First Activation: "Alien Tower"

I finally completed my first activation on Monday, October 10, and while it provided the requisite last-minute stressors, I’m happy with the outcome. I wanted to focus on 10 meters, since the band has been so hot lately, but two different variants on a tripod-mounted vertical with counterpoise refused to tune while testing in my yard. At the last minute I soldered together a simple wire dipole and headed out with the FT-891, a 20 Ah LiFePO4 and a couple of handhelds.

The summit was W7U/UT-043, which has the boring official name of “View Benchmark,” but which the hikers call “Alien Tower.” The reason is this odd structure at the summit:

Alien Tower

That’s a legacy survey marker from the pre-GPS days. Elevation at the top is 2037m/6683’ MSL. I had posted an alert, and mentioned my upcoming hike on a couple of nets the previous night, so I was greeted with enough simplex contacts on 144, 220 and 430 on the handheld to qualify within a few minutes of arriving at the summit. I then tied off the dipole between a rung of the survey marker and a tall Juniper, putting the center of the dipole at about 2m off ground, and started calling.

I had no cellphone service, so a local spotted me on 28.345 SSB, and the CQs began bearing fruit. I was active for about 1 hour 50 minutes, and netted 30 contacts on 4 bands, worked 9 states and Canada on 10m, and very nearly worked a PY2 and a WP4 who were too weak to copy. Given the compromised antenna, I believe the 100 watts saved this outing from being a disappointment. I can’t wait for the next one!

We have lots of candidate summits around Utah. I need to refine my antennas and pack, but I think I’m hooked. - 73, Paul AE4KR


Congrats Paul on your first activation!
W6LOR and I were at that peak several weeks ago as we were passing through Utah. Thanks for the info about the survey marker, and welcome to the addiction!
Mike K6STR

1 Like