- 1st SOTA activation for VE6/HC034 2 points + winter bonus 6129 ft
Stoney Squaw Mountain is an easy 45 minute walk, 185m ascent from the Noquay Ski Area Car Park near Banff, Alberta Canada. At this time of year the trail is usually covered in snow, so proper foot wear and hiking poles are recommended. Due to its infrequent use in the winter (compared to Tunnel Mountain) the snow is nicely compacted, no icy scramble and no thigh deep snow flailing.
This peak is significantly lower than the surrounding ranges (1868 m 6129 ft), so 2m handheld are of limited use (repeaters VE6WRO [D-Star], VE6RMT [soon to have linking with Calgary] are both easily accessed), unless you might catch someone on simplex in Banff. I did however use DSTAR to beacon my position on APRS.fi
Since its only a short walk, my original plan was to set up my GFRP pole and use my MFJ 1778 G5RV, sit on 7.285 for 30 minutes then switch to 14.340 until I rustled up the requisite QSOs. Unfortunately I forgot that I had used nylon tie-wraps to neatly coil my dipole and did not have a tool to cut the nylon (Oops!). Fortunately I had a plan B and setup my 5m vertical, the KX3 ATU easily tuned to 40m but after 30min my weak signal did not elicit any QSOs. Switching to 20 m quickly brought N4EX who was kind enough to SOTA spot me (VA2SG also spotted txs), quickly followed a further 10 QSOs.
I was using an Elecraft KX3 with a 1/4 wave 5m vertical, 24x counterpoise mounted 1.5m approximately above ground. SWR = 1.8:1 flat peak with snow cover and trees.
Many thanks to everybody’s patience with my weak SSB signal:
N4EX 3355 km Rich
AJ5C 2413 km Rob
W0MNA 2047 km Gary
VA2SG 3136 km Jean-Pierre
W4ZV 3287 km William
NS7P 985 km Phil
AE4FZ 3426 km Charles
K0YO 1466 km Michael
KK1W 3390 km James
KG3W 2901 km Scott
N4MJ 2656 km Glenn
73 Walker VA6MCB