Activation of several “firsts”

Yesterday I activated W4C/CM-068 Bearwallow Mountain, and it represented a few firsts for me that I felt were worth sharing.

Due to family obligations, I’m typically limited to one summit per month. Bearwallow is slightly over 1hr from my QTH, has a nice pasture in the AZ with good views, and I hadn’t activated it yet so it was a nice match for a pre-lunch hike. The weather was perfect, and it was an opportunity to try out new equipment.

The first thing I wanted to try was the KX2 I took delivery of after a seemingly eternal 4mo wait. The next was a set of trekking poles my wife gave me as a Fathers Day gift. The third was an arborist throw bag/ throw line (I always use verticals or a tenkara mast). Lastly was my opportunity to try my hand at a 100% CW activation. I have been learning over the last couple months, chasing some and doing an occasional S2S, but calling CQ would be entirely new and frankly intimidating.

The hike to the summit was flawless. Perfect day and perfect hike. Upon arrival, I lay out the throw line and toss the 8oz bag over a limb about 30ft up at the perfect operating location on the edge of the pasture. I obviously made a mistake because the entire throw line went with the bag to the top, where it got stuck. I used a figure 8 wind but obviously goofed somewhere.

I used rocks, sticks, etc over the course of 25mins trying to knock the bundle loose. Finally get it down to shoulder level and begin pulling the line (Notch 1.75mm throw line). It snaps! Rated to hundreds of lbs break force but popped right in half, leaving the brand new throw weight dangling 30ft up. Ouch.

Luckily I brought my spare vertical at the very last second, so in my despair I set it up quickly and plugged in the KX2. Called on 10m for several mins but the RBN didn’t pick me up. Moved to 15m and contacts began rolling in.

Of course I had to ask for repeats, confirmations, and a QRS or two, but I was pleased with my performance overall. It was a lot of fun! Didn’t even touch the microphone during my activation, and I plan to do the same next month.

For the individuals that chased, thank you so much for your patience with me.

The summit? Beautiful. Will return with the family.

The KX2? Incredible success. I love this thing. I can’t wait to use it again.

The Leki trekking poles? By God remarkable, first time I’ve hiked in years without knee pain that evening/following day.

The throw weight/throw line? Abysmal failure. Very frustrating to waste $50 in equipment like that.

Incredibly fortunate I brought the backup vertical at the last second because that summit is terrible for 2m FM.

My CW? Will continue improve and have fun with it. A success.

Overall a great day!


Sorry to hear about your bad experience with a throw line.

Initially, I was also skeptical about using a throw line: in the first activations, I lost much time throwing this d***d weight at over a branch. But with time, you learn and today I prefer the throw line over the mast.

I use a cheap arborist throw weight (bought on-line) with ~15m (~45ft) of normal rope. I do not have a throw line bag and make sure to lay down the rope on “clean” spot on the ground (no loose bits of wood on the ground which tangle up the rop).
I try to lay down about twice the length of rope of the height of chosen branch. Put one end down at your throwing spot, walk from towards the tree, turn around and lay down the 2nd half. This gives you about the optimal 45 degree angle of throwing.

If you are not satisfied with where the weight jumps over the tree (not high enough, the branch is too weak, …), NEVER NEVER NEVER pull back the weight: always try to get it down on the other side, untie the knot of the weight (I always do a granny’s knot - the advantage is that with time it loosens itself :slight_smile: ), withdraw the empty rope gently over the tree and try again.
I lost only one throw weight until now: activating Hoher Randen DM/BW-235, I foolishly wanted to draw back the rope with the weight over the branch. The weight got tangled … :frowning:, after much tugging, the rope broke.

Believe me, with time you’ll be able to do it. I am a rather indoor guy, but my weight throwing does not look so ridiculous anymore.

73 de Martin / HB9GVW

Edit: Thanks for the picture! Always inspiring to see how other summits look like!