I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to fit in a quick SOTA activation and the most accessible summit that day was Bearwallow Mountain.
Bearwallow Mountain (W4C/CM-068)
I was in South Asheville all day, so Bearwallow was only about a 25 minute detour.
Since it was a Tuesday in the latter part of the morning, there were few others parked at the trailhead. Had it been a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday? It can be difficult to find a parking spot. Indeed, the previous day (Labor Day) I’m sure it was packed!
I practically had the place to myself, though.
The hike up was most enjoyable although it was hot and humid, so sweaty I became.
That said–and I think I even say this in the activation video below–I really wished the hike was a bit longer. The Bearwallow trail is maybe a mile long.
Bearwallow is also home to a lot of comms towers including a number of local repeaters.
I found a nice, flat rock, set up my chair, and deployed my Chelegance MC-750 vertical.
It was time to hit the air!
- Elecraft KX2 with Windcamp X2 Side Rails and Cover
- KXPD2 Paddles
- Elecraft KXBT2 Li-Ion Battery Pack
- Elecraft ES60 Pack (Note that mine is a discontinued LowePro CS60 pack, the ES60 is identical and Elecraft branded)
- Chelegance MC-750
- Homemade RG-316 20′ cable assembly
- Mystery Ranch Scree 32 backpack
- 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 hopped on the air and started calling CQ SOTA. It didn’t take long for the SOTA spots page to pick me up via the Reverse Beacon Network.
I logged four contacts in short order thus validating this SOTA activation.
In that first four I logged, my friend Dean (K2JB) called me S2S from the summit of Shinall Mountain (W5A/OA-015) near Little Rock, Arkansas. (The last time I activated Bearwallow, in fact, I ran into Dean and his cute pup! Check out that field report here.) The SOTA community is both amazingly international and also amazingly local–I love it.
I logged a few more contacts then heard another S2S calling, this time from JB (KC1MXB) on Tout-de-Joie Rang Rd HP (W1/AM-341) in Maine. Turns out, Jonathan was activating that summit as an ATNO! Brilliant!
There was no shortage of folks on the air that day. All in all, I logged a total of 34 chasers: 27 on 20M and 7 on 17M.
Here’s what this five watt 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.
Note: There is a small chunk of video missing. At the conclusion of the activation, I stood up from my chair and must have tipped the camera on its tripod. The camera landed on a rock. Amazingly, the only damage was a little nick on the bezel of my lens. The shock of falling, though, abruptly stopped the video footage. Back home, I found out that it corruptions that portion of the video:
Much more SOTA planned this year
Since we’re now entering the cooler temps of fall, I’ll do even more hiking.
One of the big goals of doing SOTA is to accumulate 1,000 summit points for the “Mountain Goat” award. It’s not an easy goal and it’ll be a while before I’m there.
You see, since I’ve now activated Bearwallow Mountain in 2023, its summit points can only count once towards the 1,000 needed for Mountain Goat per calendar year. In other words, I could activate Bearwallow daily, but its 6 points only count once per year.
With such a busy family life at this point, Mountain Goat status seems like such a lofty goal.
I had to look up how many points I’d accumulated thus far (I took the screenshot above).
Since February 25, 2021 (my first activation) I’ve completed 38 activations for a total of 219 points. At this rate, Mountain Goat would be a 10 year goal! Truth is, once my wife and I are empty nesters, I’ll have more free time to play SOTA so, who knows? Maybe by 2028? Ha ha!
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 day with me!
Have a brilliant weekend!
Cheers & 72,