MTB activation, Spring VHF Sprint, and back on the wagon

I’d been mountain biking and other things and really slacking when it comes to SOTA. Was on several good point value summits last year and did not activate them. Yikes.

Locally, had black letter of and spirit of the law OK to activate a backyard summit per recent amendment to our public health order if I it to be outdoor exercise. I’d been thinking about how to do some SOTA with MTB. I have a few ideas besides this backyard hilltop, and @N1CLC gave me some more suggestions. And, yes, I’ll fetch up my ATS3B and activate on HF as well.

3830 report, references, and photos below.

Best regards,


432 MHz Spring Sprint - 2020

Call: N7DA
Operator(s): N7DA
Station: N7DA

Class: Single Op QRP
Operating Time (hrs): 1.25

Total: QSOs = 14 Mults = 4 Total Score = 56

Club: Southern California Contest Club


HT and 6 el WA5VJB yagi. Mountain bicycle portable on W6/SC-338 Black Mountain.
Great signals when the atmosphere glassed off at sunset. Warm spring breeze
for the Spring Sprint. Great fun working lots of familiar and new calls
throughout the SoCal region. Look forward to more Sprints in the future. Fun
ride back down on the single track after dark.

event - Spring VHF & Up Sprints - 2020 Information
participation - 3830 Scores Summary
yagi - 6 el for 450 -
maybe a better choice -
Need to build one for 432 for SSB/CW!


For my understanding - almost all hiking trails are closed in San Diego county, regardless if you are on foot or on bike. Local authorities are talking about re-opening, so it is a time to dream and plan your next SOTA activation. If you know about re-opened trails - make an activation at the first opportunity.

Trails are opening up in San Diego. If it’s close I don’t go there. Also it helps to go to relatively unknown trails and there will be less people, which is the whole idea. I’m currently taking a break on the way up W6/SC260


SDMBA is doing a great job tracking status. Highly recommended reference for SD county wide trail situation with our current situation.

Sounds like a fun time and wish I would have seen your spot and tried to work you. Kent’s “Cheap Yagis” work well and are indeed ‘cheap’ to build. He also has a commercial line of PCB based yagis and log periodics that are economical, small & light and functional. I use the 400MHz to 1GHz on 440 with good success. About 9 x 11 inches and almost no weight.

PCB Antennas by Kent Brittain

Hope to catch you on future activations!
73, Howard KE6MAK

Oh, yes, I know his PCB antennas! Fun stuff.

I hadn’t thought about his 400-1000 model for portable work. I bet it doesn’t take up much pack volume, either.

Looking over the summit maps to plan some more activations. Some of our little hills aren’t as good for shooting up into ORG & LAX, but for those that are, I’ll have to bring VHF+.

MTB (mountain bike) looks like a good option for some of the summits with either short truck/forest service roads or ones that are sketchier than I want to drive on. Gravel bikes seem to be getting popular these days for that sort of thing, too.