Chabot 2 Benchmark, W6/NC-432 – 2018

Activation Date: 8 July 2018
Transport: Hike Distance: 1.8 miles
Elev. gain: 300 feet Time: 40 minutes
Rig(s): MTR-3B Band(s): 40/20m (cw)
Antenna(s): End-Fed Half-Wave
Cell Service: Excellent (T-Mobile)
ParkingSmall lot at trailhead, or side of road
Trailhead: Fairmont Ridge Staging Area
Fees/Permits: None
RouteFairmont Ridge, stay right of eucalyptus trees
Dogs: Yes (off-leash OK) Toilet: No
Antenna Support: Lots of trees and fences RF Noise: Low

Named “Chabot 2 Benchmark” for SOTA, this is actually “Fairmont Ridge.” I’m sure there’s a benchmark with that name somewhere inside the fenced area, but I haven’t been there.  This is one of the easiest local peaks and this year I’d been saving activating it for when Austin, K6ABM aka “DietSOTA” and I were able to meet up.  We finally made it happen!

Getting There

See my last post.  It’s pretty easy!

The Hike

Same as last time. There really isn’t much variation to be had on this. Although, I did have a different dog with me this time, and I was finally meeting K6ABM in person. We chatted on the way up.  I forgot to take pics, but there’s nothing new to see.  It’s a pleasant and short hike.


We got to a nice spot on the east side of the eucalyptus trees with a nice view of the lake and proceeded to set up.  Of course, we chatted some more, first—show and tell of various equipment.  I was using my linked end-fed half-wave antenna with QRPGuys matching unit and Austin would be using his Chameleon vertical antenna.  I figured we’d take turns operating, so as not to interfere with each other.  We took turns attempting to throw my antenna wire high up in one of the trees, with me continually missing and Austin not doing much better.  Boy, it’s been a while!  I finally got it up on a pretty high branch – maybe 35-40 feet or so.  I sloped it to the east and attached it to my backpack for strain relief.

We bungee-corded Austin’s vertical to a nearby shrub and both of us were good to go.

I started out on 20 meters, while Austin checked out 40 meters.  It turned out that neither of us interfered with the other if we stayed on separate bands.  So we got to the business of making contacts!

I had cell service and could have self-spotted, but decided to be lazy and rely on RBNHole to spot me based on my alert info.  It worked.  In about 10 minutes of operating, I had 12 contacts on 20 meters.

The operating position

In the meantime, Austin was working on getting contacts on 40 meters and the band wasn’t cooperating. Still, he’d managed to make a couple of contacts.

Austin K6ABM – “DietSOTA” gettin’ it done

We switched around – he went to 20 meters and I started on 40.  I ended up only making one contact there.  I chatted with Austin some more, to see how he was doing. He was still having some trouble getting the needed 4 contacts.  I pulled up my SOTA app to see if there were any S2S opportunities for him and noticed George, KX0R on a summit, operating CW.  I asked if I could jump onto 20 real quick to try and get the S2S.  Got it!

We also discovered some sort of problem either with Austin’s KX2 mic, or the mic gain settings.  People were having trouble understanding him, even with a strong signal.  We

Austin worked on getting contacts for a while longer and ended up at 3 contacts, before we decided to pack up the HF stuff and go.  Before leaving, I managed to get another S2S contact with Adam, K6ARK.

If you look very closely, you can see my antenna wire up in the tree

We packed everything up and walked to the other side of the eucalyptus trees, where Austin easily got his 4th contact using his HT on 146.52.  We had a pleasant walk back to the trailhead.

Walking back


Activation Log

Time Call Band Mode Notes
16:02z K0HNC 14MHz CW
16:03z NW7E 14MHz CW
16:04z W0MNA 14MHz CW
16:05z W6STR 14MHz CW
16:06z N7KRN 14MHz CW
16:07z W0ERI 14MHz CW
16:08z K6MW 14MHz CW
16:09z K9PM 14MHz CW
16:10z NS7P 14MHz CW
16:10z NU7A 14MHz CW
16:11z WA2US 14MHz CW
16:13z K7MK 14MHz CW
16:21z K6GVG 7MHz CW
16:24z KX0R 14MHz CW
S2S W0C/FR-179
17:02z K6ARK 7MHz CW S2S W6/ND-283


Download file: chabot-2-benchmark.gpx