I couldn’t sleep well Friday night. My last minute prep kept me up near midnight, the alarm set for 5AM.
Awakened around 4 I just got up and headed out. Gas tank full ($6/gal) and heading north by 4:40. The drive was smooth except for considerable fire smoke over Tejon Pass. I wondered if a brush fire would prevent a return in the afternoon. Luckily, not.
It was a beautiful morning on Cerro Noroeste, W6/SC-001, smog-free blue sky, calm, and quiet among the big trees. I was ready to operate at 14Z within 45 minutes of arrival.
My setup was more elaborate than usual. I had a folding table and chair, two 27T batteries (62 lb each), my K3, a real paddle (a Vibroplex I purchased in 1982!), a square loop for 6 meters clamped to 10’ of pvc stuck into a 3D printed flange mounted on a heavy plywood.board weighted down with a sandbag and large water bottles. On HF I used the inner 30’ of a Spiderbeams 40’ pole to suspend a 66’ inverted vee doublet fed with CAT5 single twisted pair. Tree branches kept the pole vertical.
Conditions were pretty good, the bands quiet. I started on 20 and had Don, AC7P, call in from TX for QSO #4. Gary/K3TCU/PA, Fred/WX1S/NH and Ken/W4KAC/NC were #1, #2 and #3. I ran 5 watts.
Then I varied the power and plied the bands. Hiro, JG0AWE called in on 40 while I was running 5 watts. Christian, F4WBN, came through on 17. 15 was brilliant as Jan,OK2PDT, Rick, EA4M, Borut, S52AU and Ian, GI0AZB called in. Wow! I also worked YB7KE, CX2AQ and PY5ZHP in the SA contest on 15. SWL calls included YH0ONN on 40, HK3EYC and E21YDP on 20, XV1X and 12 of 18 NCDXF beacons on 15.
It was great to log so many familiar calls (I need to learn All of your names!) from WA to FL, ME to CA, TX to VE6. In all, 129 QSOs and 8 S2S. Eric, KG6MZS, and Ara, N6ARA, were out on local summits to chase me. Thanks, Gents! I also worked several DM, DN and EM grids on 6 meters, VE5MX the most distant.
Brian, W6BFT, was in a campsite on the summit and dropped by a few times to say hello and see how I was doing; an S2S eyeball QSO.
Soon after diving into SOTA (4/2019) I discovered that Dan, NA6MG, was not far away. He has been very helpful in showing me how it’s done and the joint activations we’ve done have always been a pleasure. TU, Dan! He and other activators have helped shape how I do an activation. (To think I lugged the 40’ mast to Throop and Baden-Powell summits once.)
Mike, KN6EZE, organized the SoCal SOTA group which has been indispensable to meeting the locals and staying sane during the worst of Covid. Thanks, Mike!
I’ve been licensed since 9th grade when I was 14 years old (1969). Traffic handling, rag chewing and contesting polished my CW skills. What really impresses me are the newly minted hams who tackle SOTA while learning what ham radio is all about. Throw in CW , to boot. I salute you.
Until our next QSO.
P.S. Apologies. I took ZERO pictures yesterday.