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Three Days in Denver

I was lucky to be in Denver recently for a 3-day business meeting and able to extend my stay with the intention of completing some SOTA peaks. After my meetings finished Friday, I rushed to the Airport and picked up a rental car. By lunchtime, I was heading South of Denver to my first target… Mt Herman.

Mt Herman W0C / FR-063
Anyone that looks up “SOTA” on Youtube will recognize this one, probably recalling images of WG0AT and his famous four-legged, pack bearing friends.


As the road ends… it was dirt track for about 1.5miles up to the parking spot/trail head. A couple of “interesting” spots on the track needed careful navigation with the limited ground clearances… it only scraped a little… honest… :wink:

I met a group of local Para-sail guys at the trail head and wandered up to the top with them… happy that I only had a day-pack… one of those fellas had a 40lb pack! The trail up is a very obvious… until the top section… where it sprawls out depending on your final summit destination, North … South or somewhere in between…
I signed into the summit log and set-up for HF operation. I made a quick contact on 146.52 then moved to HF on 20m… 15+ contacts… I moved to 40m made a single contact and then called it a day (radio wise)… I gave the amateur radio / SOTA spiel to Several “passers by” and handed out a SOTA flyer to one guy that seemed very interested…

Mt Herman was a really nice friendly introduction to W0C land.

Pikes Peak in the distance behind me…

Saturday this was my main day to do something special…
I started out easy on Pence Mount … W0C / PR-118… it was a short 20mins or so from my hotel in Golden…
Following the SOTA access notes, I parked in the suggested spot and made my way up to the clearing at the top… The route to the top was fairly haphazard… in places the snow was almost thigh deep! other places… no snow at all… so I picked my way through up to the top… huffing and puffing like a good’un… altitude… what fun…

There are three well placed trees in the meadow at the top so setting up the link-dipole was easy… 20m first I made 8 contacts including some that usually chase me on the East coast. I switched over to 40m and made four more. I then moved on to 2m … a few contacts there including K0JQZ… who was working on summiting… “but not quite there yet” I waited an hour and called him a few times… but never reestablished contact… As I packed up… I heard WA6MM and completed a S2S. We had a chat and he convinced me to have a go at Squaw Mtn next…

Squaw Mountain W0C / PR-082
Not far “up the road” is Squaw Mountain ( and then further still Rogers Peak…)
I parked at the obvious parking spot on Squaw Pass road. The path to the top is a Jeep quality trail… it was still snowy up there and at an altitude I’ve not been at without an aircraft for about 20years… starting at ~10,600ft. I was really huffing and puffing now… the soft snow was a pain too… not being a lite-weight… I broke through the upper crust of snow on every step… ugggg.
Eventually, I reached the top… observation tower/ridge to the right and then the gully between the two high points on the ridge line is where i set-up… with the most extensive VHF/UHF array I have witnessed…


Since the wind was kicking up now 15 with gusts to 30 I found a spot by the picnic tables and put out the link dipole…

I made a quick contact on 146.52FM and then ran on 20m for 6more contacts… not much action really… I was cold by then anyway so I packed up ready to leave… at this point I met up with a couple of young (20’s) lads wearing shorts and sneakers for the walk down… us Brits get everywhere and one of these fellas had “just” moved here from Nottingham… the world is a small place sometime… we had an entertaining discussion on the way back down

Sunday…
WX was a bit iffy… I drove out west to check out… W0C / FR-054 Douglas Mountain that looked “interesting” on the map…
The parking spot was NOT Hertz economy car friendly… you’d need some decent ground clearance and then to seal the deal it started snowing… that was enough for me so I headed back towards Denver and Genesee mountain park…

Genesee Mtn W0C / FR-194
This is an easy one… the short walk from the parking lot below the summit took 5-10mins. Place was empty, as expected…

I made quick contact on 146.52 and then moved to HF… 9 contacts on 20m and then things went quiet… I moved on to 17m and made a local contact with N0CU… we had a decent chat and I kept turning down the power on the KX3… eventually settling with a 59 on 100mW… that’s a first!
It started raining so I packed up and wandered back to the car… There was time left to get one more peak in before it would be time to head to the airport…

Green Mountain W0C / FR-107


There’s a nice path upto the top and you can make a circular walk of it too, if you like. This was the first time I’ve been able to activate a peak solely on FM (2M)… so that’s a first… the walk took about 45mins from the car. I was fortunate to catch up with WA6MM and make some 2m contacts… with only a quarter-wave whip… I put 7 in the log and then made plans for a face to face QSO with WA6MM. 20mins later I was back in the parking lot… Brad made my day by giving me the choice of two type of cold beer at the packing lot. We had a great chat about SOTA and gear and climbing and stuff till it was time to go

Wrap-up
Well I met my goals for the trip… 5 peaks and some great memories. I really hope I can get back to W0C land again soon… maybe the meet-up in August? Equipment all worked well and it was nice to have a lighter pack than normal… I did carry enough stuff though… being in the hills on my own… I always had the ten essentials with me…

Equipment.
Yaesu Vx-8
Elecraft KX3 with internal ATU
Link dipole 20/40meters

All this gear was in my Carry-on bag, no dramas going through the TSA-pre line at either Pittsburgh or Denver Airports.

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Great write-up Richard and it was nice to work you S2S and as a chaser while you were here in Colorado. Do plan to find a way to visit us in August for our annual SOTA and 14er event. I’d be pleased to climb and activate a summit with you my friend!

73, Brad
WA6MM

Thanks Brad, I really enjoyed my trip in Denver (and the work portion was fun too). I’ll see if I can swing the visit in August for the SOTA event and let you know. Good to meet you and thanks again for the QSO’s and especially that cold beer… I’ll repay that next time we meet.
Richard/// N2GBR

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