Successful Activation of W7W WE014, and a Cautionary Tale.

Lets start with the good. The activation went amazingly well. My “Ham Dad” ( because elmer doesnt even begin to describe what he means to me, and has done for me) Dale, WU7X lent me his KX3 for the day. What a great piece of kit! I also had my trusty IC V86.

I had pre scheduled with 4 of my close ham friends so the activation was a done deal. I have activated the other 2 summits close by, easy peasy.

The problems started on the way back. I had not planned my time on sight well, wanting to include one of my friends while he was on a break at work. This meant I was heading back at noon, the heat quickly became an issue. It was 90*F today and I had not planned well at all. I was quickly out of water and my quad muscles began cramping, I am sure I had heat exhaustion. This is where things took another turn. In my less than ideal state i failed to notice my boots had worked loose, before long the bottom of my feet were on fire. To say blisters is an understatemet, im sure my saturated socks contributed heavily to the situation.

I credit fact that i was able to maintain radio contact with one of my amazing friends Jeff, NZ2S with keeping my mind engaged and preventing me from going too hard or making mistakes. The hike in took me about an hour, out it was a 3 hour ordeal.

So be mindful of weather, pack more water than you think you need, bring extra socks, and tighten you boots often. And above all else, make sure you have a plan and a support network.


Well done recognising the problem for your feet. In hot conditions it can also help your feet if you lubricate them with Vaseline or a branded product like Compeed this avoids the toes and feet developing a high temperature from friction.

73 Andrew VK1DA/VK2DA


I don’t doubt that high temperature and lack of water were to blame in your case. But vigorous physical activity even when well hydrated and in modest temperatures can cause very painful leg cramps especially if you’re old [like me]. I have no ill effects during 99% of my (mostly single-summit) SOTA walks [sometimes my legs are a bit tired the next day] but in recent years on two arduous all-day walks I got agonizing thigh cramps which forced me to rest for 10-15 minutes.

One was on the descent from Scafell Pike G/LD-001 and Scafell (not a SOTA) after 5 hours of steep walking and scrambling (6½ hours in total).

And the other was during the walk from Brodick ferry to Goat Fell (GM/SI-006) and back. I was jogging [not walking] in hiking boots, with big rucksack and dog on a lead down the path trying to make the ferry before it left [I could see it sailing to Brodick during my descent]. When the thigh cramp hit, I had no choice but to writhe in pain then sit on the ground until the muscles relaxed. Worst of all I had to skip the customary fish supper in Brodick to get to the ferry gates just in time before they closed them. Madness!

Things we do for SOTA.


Afternoon heat and lack of water are no fun! One thing I have learned from years of rucking with heavy loads is you have to take care of your feet. Wool socks, an extra pair and a small kit to manage a blister before it becomes an issue are a good start, it is amazing how fast a foot issue becomes a big issue. Thanks for activating.



Congrats on getting Ragged done. It’s a long hike for sure. Were you able to refill water at the creek on the backside of Quartz mtn?

For what its worth, a SOTA friend recently recommended trail shoes over boots for the E. WA summits. Having done that I’m a convert as well. Our summits don’t seem to require heavy duty boots for these trails. Hope to see you on the air again.


Matt, I did some reading today and I think a pair of Merrells will be purchased next month from my discretionary fund. The boots I used had served me well, but they are work boots and not hiking boots. Also I did not have a water purifier with me so I did not chance it drinking from the stream, one will be in my pack before next outing.

Another thing that certainty played into this is simple overestimation of my ability. I regularly go on 5 to 6 mile hikes and 20 to 30 mile bike rides. I also used to backpack extensively ( 2 time BSA 50 mile badge on foot, once by canoe, and a BSA Historic Trails Award). So 10 miles and about 3k feet of elevation difference didn’t register. Well age and the fact I don’t hike unmaintained trails got me. This was very humbling for me for sure, I bet 20 years ago I could have shrugged this off, but I’m not in my 20s anymore…


I too started suffering from leg cramps towards the end of longer hikes. Following a tip from a friend, I tried drinking not water, but one of the “sports drinks” that are reputed to replace electrolytes lost in sweat. It helped considerably. Perhaps worth trying?