QRP SOTA: Beautiful day for a hike to the summit of Bakers Mountain!

Sometimes, I crave a nice summit hike but don’t have enough time in the schedule to fit in a long one.

When I’m doing overnight trips to my hometown of Hickory, NC, my go-to spot for a proper hike is Bakers Mountain Park. The icing on the cake is that Bakers Mountain is also a SOTA summit (W4C/WP-007).

I wish Bakers Mountain Park was a POTA site as well, but at present the US POTA administrators aren’t including county and municipal parks–only state and national parks.

For more information about Bakers Mountain, check out this field report in the archives.

On Tuesday, August 1, 2023, I only had about 2.5 hours to fit in a hike and SOTA activation. That was plenty of time to hit Bakers Mountain!

Bakers Mountain Park has a nice long-ish loop around the perimeter of the park called the “Bakers Mountain Loop”; it’s about 2.75 miles long and has a reasonable amount of elevation change over the topography.

Adding in the spur trail to the true summit of Bakers Mountain, I’d say my total hike is about 3.25 miles or so.

Lookout platform on the Bakers Mountain Loop Trail.

Note that I actually include a bit of my hike to and off of the summit in the activation video below.

Setting up

Can you spot the MW0SAW EFHW hanging in the tree?

Once on the summit, I chose a spot to set up. Since I planned to deploy my 40 meter end-fed half-wave, I looked for a branch overhanging the summit perimeter trail.

Next, I deployed my trusty 40 meter EFHW that Steve (MW0SAW) made.

I also forgot my Tufteln/N0RNM knee board, so used my GoRuck GR1 backpack as a field desk. It worked pretty brilliantly, actually.


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On The Air

I started calling CQ SOTA and, since I announced my activation, the SOTA spots page auto-spotted me via the Reverse Beacon Network.

As soon as I was spotted, I started receiving calls from chasers. Within a mere three minutes, I’d already logged the four contacts needed to validate the SOTA activation.

Of course, I kept working stations.

In a total of 14 minutes, I logged 13 stations–all on 20 meters.

I had planned to hit 40 meters as well to work the “locals” but frankly, I was out of time. I had to account for the time it would take to pack up and hike back to the car in my schedule.

I was taking my dad to lunch at the Hickory Airport (KHKY) restaurant, the Crosswind Cafe. I couldn’t be late for that!


Here’s what this five watt activation looked like when plotted out on a QSO Map:

Activation Video

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 that Patreon supporters can watch and even download this video 100% ad-free through Vimeo on my Patreon page:

Click here to view on YouTube.

One point SOTA fun!

I always love hitting Bakers Mountain and suspect I will at least once or twice more before year’s end. Even though the one point can only count once per year (towards “Mountain Goat” status) I’ll happily activate it multiple times.

The hike back was very pleasant. I snapped a few shots:

Thank you

Thank you for joining me on this quick SOTA activation!

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 week ahead!

Cheers & 72,

Thomas (K4SWL)

3 thoughts on “QRP SOTA: Beautiful day for a hike to the summit of Bakers Mountain!”

  1. Yesterday we took a drive to scout some NWR, WMA, & SWAs, but had my work truck without all my goodies. I had myTR-35 & several MFJ Hamsticks & use with a 6″ magnetic mount. At the local NWR there are a dozen large marshy ponds separated by canals in the high desert with tons of cattails to give the two million ducks an endless paradise. This means no trees to support an antenna & a frown from the Ranger if you pound a stake for a vertical. A quick check of my Rig Expert found a 1.5:1 VSWR and as I went to connect the coax to my TR-35 sitting on my portable steering wheel laptop desk, I realized that I did not have a SO-239 to BNC male adapter with me, Argh! As Amish buggies we’re cruising by on their Sunday afternoon after church excursion, I realized that no one else there could appreciate the dilemma I was in except for my XYL & me, lol. My bag with spare adapters was in my other truck. Now I need to expand my adapter kits, lol. Cheers, Davey – KU9L

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