|Activation Date: 28 July 2018|
|Transport: Hike||Distance: 1.25 miles|
|Elev. gain: 220ft||Time: 20-25 minutes|
|Rig(s): VX-2R||Band(s): 2m FM|
|Antenna(s): 12.5-inch whip|
|Cell Service: Strong (T-Mobile)|
|Parking: Seaview Trailhead|
|Trailhead: Vollmer Peak|
|Route: Vollmer Peak Trail|
|Dogs: Yes||Toilet: Yes|
|Antenna Support: Trees
||RF Noise: Moderate|
After attending the Bay Area SOTA meet-up, I still had time to do a quick activation on the way home. Keeping with my clockwise trip around the Bay Area to avoid traffic and tolls, I chose Vollmer Peak. It’s a quick east-Bay summit with the parking a little over a half-mile from the top. It turned out to be a little bit of a rough activation!
Drive to the parking lot where the “Seaview Trailhead” is. The two times I’ve been there, parking wasn’t an issue—even on the weekend.
It’s a very short hike. I still haven’t tried taking the road to the top, since I prefer single track trails whenever I can find them. The trailhead for the Vollmer Peak trail is at the end of the parking lot.
On the way up, there’s a view of the Bay.
Arriving at the top, I decided to go back down a little bit, to be in the shade and use some nice high tree branches to set up my HF antenna.
I got out my end-fed half-wave antenna, tied my arborist’s weight to the end and threw it up to a branch about 35-40 feet off the ground. I was pretty proud I’d gotten it on the first throw. But then trouble started. It was kinda snagged. I tried wiggling it loose to get it to drop. No-go. I tried pulling it back over—it just got stuck some more. I pulled a bit harder and the antenna wire broke where it ties to the rope. I stood there for a couple of minutes, trying to figure out how I might get my throwing weight and cordage back. I even briefly considered climbing the tree. In the end, I decided I’d have to leave it there. Maybe I’ll figure out a way to get it back at some point!
I then went back up to the summit and worked on making some VHF/UHF contacts. I wanted to make sure I at least tried to get S2S contacts with a couple of the guys from the SOTA meetup. The RF conditions on this summit were a bit challenging for my VX-2R with its wide-open receiver. With some work, I managed to make it happen!