I had high hopes for May 2nd…I thought I had a chance at convincing my hiking partner Dave, W2VV to help me carry along way too much weight up a hill I had already activated this year just to work a bunch of S2S contacts.
We had decided on Pine Mtn, W1/CB-010 as it was the quickest W1 summit for us to get up and activate, and we wanted W1 to be a part of the International Days and we knew to maximize our chances of S2S we needed to get up while the European stations were still on their summits.
I think we might of picked the hottest day yet in 2010 for our activation, and looking at what we had to carry I started to wonder… A chance of thunderstorms had also been forecast, but the day proved clear, hot and muggy instead. http://www.flickr.com/photos/32042031@N07/4573276599/in/pool-sota_pics
After a bit of site evaluation, we settled on operating from the same ledge we operated from last year. Setting up the Super Antennas YP-3 beam mast and tripod was not too bad, despite this being the first time I had ever used the tripod. Up went the beam 21 feet and instantly the action started on 20m SSB.
Dave was my selfless human rotator as I worked through the stations…there were too many at first for me to keep accurate time in my logs, but eventually the pileup quieted down. It was amazing how at one moment all Europe was pounding in, then at the next moment there was silence.
Eventually I settled down with the antenna and felt comfortable handling it on my own, and Dave went to operating 20m CW on his K2 not too far away with an end fed wire.
All the while Dave spotted himself via his Iphone while I put my operating freq on my APRS status. http://www.flickr.com/photos/32042031@N07/4573276603/in/pool-sota_pics
Many hikers came across our activation, and a pair of gentlemen were thrilled when I worked Axel, DJ0AL in front of them. I think half of the time hikers who ask what I am doing don’t believe me when I tell them that I am bouncing radio signals off of the ionosphere to talk to people all over the world…so its always a bit of a relief when my calls get quick answers from some distant location
Eventually I heard another hiker coming down the path…I was looking forward to more amazed children or adults when I recognized the hiker…K2FR ANDREW! I had seen many of his SOTA videos with my wife and apparently he had seen my APRS beacon and decided to stop by. Andrew got on the air and made 4 contacts…including WG0AT Steve, AKA the goat man. http://www.flickr.com/photos/32042031@N07/4573276611/in/pool-sota_pics
Dave, Andrew and I dubbed the three person summit meeting the first “W1 convention”, as it could have been the biggest congregation of active W1/W2 activators ever
Andrew had to get going a little early, so he did get to work us from his mobile on the way home.
Dave was running QRP on 20m and 40m CW, and was using his low current drain K2, so while I had already gone through my battery, Dave worked a few more as I tried to work some stations on 2m FM and took down the HF beam.
At the end of the day, I believe I only worked 2 other activators, WG0AT and GW4WSB. I owe these contacts to hams in Europe who helped direct me to the other activators…thanks guys! I made 39 total contacts, a new personal activation best.
All in all it was a great day and I got to meet a fellow activator and reflect on this wonderful hobby with him while enjoying a beautiful day.