I’m so sorry to do this but my activation today of W4C/EM-085, Pilot Mountain in North Carolina, was NOT a valid activation due to a misunderstanding, and I won’t be uploading my Activation or Summit-to-Summit logs.
Pilot Mountain is a very popular destination and there is a tourist trail leading towards the summit. However, the true summit is off-limits. We erroneously believed that the top of the tourist trail was well within the Activation Zone. On the rare times I’ve been unable to reach the true summit on other activations, I’ve always been quite careful to confirm the A.Z. boundaries, using topo maps and GPS readings; but today I assumed all was well and didn’t do the proper homework. It certainly looked visually like we were less than 75 vertical feet below the peak, and Derek (WF4I), Gordon (KW4CZ), and myself (KR7RK) proceeded to set up and make contacts.
Just as I began packing up, we received a message that said we must be outside the A.Z. Derek, WF4I went to get his GPS unit and checked the elevation, and sure enough we were approximately 140-150 feet below the summit. It was terribly disappointing, as our logs contained many contacts including some great DX.
The SOTA rules regarding what constitutes a valid activation are clear, and I don’t want to be a rule breaker or even “stretch” the rules. Yes we were very close, and yes it would not have been legal to go beyond the top of the trail; but that does not override the activation zone definition. I feel very bad that our many Chasers today thought they were making a good SOTA QSO, only to find out it wasn’t, but we did not know this until afterwards. I’ve discussed this with the W4C Association Manager, KI4SVM, and I appreciate his thoughtful evaluation of the situation. I hope you’ll all forgive me, and I look forward to making it up with a whole bunch of legitimate SOTA QSO’s in 2020!
73 es HNY,