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KLA/AN-167 Mt. Gordon Lyon (summer)

Peak name: Mt. Gordon Lyon
Peak Reference: KLA/AN-167
Location: USA, Alaska, Anchorage area
Activation Date: 2018-06-16
Trailhead to peak time: 1 Hr

Summary: Mt. Gordon Lyon and it’s brother peak, Rendezvous Mtn. (KLA/AN-169), are great options for the summer visitor to Alaska who doesn’t have a ton of time for hiking but wants to get in an activation or two. In the summer it’s an easy walk up from the Arctic Valley trailhead up to a saddle. From the saddle you can then go to either of the two peaks, both of which qualify for SOTA.

Hiking: In winter the whole approach is an avalanche area, so be sure to check on conditions before snowshoeing or skiing in. A quick call to the local hiking stores will get you some good info on snow conditions if you’re not a resident. The Alaska Avalanche Information Center is another good online resource for general conditions. I’ve hiked this peak in the winter, and it’s about a half hour to an hour longer of a hike, depending on the snow and your skills.

Operating: SOTA is still getting off the ground (no pun intended) up here, so drop me a line if you’ll be in the area. I’ll scare up some other operators for you to make sure you get your contacts in. 2 M FM voice on the national simplex channel is the best way to go. The Anchorage Amateur Radio Club website and http://www.alaskarepeaters.kl7.net/ both list repeaters in the area that you can light up to find other operators and QSY over to simplex.

For HF, QRP can be a challenge (to put it lightly) from up here. So far I haven’t been able to get squat on HF QRP from my activations. I’m working on a setup to run psk31 from the field, so we will see how that goes. But basically, plan on using simplex VHF to get your contacts in for this area. You might have better luck with CW though. I’m not a CW operator so I couldn’t say.

Packet: APRS coverage is good once you reach the saddle, but spotty on the approach up the valley. Self-spotting is easy to do either via SMS or APRS2SOTA, but again, with the challenges on HF self-spotting may be of dubious value. It’s the edge of the world up here.

Images:
Typical summer trail conditions.

Looking North towards the city of Eagle River.

View of the peak itself from my operating location. Winds can be very high and very cold up here - even in “summer”.

Looking south towards Anchorage. Good line of sight VHF access to the major population center.

This is a view to the east towards Rendezvous peak. During the winter Peter Fahringer was up here and activated both of these peaks in one afternoon.

Good view of the approach, trailhead, and partial view of the saddle between the two main peaks here.

Have fun!

3 Likes

Brandon,

Thanks for the information on SOTAs in KL7 land. From 8/30 to 9/9/2018, my XYL Karla KB6LAS and I will be doing a road trip in Alaska. We will start by spending 3 days in Fairbanks, 2 days in Big Lake, 1 day in Kenai, and 3 days in Homer before returning to Anchorage to fly back to CA. I hope to do a couple of SOTAs in Fairbanks and Homer. While I have been emailing several KL7 hams and know many activations are on 2 meter simplex, I will have my KX2 with either a vertical or random wire and plan to try HF on both CW and SSB. Since I will not have my normal hiking gear with me and due to time constraints, I will not be doing any exotic summits. While driving, I will have a mobile VHF/UHF radio and APRS (WA9STI-9) in the rental SUV so will be calling out on various AK repeaters. I also will have APRS (WA9STI-7) from my HT.

I have been checking into the Alaska-Pacific Emergency Preparedness Net on 14.292 MHz at 0830 AKDT regularly and have been able to copy KL7 stations to include up in Fairbanks with good signals to CA. Therefore I am hoping I can have the same HF conditions while on a SOTA. When the time gets closer before I leave, I will post more information on this Reflector about my upcoming SOTA attempts.

This will be our second trip to Alaska but first time to try HF. In 2016 during the NPOTA event, I was able to activate from Denali NP via FM satellite.

When you lived in CA as N6BSC, I believe we worked each other on SOTAs.

Scott WA9STI
Los Angeles, CA and Eagle River, WI

Hi Scott,
That’s great to hear that there will be another SOTA guy passing through the area. I would give you advice on the weather in August, but I haven’t been here in August yet, lol. I only moved up here in December. Anyway, send me an email @arrl.net and we can plan some stuff for when you come through. Big lake is about half an hour from me here in Eagle River, and Kenai is in easy VHF range if I’m up on a high point. I’ve been scouting out the local SOTA peaks so I can point you towards a few that are safe to do with minimal gear.

There is also another gentleman up here who does a fair amount of SOTA out of Fairbanks. I’ll put you in touch with him for that part of your trip. He’s a snowbird who goes down to AZ during the winter, but he should be up here still in August. He does most of his SOTA via satellite.

That’s interesting and encouraging to hear that you can reach the AK-Pac Emergency Net from CA. I haven’t been able to do any HF from the house we’re renting here - some kind of broad band noise is wiping out all of HF in the neighborhood and I haven’t been able to track it down yet. Anyway, email me and we’ll set some stuff in motion. Summit to summit from Kenai to Anchorage would be pretty cool.
Brandon