Camping on a Summit: Willson Peak, W6/NC-182

Quick info:

Activation Date: 04-05 January 2020
Transport: HikeDistance: 9.2 miles
Elev. Gain: 2,250 feetTime: 3.5 hours
Rig(s): FT-891Bands: 160–20m, CW+SSB
Antenna(s): Random WireAntenna Support: Some oaks
RF Noise: LowCell Service: Marginal (T-Mobile)

I’m always trying to combine radio fun with my various outdoor activities—including backpacking and camping. But for quite a while, I’ve wanted to do a camping/backpacking trip with the primary purpose being radio fun—on a summit! With the SOTA “Flavours” Challenge 2020 going on, I also needed to get some contacts made on 160 and/or 80 meters—bands that work best at night. So, without much planning, I decided to do a quick overnight trip! Henry Coe State Park has lots of backcountry campsites, and also allows dispersed backpack camping in all but the western section of the park.

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W6/NC-182, Willson Peak, and KFF-1161, Henry W. Coe State Park

Activation Date: 29 July 2017
Transport: Hike/Run Distance: 8.3 miles
Elev. gain: 2100ft Time: 2.1 hours
Rig(s): FT-817, VX-2R Band(s): 40m, 20m SSB
Antenna(s): End-fed half-wave, 12.5 inch flex whip
Cell Service: Moderate (T-Mobile)
Parking: End of road
TrailheadEnd of Gilroy Hot Springs Road
Fees/Permits: None
Route: Timm Trail, Steer Ridge Road
Dogs: No  Toilet: Yes

This summit was originally planned to be part of a 2-summit trip along with Wasno Ridge. After forgetting one of my water bottles, that trip turned into a single-summit trip (it was a hot day!).  I wanted to come back and get Willson Peak, and also get some more WWFF/POTA contacts for Henry W. Coe State Park.  So this return trip was made.  And what a great morning for a run!

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