Having previously activated Mt Tzouhalem (VE7/CV-029) several times this year, I love this local summit. It’s just down the road, great views, and with the weather being so cooperative and the late sunsets, I was curious to experience the climb on my new mountain bike. This mountain is particularly popular among mountain bikers and I had a goal of incorporating the bike into my SOTA adventures.
I managed to reach the summit in approximately 55 minutes by bike. While it wasn’t exactly a walk in the park, it proved somewhat more manageable compared to my recent cycling ascent of Maple Mountain (VE7/CV-028).
Upon reaching the top around 8pm, I paused to catch my breath and made an attempt to call CQ on 2 metres. Despite my efforts with APRS spotting, I didn’t receive any responses, leading me to question whether my APRS spotting had been successful as well to question.
After a brief recovery period, I began to set up my gear. My current setup involves a 17ft whip firmly spiked in the ground, complemented by two 17ft radials. This setup has proven to be both quick and compact, making it a favourite of mine. To my delight, the SWR was impressively low, eliminating the need for any adjustments, which felt like a small win.
Once everything was in place, I tuned into 20m SSB, securing a clear frequency. I tried spotting via APRS again, although the lack of responses (likely something wrong on my end) left me unsure of its success until I checked when I got home. Indeed, the APRS spotting had worked, further cementing my appreciation for this method.
Conditions, however, were a bit challenging. My first contact came after about 10 minutes of calling CQ. I had activated this summit before, but still, securing at least 4 QSOs is always a satisfying achievement. After around 20 minutes, with 4 QSOs in the log and no further responses, I decided to try my hand at some FT8.
I have found the FT8CN app for Android extremely useful. Using a data cable, a USB sound card and my Yaesu FT-891, switching from SSB to FT8 is a quick and straightforward process, taking no more than a minute. I managed to establish 3-4 QSOs via FT8, one of which was with Atlantic Russia, a pleasant surprise.
As 9pm approached and the sun started to set, the wind picked up, indicating it was time to pack up and head home. The pack-up process was made easy by my compact setup, fitting neatly into my backpack. Descending the mountain was a breeze on the bike, taking only about 15 minutes.
In summary, it was a successful activation. The bike ride was a great addition to the adventure, particularly the ride down. The conditions on 20m could have been better, but it was still an enjoyable experience.
Later this week, I’m off to hike up Mt Prevost (VE7/CV-023) for another activation.