Got to activate my first SOTA summit today - W4V/GC-001 (High Knob near Norton, VA) and had a blast. Thanks to Pat, KI4SVM, for the spot and prior coordination. Wanted to make sure I could get access before spotting and have folks waiting in case I couldn’t get access. Was a bit windy today, and sometimes the local constabulary have to close the road at the bottom of the mountain due to high winds tossing over a few big trees.
Thanks to all that called, and I do apologize for any stations calling that I couldn’t pull out. The summit is on the way home to visit family, and never even thought about stopping. Last night I promised my 14 yr old daughter that I’d take her there to see the place. Then happened to think to look on SOTA maps and there it was, and 10 pts. Only had time to get on 40m for a bit, but the summit is close enough that I can stop and activate on other bands on future trips. Was on the way to see Mom (in a nursing home) so couldn’t stay too long. Will plan on taking time for other bands next time.
Now the fun(ny) part. Who has ever had a first activation go perfect?
Pre-coordinated with Pat to text on the inReach satellite communicator if there was no cell service. There wasn’t. Then couldn’t get the inReach to respond correctly. Of course I’d planned ahead for extra AA lithium batteries. Had them stored so safe it took 5 min to find them (they were in with the new MTR rig that I didn’t have time to try). Once new batteries installed, got comm with Pat.
I “knew” I had put the LNR Trail Friendly 10-20-40 antenna in the FT-817 radio case before leaving, but it wasn’t there. Had put it in a different backpack to keep it safer. At least that pack pack was in the car, too.
After finally getting on the air and making 5 contacts (I did try about 10 minutes more, but no takers I could pull out) I asked my daughter to take a happy snap of the setup and happy operator. My iPhone chose that time to decide its memory was full and didn’t want to take any pictures. A storm had went through last night, and the air was crystal clear, unlimited vis with zero haze. And a great 59 deg F with what seemed zero humidity. Of course the iPhone was happy to take photos again once we were off the mountain. Since I’d been up there last the observation tower had been rebuilt, trees had been cleared, and a new access path built. Was worth the stop besides the activation to see how nice the place now looked. It did have a few visitors, so I set up on a rock wall near the parking area. Did have a few few friendly curious visitors, so got to talk up a bit of radio and SOTA with interested parties.
But overall I had a blast, Pat was a great coordinator, the weather was absolutely beautiful, the calling stations were very well behaved, everything worked great once the bugs were beat out (and I did test/check/inventory everything last night), and my daughter enjoyed her first trip to High Knob. She’s an outdoor type, makes old Dad very happy.
Thanks again to all that helped, called, or tried calling, as well as all the folks posting the helpful hints I found on the web site and reflector.
73, it was a blast,