We’d had a few days of wet weather and, in fact, the previous day I performed a POTA activation with my entire station and antenna under the roof of a picnic shelter.
I was visiting my parents and didn’t want to venture too far afield, but still wanted to fit in a good summit activation. The goal was to stretch my legs and to test my Mystery Ranch Scree 32 backpack. Before taking this pack on a difficult summit hike, I thought it might make sense to check the pack’s suspension and fit with it loaded down a bit heavier than I normally would.
This would actually be my second SOTA activation with the Scree 32 pack (here’s the first) but on that first hike, the pack was so light, I barely noticed it was on my back.
Hibriten Mountain (W4C/EM-093)
I remembered from my previous activation of Hibriten that the hike was very pleasant.
It certainly was that Friday!
I hiked at a brisk clip to make the most of my workout and, if I’m being honest, I was pretty darn happy to see the summit.
Funny: I passed another hiker–a fellow named Bill–near the trailhead. When I reached the summit, Bill was only a minute or so behind me. As we looked at the view from the summit he said, “I’m beat. I was trying to pace myself off of you and you were really legging it!”
I mentioned that, of all the days he could have picked to pace off of me, I was intentionally hiking much faster than I normally do and, frankly, it kicked my butt! I’m not exactly a super athletic guy (understatement alert) but I did want to get the most I could out of this particular SOTA hike and test my new pack’s suspension.
Goal achieved! The Scree 32 is a very comfortable pack and I did configure it properly for my torso length.
Set-up was super easy because I packed my Chelegance MC-750 and the Elecraft KX2. I simply deployed the MC-750 (while talking with Bill) and made it resonant for 20 meters.
I then sat on the concrete base of the Hibriten Mountain light grid and used my Tufteln/N0RNM knee board to support the KX2 and my log book.
- Elecraft KX2 and KXPD2 Paddles
- Elecraft ES60 Pack (Note that mine is a discontinued LowePro CS60 pack, the ES60 is identical and Elecraft branded)
- Chelegance MC-750 and ABR Industries RG-174 feedline
- Mystery Ranch Scree 32 backpack
- TalentCell Rechargeable 12V 3000mAh Battery Pack
- Tufteln N0RNM Folding Knee Board
- GraphGear 0.9mm 1000 Automatic Drafting Pencil
- Rite In The Rain Top Spiral Notebook
- Camera: original OSMO Action Camera (the OSMO 3 is the current version) with Sensyne Phone Tripod
On The Air
I started calling CQ SOTA on the 20 meter band and within a mere two minutes had already logged the four stations necessary to validate the activation (note that POTA requires a minimum of ten contacts, but SOTA only requires four).
I continued working stations for an additional thirteen minutes, for a total of 13 stations on 20 meters.
I then QSY’d to the 17 meter band and started calling CQ.
I worked three more stations including my buddy Vince (VE6LK) in Alberta; I would be speaking with him later that evening via Skype during a Ham Radio Workbench episode recording (in fact, I spoke about this activation in the “what’s on your workbench” portion of the show–click here to check out that episode).
This was an incredibly fun SOTA activation–I’m always amazed what one can do with 5 watts and a vertical!
Here’s what this activation looked like when plotted out on a QSO Map.
Here’s my real-time, real-life video of the entire activation. As with all of my videos, I don’t edit out any parts of the on-air activation time. In addition, I have monetization turned off on YouTube, although that doesn’t stop them from inserting ads before and after my videos.
The Scree 32 is a winner
I feel comfortable enough with this pack that I’m ready to take it on more challenging hikes. I absolutely love my Spec-Ops Brand THE Pack EDC, and will still use it of course–indeed, most of the time–but the Scree 32 will be my choice for those longer hikes when proper pack suspension is key.
I hope you enjoyed the field report and my activation video as much as I enjoyed creating them.
Of course, I’d also like to send a special thanks to those of you who have been supporting the site and channel through Patreon and the Coffee Fund. While certainly not a requirement as my content will always be free, I really appreciate the support.
As I mentioned before, the Patreon platform connected to Vimeo make it possible for me to share videos that are not only 100% ad-free, but also downloadable for offline viewing. The Vimeo account also serves as a third backup for my video files.
Thanks for spending part of your Memorial Day with me and here’s wishing you an amazing week ahead.
Cheers & 72,