Summits on the Air

Time for some more catch-up on the blog and SOTA logs.

On Saturday October 20th Ben (N2BEN, left) and I (NG0R, right) drove from our home in central Minnesota to eastern South Dakota to activate W0/ES-002 as part of the Summits on the Air (SOTA) program. There are not many SOTA peaks in the central portion of the US... so for us "flat landers" it generally means a road trip if we want to activate a summit.


Back story: Earlier this fall Ron KC0JQO mentioned that there were some peaks in central and eastern South Dakota. One of those peaks is about about 150 miles away or aka: within a single day drive for a round trip expedition. A couple of weeks after that I started to research the W0/ES-002 location in detail. I spent about 4 hours across two days trying to track down if it was public or private property. The officals in Roberts County and the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate tribe were great to work with over the phone. After much checking the location is on indian property but it is considered open for public visits. The info from Google Maps is very accurate and will get you right to location. Unless it is extremely muddy you should have no problem accessing the site in a car or a two wheel drive vehicle. It is the largest hill that you will see on the horizon as you approach it for 30-60 miles.  There are no trees, shade, or shelter. Welcome to the great plains... it will be windy here.

We posted our operating times and frequencies on the SOTA Alert website and on several of the Internet mail reflectors so that people would have some idea of how to track us down. I also had APRS running via RF from the truck and via the Internet on my phone. I had spotty access to the Internet so I also tried to self spot to the DX packet cluster to get some of the initial traffic going.

This was our first SOTA outing with our new Elecraft KX3 radio. We used an 8ah battery, 22 foot push up mast that was guyed to the ground, and 84 foot inverted L antenna with a 16 foor counterpoise. We logged on paper. It was about 40 degrees (F) with a 25mph wind making it pretty blustery since there was no shelter. (Since it was cold I did not take many photos... we focused on operating and being on time.)

We operated for about 90 minutes. 20m (14MHz) was pretty active, 17m (18MHz) was a struggle, and 40m (7MHz) was a bust. We operated exclusively SSB. (In the future we will split our time between SSB & CW as our CW skills improve.)  We put 27 QSOs in the log and had a good mix of locations that we work.

Two (2) of the twenty-seven (27) QSOs were SOTA to SOTA QSOs:
NG0R W0/ES-002 ---- W5STR W5A/MA-009
NG0R W0/ES-002 ---- KD9DC W5N/OR-006

Overall it was a very enjoyable way to spend an afternoon. I was happy with the Q count. I was happy with station performance. Ben was impressed at how simple the setup/breakdown was. Ben was impressed how far 5 watts of RF power can travel.

We should have our QSL card order on-site in a couple of days. (I plan to make up custom QSL cards to each SOTA activation in the future.) The first QSL card/request arrived in the mail early this week. The SOTA logs are posted to SOTA database as of this morning.

The table below shows a real basic log in case you want to check to see if you are in the log: 

QSO Date Time Callsign Freq Mode RST Sent RST_Received
2012-10-20 19:20 W5SAN 18.161 SSB 59 57
2012-10-20 19:19 KA1R 18.161 SSB 59 44
2012-10-20 19:12 VE3IC 18.161 SSB 57 57
2012-10-20 19:11 VE3XN 18.161 SSB 55 57
2012-10-20 18:57 KB1RJD 14.342 SSB 57 34
2012-10-20 18:56 KB1RJC 14.342 SSB 57 33
2012-10-20 18:54 NE4TN 14.342 SSB 59 45
2012-10-20 18:52 AA0LV 14.342 SSB 59 55
2012-10-20 18:51 N9GOC 14.342 SSB 59 59
2012-10-20 18:49 KD2CKS 14.342 SSB 59 54
2012-10-20 18:46 WG0AT 14.342 SSB 59 59
2012-10-20 18:45 K7SO 14.342 SSB 59 58
2012-10-20 18:44 VE1WT 14.342 SSB 59 57
2012-10-20 18:42 KD9DC 14.342 SSB 59 54
2012-10-20 18:41 W5STR 14.342 SSB 59 59
2012-10-20 18:39 N4EX 14.342 SSB 59 55
2012-10-20 18:38 VA6FUN 14.342 SSB 59 55
2012-10-20 18:35 WD9BSA 14.342 SSB 59 53
2012-10-20 18:34 KI4SVM 14.342 SSB 51 22
2012-10-20 18:30 NS7P 14.342 SSB 59 44
2012-10-20 18:29 KG7E 14.342 SSB 59 54
2012-10-20 18:28 AA0LV 14.342 SSB 59 44
2012-10-20 18:27 KC3RT 14.342 SSB 59 55
2012-10-20 18:21 W0AO/M 14.342 SSB 59 55
2012-10-20 18:20 N0BCB 14.342 SSB 59 22
2012-10-20 18:18 W0MNA 14.342 SSB 59 43
2012-10-20 18:11 AC0BR 14.342 SSB 59 59


73 de NG0R and N2BEN