Santa Rosalia Mountain, W6/CC-062 – 2018

Activation Date: 17 February 2018
Transport: Hike Distance: 3.7 miles
Elev. gain: 650 feet Hiking Time: 1.2 hours
Rig(s): Yaesu FT-817ND Band(s): 30m (cw)
Antenna(s): End-fed half-wave (40/30/20m)
Cell Service: None (T-Mobile)
Parking: Side of the road (be sure plenty of room)
Trailhead: Buzzard Lagoon Road
Fees/Permits: None
Route: Buzzard Lagoon Road to Aptos Creek Fire Road
Dogs: Probably  Toilet: No
Antenna Support: Lots of high trees RF Noise: Low (HF)

I did this summit last year, in August. It was hot but a fun trip anyway. This year, doing it in February, the weather was quite agreeable.   Last year, I brought my sons along for the trip but they would not be joining me this time around.  Things I was looking to improve this time included getting my antenna up even higher, and sloping east if possible.  The ARRL DX CW contest was going on, so I primarily planned to operate on 30 meters for SOTA, then see if I could pick up any new DX on the other bands.

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Trail Running SOTA with Yaesu FT-817

I like running, hiking, summits, and ham radio. Well, lots of other things, too. But this is about those four things.  Since I started doing SOTA, I’ve wanted to try to put together an HF summit activation kit for use on trail runs.  I’ve done a a few SOTA activations while trail running, but it had always been with just a hand-held radio—usually my tiny Yaesu VX-2R with a 12-inch ultra-flexible whip antenna, or an MFJ “Long Ranger” telescoping antenna.

On most of my activations, I’ve used a SOTABeams “Band Hopper” with my FT-817.  It’s a resonant dipole for 40 and 20 meters, with a nice convenient bag, stakes, guy lines and 1:1 balun.  It’s a very nice antenna, easy to set up. But it’s a bit on the heavy side compared to an end-fed half-wave (EFHW) antenna. And not quite as easy to throw into a tree. Continue reading →