Thank you! 12 Summits of Christmas Sprint in W5A

Just a word of thanks to all those who chased me during my “Arkansas Traveler 12 Summits of Christmas Sprint” in W5A-land last week. I had planned for up to 12 summits over 4 days, and managed to get on the air from all of them with a lot of planning, a little luck and the support of many friends including chasers. The days were long with daily unexpected challenges to overcome, but that’s all part of the fun.

Some of you may know I broke my ankle in early September at the start of my last summit activation trip in W8M/UP. Thinking it was just a bad (BAD) sprain, I went on to activate 10 summits that week before getting treated ;-). The 12 Summits of Christmas trip marked my return to a multiple activation trip. I so enjoyed hearing many familiar calls, as well as a number of new ones (for me). It felt like a homecoming. Thanks for the Qs, and happy holidays to all.

73 Paula k9ir


Hi Paula,

Glad the ankle is healing and not slowing you down too much.

It was a lot of fun chasing you! I managed to get you on 9 summits. Most of those were pretty tough copy on both ends, so thanks for hanging in there with me.

Hope to get an S2S with you one of these days! Have a great holiday season… see ya on the next one.

Best 73,

. .

Paula, only got you on half of the summits. But not bad considering the hop is short to my part of Missouri from razorback country. 5 on 80 meters and 1 on 40. Glad you did not have weather issues, good planning on your part. I looked at your total this morning, 419 contacts in three days. Figuring 1.5 hours per summit that would be a total op time of 18 hours, kinda like a FD operation. So that many contacts is a bunch for sure. Thanks for some new summits down south and glad your entire round trip was safely executed as well.


Way to go Paula! I got you on a bunch of them - you made up the majority of my chasing for a few days. So glad your ankle healed up and you’re back in action. I bet you had a lot of fun on the SOTA marathon!

Keith KR7RK


I had missed chasing you this last time out. Glad to know your ankle is healing and great to hear that you are back activating again.

Ariel NY4G

That was quite a Christmas :christmas_tree: Sprint. Glad your ankle was up for it and
you’re back on the trail. Thanks for the contacts Paula. cuagn 73 Karen


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:

  1. You do alerts
  2. You list your “special” frequencies and usually stick close to them
  3. You list your band-order plan on your alerts
  4. You plan and run your activations efficiently
  5. You spend a lot of time - almost never hit-and-run - even with 3 summits per day!!!
  6. You listen incredibly well for weak S2S signals
  7. You don’t give up when signals are marginal or ridiculously light, even though the clock is ticking away your precious time
  8. You put out a great signal on ALL your bands
  9. You activate many bands, so one or two bands will work for many of us
  10. Your CW is exceptional
  11. 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!




Paula - Congratulations for your 12 activations. I wish I had been on summits but alas not…
It is always good when I get you in my log!

Thank you, Paula for those activations and also for showing up early enough on 20m for us in Western Europe to still have good enough propagation conditions to hear your signals and make QSO with you. I managed to chase you on 3 of your activations. I tried to copy you on many other occasions but, either it was too late and propagation conditions had gone or I had my S9 local QRM ON and I had gone QRT.
I remember on December 11th when I had chased you on your first activation of the day (W5A/PT-001), later you were on your third activation of the day and I was on your spotted frequency unable to copy you. Your signals were not making it anymore accross the Pond, I was only feeling when you were transmitting but unable to understand any single letter or number. Suddenly George @KX0R called you from a W0C summit and made S2S QSO with you at about 21h00z. Amazingly, both Jorge EA2LU and I copied George KX0R perfectly (529/539), but we were unable to copy you. We commented this interesting thing through whatsapp on that very moment.
Thank you also for moving 1KHz down from 14.0625, where I have a permanent QRM not very strong but enough to ruin my reception of very weak signals. Copying you on 14.0615 was much more comfortable. Let me inform you that 14.062 and 14.063 are fine for me, but 14.0625 is exactly where my QRM sits.
Finally, I want to congratulate you for having recovered well of your broken ankle and having got back into activating SOTA.
Myself and my EA colleagues will always be happy to chase you.


Tnx to all for your comments. A few specific responses:

Josh WU7H, tnx for your patience chasing me. There were a few Qs that were tough copy at my end, but for most you were clearly copyable. Definitely want to log an S2S with you soon. And congrats again on MG!

John N0EVH, I was really lucky with the wx. Some mornings were quite cold, but no ice or rain. Any significant rain would have made some roads tough if not impassable. I drove down and back on single days – that’s close to 23 total hours of driving. But knowing what I was going to do kept my spirits and energy level elevated! Tnx also for promoting my activations online, and getting me to extend the antenna to 84’.

George KX0R, tnx so much for your kind words. I am humbled in that I know you and many others are hiking to some really high points with all sorts of challenges – true mountain goats! I have learned so much from you and others in SOTA regarding activations. Your feedback is gratifying in that it tells me I’m applying those lessons effectively.

I really appreciate your donning the snowshoes so we could log some S2S QSOs – that’s real dedication! The 60M S2S practically knocked me over ;-)! I don’t think I’ve ever done S2S on that band before. 60M was spotty for me all week, and the least productive band. On the last day, partly because of the limited results and partly for time, I decided to not operate on 60M and concentrate on the bands that seemed to work for most people. But your comments give me pause on that decision for the future. Just one QSO means someone got in the log that might otherwise not have. I try to exhaust all the callers on any one band, but I’m sure at times I miss folks.

Guru EA2IF, tnx for the feedback on 20M; my new go-to frequency now is 14.0615. I had read the recent thread on when openings are best to EU on 20M, and definitely had those in mind when calculating my arrival times for the initial summits each day, and the decision to start with 20M. For my first activation on the last day, 7 of the 16 QSOs on 20M were DX – a personal best for me. I am always happy to log you, EA2LU and your colleagues.

Time to plan the next trip!

73 Paula k9ir

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