Thanks for your incredible 4-day tour of W5A. To do this in December is especially “cool”. I really want to thank you for your considerable effort and excellence.
I contacted you on 6 of your 12 peaks, and you inspired me to get my snowshoes on so I could make three of those contacts S2S from up in the snow. There’s a lot of snow out here now, and it was mostly cold here when you were in AR.
The events of 11 Dec were amazing here in Colorado. I climbed Little Scraggy W0C/FR-059 and set up as fast as possible near the craggy summit. It was gray, cold, and quite breezy at first - the temperature was around freezing. I turned on my KX2 a little before 1800Z and jumped from band to band looking for an S2S prospect. 20M, 30M, 40M, no SOTA activators…in desperation I switched to 5.332, without adjusting my tuner, and I thought I heard CW! Yes - and fast CW! I don’t usually use a counterpoise, EXCEPT for 60M, but there wasn’t time - I knew you’d be gone before long - I found a forced match with my tuner, loading up my 66-foot inverted-L without a counterpoise, and you were still calling - QSB, up and down, light - and I called - after a few repeats you got my call, somehow we made the S2S contact on 60M, at 1801Z, with solar noon near the center of the path, from the Rockies to the Poteau Mountains of Arkansas, 1086 KM - about 673 miles to you on W5A/PT-003. That contact happened because you called CQ patiently for several minutes on 5.332, despite being at the end of you activation, and I hustled up Little Scraggy, set up fast, and listened to four bands before calling CQ. It turned out to be your only contact on 60M, and your last contact for that summit, so I was fortunate to have the S2S at all. This is certainly one of my most incredible 60M contacts so far.
I stayed on Little Scraggy long enough for the gray cirrus clouds to move out and let the sun come through - then it was a fun activation, with warm fingers, lots of chasers, and more S2S contacts, for more than three hours. Looking at snowy Pikes Peak down south for so long is great! I decided to stay and try to contact you on your third summit, W5A/OH-001, Rich Mountain.
It was a long wait - I decided to stick it out to 2100Z - well past your alert time. A few minutes before 2100Z, I heard some chasers on 14.0625 - in a few minutes I was sure they were calling you, but I couldn’t hear you at all - 20M was already too long for Colorado. I listened as you ran though the pile, very professional job! Then you went to 80M CW, and I followed to see if I could hear you. My tuner tunes 80M, but my total system isn’t good there…but I heard you anyway! 80M was working all the way to Colorado! I called a couple of times, but a second miracle wasn’t in the cards…but before long, I copied you on 3.5625 saying QSY to 40M!
Quickly I rematched my wire to 7.06, where I have a full-size EFHW with a nice high-Z match with my tuner, and there you were on 7.0625, easy copy, ready to go - and at 2120 I was your first 40M contact on Rich Mountain, 579-579, second S2S, in the log! Of course it was worth the wait! Getting that contact in the same session as the one earlier on 60M totally made my day up in the snow on Little Scraggy.
Paula, YOU are one of the best activators to chase, especially for S2S, because:
- You do alerts
- You list your “special” frequencies and usually stick close to them
- You list your band-order plan on your alerts
- You plan and run your activations efficiently
- You spend a lot of time - almost never hit-and-run - even with 3 summits per day!!!
- You listen incredibly well for weak S2S signals
- You don’t give up when signals are marginal or ridiculously light, even though the clock is ticking away your precious time
- You put out a great signal on ALL your bands
- You activate many bands, so one or two bands will work for many of us
- Your CW is exceptional
- You have even more SOTA spirit than most of us!
So on Dec 12, I went up W0C/PR-114, again on snowshoes, only Bald Mountain is almost 10,000 feet high, and it was really cold, below freezing at the parking spot, and more like windy up there. Incredibly the sun came out as I got to the top, I did another quick set-up behind a fallen tree for wind-shelter, tuned around, there you were on W5A/PT-002 - Petit Jean - on 7.0625, easy copy, S2S in the log!
Thank you! Please be careful and stay on the air. Good times are ahead!