Looking for best bang for buck in NA

Now I’m not writing SOTAData3, I can think a bit more about actually playing this radio thing, and by good fortune, I am going to be in NA late May/early June with a few days to kill before attending a work thing.

Those who know me know my particular SOTA bag is activating in new associations, so I’m hoping to find a simple excursion that will yield me best bang for buck in terms of different associations. Basic needs are:

  • Close to an airport with connections to RDU.
  • Drive-ups or short walks preferred.
  • Not including W1, W2, W4A/C/G/T/V or W6 (I’ve activated those already)

I’m seeing potentially:

  • Las Vegas, including a visit to the Grand Canyon for 2 associations.
  • Portland, for a quick dash over the “border” into Washington, again for 2 associations.
  • Maybe something around W3/W8V?

Is there anything better than that?


You could do W7O and W7W via PDX in maybe three or four hours with a HT. That’s arranging for airport pickup and dropoff by a sympathetic local. So you might not need to overnight, depending on airline schedules.


Ended up doing PDX with Josh WU7H and getting to meet Etienne K7ATN and Guy N7UN at the first summit, and followed it up by flying into Cleveland to pick up W3 and W8O in the day.

I did get 4 new associations with 3 on VHF, but it won’t feature in the Is your SOTA activating cost effective? thread for points or cost wise :rofl:

Had some fun on the second day with one of the screws in my paddle coming loose making keying not perfect, and potentially some deafness in my 20m QCX mini - probably requiring a quick BPF realignment or something. Thanks for the folks that were listening.

Now to try wangle a work trip to Spain…


The travel gods have smiled again upon me, and I’ll be back in RDU mid-April.

I’m looking at potentially booking a day trip to Denver to pick up Genesee Mountain and/or Green Mountain, most like Saturday 13th of April. I’ll make my intentions more clear closer to the date.

Other potential opportunities found (for my future reference but not going to happen this trip) include:

  • Fly into Little Rock and do W5O/OU and W5A/OH summits along AR-88/OK-1 highways.
  • Fly into Bozeman, W7M/XX-YYY, W7I/ER-017 W7Y/PA-224
  • A Quebec to Halifax road trip to get VE1/VE2/VE9/VY2.
1 Like

Come to VE6 land. We have mountains here that will leave you speechless.


1 Like

We did the reverse last year. Beautiful countryside, you should plan on staying >12 hrs (two tides) at the Bay of Fundy to see the low / high water mark.
Also there are nice summits. My two favorites are Pic-Champlain VE2/BL-002 (in a provincial park, itself worth a visit) and Sugerloaf VE9/RG-031, overlooking Campbellton and the Restigouche River, scene of the naval battle between French and British during the Seven Year’s War.
I found activating a little difficult, as normally (in Europe) the chasers really hound you down (in a nice way :-), thanks to all of you!). In Canada, it was more difficult.

73 de Martin / HB9GVW


I just returned from W8V this week. I activated 4 10pt summits there. They could all be done in one day. Spruce Knob (W8V/PH-001) is a 3 hr 15 min drive from IAD airport.

Please consider adding VE7 to a W7O/W7W trip. The Amtrak train will run you from W7O to W7W to VE7.

1 Like

Go to Arizona, 10 pointers for days. 100% best bang for your buck. You will get more points in VE7 over VE6 land as well and the landscape is on par with VE6.


My definition of “bang” is measured in new associations, not points, but this is useful information for others who may stumble across this thread.


Then definitely come up to VE6! Besides that I hope you are having a great trip!

I had been pondering the origin of “RDU” as some sort of Australian slang term for the US. Possibly:

Reverse Down Under, or
Robbers and Debtors Unloaded [from our Empire]

But the mention several days later of IAD has me leaning more toward the more mundane possibility that you were referring to Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

Yes, Raleigh, NC. It’s near Cary, NC, which does apparently stand for Containment Area for Refugee Yankees :slight_smile:


This is booked, and my alert is up, and weather is looking good.

I’m happy for any hams in the Denver area to join me at the mountain for a quick SOTA meetup, but I will only have an hour or two at the summit before returning the hire car.

All of this assumes my luggage arrives with me (transiting LAX, so that may be an issue :rofl:)