into slightly more remote parts of nearby SOTA regions. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all, and an especially hearty year-end thank you to the MT and the chasers. David - N3II

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David, it’s always tickling me when I read somewhere “HB” or “HB9” – but these here are far away. Thanks for your report from HB land anyhow, hi, and happy new year!

Vy 73 de Markus, HB9DIZ

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David, yes I concur after doing a week in Desolation Wilderness as part of a larger project. Backpacking for a few days definitely adds a new element to the experience (or rather adding SOTA to backpacking :D). I have often wondered the logistics needed to do a thru hike of a long trail like the AT doing SOTA along the way. Maybe something I should look at doing in 3 years during my next sabbatical.

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@n6jfd: I would guestimate my current base weight (excluding consumables and clothing worn) less radio equipment: 25-28 pounds for the winter (i.e., 20°-40°F. I won’t go out if the prediction is colder than that, though I’m prepared for down to 0°. Also, once it ices up, I don’t go out. I have some light-weight “trail crampons,” but more than that isn’t worth the trouble for me). The ops kit - Hb1b, external LiFePo battery, pared-back SOTApole, linked dipole, jumpers, log - 3 lbs. So, rough total: 30-35 pounds plus food. Not quite ultra lite, I suppose. But it keeps me safe and more-or-less comfortable. d - n3ii.

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I am curious how much weight you were carrying with all your gear?

Definitely less weight then I carry. I use an Osprey Atmos 65L. On most week long trips I start out w/ ~50lb (this year was no exception). I am shaving weight somewhere though since that includes my radio gear.

There are just some essentials I will not do without that do add some unnecessary weight. Bear Canister does not help either, that is 2.5lbs before I have put food in it. It doubles as a chair though. For a week I focus on having extra undies and such, but get by in a single pair of convertible pants. Go thru two shirts too. (The bear can also doubles as a washing machine as well. Discovered that when I did the JMT in 2004).

my HF gear is a KX2, LNR Trailfriendly antenna. Zippy 4200 LiFe battery, all told it’s about 5 lbs once inside the LowePro camera bag I use. If I know I am doing basecamp+side trips I use a mountain bike pack that has a 3L bladder (one mistake I made this summer was doing a harder then expected side trip w/ NO water… It ended up being an 8 hour day hike with 1000 feet lost then gained each direction, and was drinking from any little source I could find that hopefully had not been infected by Marmots (to this day drinking from streams I’ve still avoided Giardia).

Yah main thing is safe and comfy! As long as I am strong enough to carry that weight then I’ll keep carrying it.

Thanks for the info, good luck in 2018,
73 -N6JFD

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