W0C – Back from a long hiatus, thanks to SOTA


After being completely QRT for well over 20 years (various other parts of life always taking priority), a chance set of discussions sparked my renewed interest in radio, particularly QRP. I stumbled across SOTA, which seemed like it would provide a convenient excuse to operate in the context of hiking, and discovered that our recent relocation to the Front Range of Colorado placed us within driving distance of a summit or two.

Fast forward a few months, an upgrade to Extra for me, zero-to-General for my teenage daughter, and we’re trying to get up to speed for our first activations this Spring or Summer. (My daughter, who historically was never the most outdoorsy kid, is already pestering me about it … going to wait until it gets a tad warmer up in the hills, since we’re not quite ready for snowshoe portable yet.)

Apart from trying to get my Morse up to a functional level (hoping to activate with CW and possibly digital, maybe digital and SSB for my daughter at this point, although she thinks that Morse is pretty cool), I’ve been scouring K0MOS’s excellent site for local activation reviews, tips, and techniques. (I’m still trying to figure out the whole “getting your antenna up when you’re above the treeline” thing, as well as how to pack way too much stuff for the first few activations.)

Looking forward to bringing myself up to speed with all of the good info here.

Ivan AI0IA


Hi Ivan,
Welcome back to ham radio and to SOTA! It looks like you live just a couple of miles from me. I’d be more than happy to show you my SOTA set up and associated hiking/climbing equipment in person. You can find my email address on QRZ.com.

73, Brad

Hello Ivan,
Welcome back! A truly nice aspect of ham radio is that it will wait for you; through military service, college, raising kids, or what have you. Hope you got the info. on the SOTA desk, which was sent as a reflector reply. If not, send me an e-mail address.

All best, Ken, K6HPX

You’re a lucky man living not far from Brad… you have a “SOTA playground” some of us can only dream of.

Hope to catch you on a S2S sometime

Richard // N2GBR in W3 land.

What a gift to now have some time to do these things, Ivan, and with your daughter as well! Brad will be a great resource for you, and I would be happy to chat with you by email (see QRZ dot com) to discuss also. I recall so well my first SOTA and attempting to guy a pole above treeline. It seems so easy now, but that’s after about 500 activations, hi hi. 73 - Fred KT5X (aka WS0TA)

Hello Ivan,
I just got started in SOTA this summer and I live above Denver in Evergreen. I spent the last three Sundays trying to get up a 14er to activate it. Made it up last Sunday but my hands were too cold and numb to operate my radio.

I hope we can meet and head up a summit sometime. I might try another 14er or 13er the second Sunday of February. There are a lot of shorter summits available. Green Mountain on the west side of Denver and Genesee Mountain (W0C/FR-194) are easy summits.

Mark N0MTN

Thanks for all of the well-wishes and offers of advice. (I will no doubt take folks up on the latter once I come out from under my somewhat-heavy diet of CW practice, courtesy of CW Academy.)

One of the nice things about my daughter’s recent entry into amateur radio is that (apart from providing a pending excuse to hike up a mountain) her interest at this point isn’t focused on the technology so much as on the contacts and the “spirit” behind amateur radio. Basically, along the lines of Don Keith’s “Riding the Shortwaves” book, she “gets it”. (My wife, whom I met well after I became inactive, is still trying to figure this all out, however. :wink: )

Ivan AI0IA