|Activation Date: 16 July 2018
|Transport: Drive-Up / Walk
|Distance: 159 stairs
|Elev. gain: 100 feet
|Time: 10 minutes
|Rig(s): VX-2R, GD-77
|Band(s): 2m/70cm (fm/dmr)
|Antenna(s): 12.5″ whip
|Cell Service: Moderate (T-Mobile)
|Parking: Summit Lot
|Route: Walk up the stairs
|Antenna Support: Couple of short trees
|RF Noise: Med-High
Mount Umunhum is very close to me “as the bird flies,” but it takes almost an hour to get there. Nonetheless, with the family out of town I decided to do this drive-up summit after work one day. It may be an hour drive each way, but there’s just a few minutes of walking up some stairs to get to the top. Last time I activated it, it was in the fog. This time I was able to see a lot more!
Just drive up! Be aware of the hours the gate is open. I believe they change seasonally.
Since I was going on a pretty warm weekday evening, and possibly since the area around the “cube” is closed, there weren’t many people here. Parking was definitely not an issue.
There’s one big set of stairs to take you to the summit proper, with a few landings on the way in case you need to take a break.
Before long, you’ll be at the top.
With very few people on the summit, I did strongly consider setting up my HF antenna and doing some HF operation. But in the end, I opted to just sit and enjoy the sunset while making contacts on my two handheld radios.
First, I made a couple of DMR simplex contacts on the Radioddity GD-77. That was fun! Then, I made several contacts on my Yaesu VX-2R. In some cases, I actually used the Radioddity radio to transmit (with its greater transmit power of 5 watts) and used the Yaesu VX-2R (with its better receiver) to receive.
Mostly, I just tried to relax and enjoy the sunset.
Once the sun had set, I walked around a bit. While doing so, some rangers showed up to start asking people to leave (the area closes 30min after sunset). One of them asked me about what I was doing. We proceeded to have a pleasant conversation about amateur radio. I asked about setting up for HF on the summit and he said that it kind of depends on the ranger, whether you’ll get hassled or not. Some are more about the letter of the law and others are more about the spirit of it. But generally, if there aren’t many people up there and you’re not interfering with others’ enjoyment, it seems it would be OK. I think I’ll try HF next time.
With that, I walked back to my car for one last photo.