It has taken me over a month and half to post this; the explanation follows below.
Back in July, we had a lively discussion going in the pre-planning category. It was in a thread that I started about an activation that I had planned for Mt. Tamalpais (W6/CC-063). The main topic of discussion was my intention to test my new Efactor Dual-Band 144/432 MHz antenna, as well as the matter of which peak of Mt. Tamalpais was the correct one. A small buzz had been created, with a number of area SOTA operators planning to listen for me on 2m and/or 70cm SSB. Well, to make a long story short, on July 29 I forgot the main component of the Efactor antenna and was unable to complete that part of the activation. I was able to log enough 2m FM and 20/40m SSB contacts to qualify. The real story here starts with my next activation, in which I again intended to test the Efactor antenna.
I set out on Thursday, August 31, for Point Reyes Hill (W6/CC-071), which is located in the Point Reyes National Seashore. The normal access point is at the top of Mt. Vision Road, from which one hikes approximately one-half mile to the activation zone at the top of Point Reyes Hill. On this day however, Mt. Vision Road was closed and gated due to extreme fire danger, with no public access to the hill. Luckily, there was an easy Plan B: W6/NC-542, known simply as “Point Reyes” is located at the extreme end of the peninsula, near a popular lighthouse.
The activation went fine. The Efactor antenna worked well, although I was only able to log one contact on 2m SSB: Joe, AA0BV, who happened to be on Mt. Tamalpais. Conditions were not too good, so it took me almost three hours to log enough contacts to qualify; I ended up with five, four of which were on 20m/40m SSB.
After packing up, I successfully “bushwacked” my way back down through the brush to the trail back to the lighthouse parking lot. When I was just a few hundred yards away from the parking lot, I tripped on something on the trail and fell. I landed hard on my left shoulder; I suspect the weight of my backpack with the radio equipment contributed to the force of the fall.
To make a long story short, I fractured my humerus (upper arm bone) just below the shoulder. It was an impact fracture and required a metal plate with a number of screws to repair it. I have been out of work, recovering since then and expect to be until at least mid-December. I have only recently been able to use my left hand while typing; it has helped me to be motivated to revisit the incident and post this. I’m going through physical therapy to recover full use of the arm and am still essentially only able to use my right arm for most tasks. I posted a more-detailed account of my experience in my blog at: W6SAE Station Blog: Activation Report: Point Reyes, SOTA W6/NC-542 (and the aftermath)
I have not yet been able to bring myself to open my backpack and see how my FT-857D and antenna tuner fared. The Efactor antenna (which I was carrying in my right hand) is pretty bent; I think it can be straightened, though.
73, Steve W6SAE
P.S. I would like to thank Joe, AA0BV, who called me personally to check on me as soon as he heard what had happened. It really made my day.