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W7Y/EW-017 Leg Benchmark

I’m planning to be active on Leg Benchmark (W7Y/EW-017) July 7th from 1400 UTC - 1600 UTC.

I will be taking a KX1 and either an LNR EFT Trail Friendly 10/20/40 antenna or the MP-1 Super Antenna. I will be traveling with the MS2 mini straight key so if anyone wants to trade SKCC numbers I’m game. I will be operating on 40M and 20M CW.

The current plan for approach will be from Forest-Road 707 and hiking up Head Quarters trail (trail 791) until I can make a line up the ridge to where Leg Benchmark is located. It should be a quick hike and the weather looks good.

I’m looking forward to working anyone interested in this peak.

73,

Chris, N7NAV

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Chris,

Your hiking plan is good. If you have a GPS you can tell when you get close to the summit and where to head off the trail. THe peak is the high point of a very long, narrow ridge. Avoid the cliffs and talus slopes.

I have found that heading off the trail southeast of the summit, climbing the long summit ridge, and then running west along the ridge-top is the best way to enjoy this hike. There is a game trail along the ridge. There are more bushes and problems west of the summit, so approaching from the east side works better. Once on the ridge you can see everything well. There are several sub-peaks up there, so be sure you find the right one. There are metal bench marks on the peak - that’s how you know, beside using GPS. Don’t be fooled by Pole Mountain nearby. One of the benchmarks on Legg BM says Pole, so there was confusion among the surveys.

If you want to make lots of contacts, please use your LNR antenna. There’s plenty of room up there, and many trees to support the wire. Take a long fishing pole for a support if you want to make it easy. SOTA is much more fun for you AND your chasers with large, efficient antennas.

I was on a SOTA peak today, and the bands were quite good. There was lots of short skip on 20M, so good that short paths were sometimes better on 20M than on 40M!

73

George
KX0R

George,

Thanks for the tip. Being the first time to hike this route I really appreciate the advice. I will be checking gear and placing the route on the map (and waypoints in the GPS) tomorrow. The report you linked on the summit’s page was great and accounts for the majority of the route planning.

I do want to get the LNR out as I have not used that antenna as much as I should. The MP-1 was my first antenna and has traveled the world with me (almost a security blanket). I do understand the compromise which made the LNR more appealing. This should be a great trip for it and hopefully a beginning to a long life with it.

Thanks again for the information.

73,

Chris, N7NAV

Chris,

My two cents on Leg… The 707 Rd can be washboarded. It’s the shorter hike if you don’t mind the road. I parked at the other (west) trailhead last time (and paid the $5 fee.) Take your time when you get close to the top working over or around the obstacles. I slipped off a boulder after an activation of Leg a couple years ago and narrowly avoided wrenching my leg in the gap between boulders.

I plan on doing SOTA on Sunday, though I probably won’t be summitting that early.
Have fun!
73,
Peter KD0YOB

Peter,

Thanks for the tip. My home QTH is Laramie and we travel the Forest Roads of Pole Mt frequently. FR 707 is in pretty good shape this year (so far). The Pole Mt area has seen more rain this Spring than normal so I will be on the lookout for loose rock, and with the notes from George and you about the terrain around the summit I will keep extra awareness along the route.

The weather still looks good for the morning. I may extend my operating depending on the band conditions, so I will look for you on SOTAwatch.

73,

Chris, N7NAV

Well, that went well considering I had a late start this morning and forgot to take my phone to update SOTAwatch.

The weather was about as perfect as you can get with a light breeze and temperatures around 18C - 20C (mid 60’s F). The sun was shining with very few clouds. The Pole Mountian area has had a wet Spring and the wildflowers were in full display. Forest Road 707 was in great shape and Headquarters trail is easily traveled. The route overall would probably be rated as class II, but that’s due to the route finding along the ridge once off trail. The advice and articles (from KD0YOB and KX0R respectively) plus time spent with map and compass made this hike relatively straight forward. The only issue I had was a run in with a cow moose, and after giving her a wide berth I ended up below Headquarters trail a little farther than I intended.

I activated with a KX1, LNR EFT Trail Friendly 10/20/40 antenna, and MS2 mini straight key. Without my phone to add spots on SOATwatch I was able to make 13 contacts between 40M and 20M. The bands were quiet and my furthest contact was on 20M with AC1Z in NH (KX1 at 3W).

I’m getting back into CW and SOTA certainly helps. Thank you to all the ops who stuck with me at QRS speeds (and my erratic operating skills).

73,

N7NAV

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