First of all, thank you to everyone who tried to hunt me this morning while I activated Mount Mitchell Summit and Park!
When I posted an announcement about the activation this morning, I didn’t expect much of a response due to the short notice. I don’t typically announce my activations, but the Mitchell SOTA activation was a special one for me because it’s my favorite NC park and also fairly local (well, as the crow flies from the QTH).
This was a “welcome back to winter conditions” SOTA activation and I knew it would be in advance.
The drive to the summit, starting around 1,000M ASL (3,000′) was in heavy, heavy fog. The ceiling was low and I thought perhaps the summit would peak through, but I was wrong. It was also foggy on the summit and about 33F (0.5C) per my car.
It was a gorgeous site though as the summit was covered in rime ice.
I found a nice spot in the woods well within the activation zone, but not at the observation deck on the summit.
I’m not sure if I called CQ more than twice with the QCX Mini before I was slammed with a steady pile up with many stations from Europe.
The QCX performed well and obviously the PackTenna 20M EFHW did as well, but the little amplified speaker connected to the QCX-Mini struggled with the variation in signals and tones. It sort of fell apart on me and after logging, perhaps, 30 stations, I switched out with the KX2.
If you chased me and I wasn’t able to copy you, my apologies. It was tough to hear signals via that little speaker–everything simply blended together.
I’ll be writing a full report in due time once I have the video uploaded in a couple weeks, but suffice it to say, 5 watts and a wire worked this morning. Here’s the QSO Map:
The QSO map doesn’t include a number of stations on the west coast either.
A struggle for K4SWL
My hands were a wee bit stiff as they dealt with the cold/damp conditions, so my fist was (as I had predicted) rather sloppy. 🙂
I was also struggling to type in callsigns correctly into the HAMRS app on my phone and that certainly messed with my rhythm handling QSOs.
This was my first cold activation since March. I’ll get back into winter mode soon and toughen up again!
The little speaker, combined with so many contacts zero-beating me, turned into a 5-7 second long steady tone in the pile-up. I seriously contemplated running split to spread everyone apart, but I’ve never seen that done with POTA or SOTA so didn’t attempt it.
Seasoned SOTA CW activators would’ve certainly found the pile-up much more manageable.
When I went QRT, I happened to turn on my HT and had the SOTA simplex frequency locked in. Two second after turning on the HT I heard KN4LRO on Round Mountain (W4T/SU-029) and worked him S2S. My first VHF S2S!
The SOTA/POTA/WWFF activation was AMAZING fun, though. One of my favorite SOTA activations to date. Again, I made a video of the activation and will write up a proper field report within the next couple of weeks.
As I left the park, I found it odd that I was the only visitor there. As I approached the front gates (again, in heavy fog) I saw why: they had closed the park and were only allowing people to leave, not enter.
I felt pretty darn lucky to snag Mount Mitchell this morning.
I’ve said this before, but Mount Mitchell is truly my special, happy place.
In the meantime, I’d love your suggestions and links to proper, capable amplified portable speakers. I need something much better to pair with the QCX Mini, MTR3B, and KX1.