Very scary and dangerous!!!

Just found this spot on SOTAwatch. See the comment from Dave @N0DET

I hope Dave will make it home safe and sound.
Please, let us know when you had a chance.
Good luck!



Ha – surprised to see I made the headlines!

Yes, I’m home now! I was able to pack up in 10 minutes and I ran much of the way down – took 50 minutes up, only 25 minutes down! The small storm developed suddenly, but was still a few miles away as far as I could tell – but that was just a precursor of what was to come. Driving home, I saw some powerful cloud to ground lightning in the area – which confirmed my decision to call it a day!

I worked George, KX0R, S2S – he was on a summit about 40 miles south of me. Now that I’m home, I hear he is still on! Checking the weather radar, he’s apparently still in the clear….

This is the 3rd time I’ve had to cut short an activation due to lightning in the past 2 months. We’ve had an unusual spring/summer with a lot of moisture along the front range of the Rockies, so more t-storms than usual. This usual afternoon phenomenon started really early today – the first rumbles up there were at 10:30 am – early!!

Castle Mtn is short but very steep – and less than an hour from home. Still, I got about an hour of qsos on the summit – a good day!

Live to SOTA another day! :wink:



Glad to see you made it down safely. I did a lot of late afternoon activations last summer and can attest to the ferocity of lightning in Colorado. I had to bail on West White Pine mountain after activating East White Pine. The air was full of “charge” on that mountain with lightning hitting scary close. That one still bothers me and I’ll be back! Looking forward to working Colorado again…soon!


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Hi Dave,
Thank you very much for your feedback. I’m very happy that you escaped safely from that risky and scary situation.



Not fun. I’ve done section hikes on the Appalachian Trail where you don’t have the luxury of bailing off a mountain. You get into the “lightning position” and pray. :slight_smile: If you’re lucky, you will be near a shelter where you can get in shoulder to shoulder with 30 or so of your new closest friends.


Sota certainly can be dangerous.

I was activating in the Wyoming/Colorado are mid 2017 with Guy N7UN.

As was our usual process, we shared a single station. I’d start on HF SSB and he’d close with HF CW.

We could see a storm crossing a valley toward us. My activation was quick and Guy’s was lingering longer.

Storm gets closer and I’m a little concerned.

When Guy’s headphones delivered a static shock to him, we packed in what seemed like a nano second and scarpered down the mountain and into the storm in an effort to get to our car post haste.

We made it fine and I’m sure many who activate in CO regularly in the summer will share lightening is a real occupational hazard.


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Yes, I’ve made 2 quick activations while getting electric discharges on my ears through the earbuds. Scary and a bit crazy too…

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In my very early days of SOTA when I was a bit of an idiot (newly licensed, clueless kid in my early 20’s who didn’t really know what they were doing) I activated a SOTA summit here in the UK…I can’t for the life of me remember which summit it was.

I was quite happily making contacts on 2m FM when I noticed a regular “pop” sound every couple of seconds. The sky had suddenly become very dark. I guessed that it must be static in the air.

I promptly finished the QSO & disconnected the coax from the radio. I then realised a constant regular clicking sound, which initially had me confused as the radio was disconnected…then the penny dropped!

I pulled one of the guy pegs out of the ground & literally let the (aluminium telescopic) mast fall over. I collapsed the aluminium mast, stuffed everything in my bag & ran down the hill back to the car.

I was probably about 2-3 minutes from the car when I turned around to see a bolt of lightning hit the ground on (or at least very near) the hill where I had been just a few minutes before.

That’s probably the closest to death I have ever come while on a SOTA activation!