There are a few reasons I love Summits On The Air (SOTA):
- I love hiking.
- I love going truly portable with my radio gear; packing an entire minimalist station in my backpack along with first aid supplies, water, and a bite to eat, then hitting the trail.
- I love the views.
- I love the sense of accomplishment (hiking to a summit doesn’t happen every day).
- I also love that post-hike feeling–my body telling me, “Hey, T, thanks for doing something today!“
No kidding: If I could, I would do a SOTA activation at least twice a week. Maybe when I retire, I will.
Living in the mountains of western North Carolina, I have no shortage of summits to activate–indeed, one is within (strenuous) hiking distance of my QTH.
So why don’t I activate more summits?
It’s because they are much more difficult to fit in my active schedule.
You’ll notice that the bulk of my POTA activations take place within a one hour window of time. This includes set-up, on-the-air, and pack-up time. The brilliant thing about POTA sites is that they’re so accessible in my weekly travels. (Plus, I absolutely love POTA too!)
My average SOTA activation, on the other hand, requires at least a three hour window of time. In fact, it’s usually much closer to four or five hours.
Drive-up summits like Anderson Mountain and Dogback Mountain are the exceptions. There’s no hiking time involved, so they are pretty easy to fit into my schedule.
On Saturday, February 18, 2023, a rare thing happened: an entire day opened up for me to play radio. The only real obligation I had was to set-up and participate in a live stream with Josh (KI6NAZ) on the HRCC channel that evening.
At first, I thought about doing a five park POTA rove, hitting four parks and one game land all that eight hour window of time. It was very doable and I knew it would be fun.
But then again, park roves allow very little time for hiking–typically, they’re wham-bam style short activations. It was also a gorgeous day weather-wise so I scrapped the idea of a POTA rove. (This time!)
Instead, I had a hankering to do a SOTA activation and hike. I took a quick look at SOTL.as and remembered how much I enjoyed my last activation of W4C/EP-001 (Moore’s Knob) at Hanging Rock State Park (K-2753). And hey! It’s both a SOTA and POTA site!
It’s been nearly two years since I’d visited Hanging Rock SP because it’s a two hour drive in a direction I rarely travel.
Hanging Rock a beautiful park and I truly enjoyed the hike to Moore’s Knob.
As a bonus, Hanging Rock State Park is less than a 30 minute drive to Pilot Mountain State Park. I knew I’d have time in the schedule to do activate both sites! Score!
Hanging Rock State Park (K-2753)
I pulled into Hanging Rock that morning and made my way to the parking area by the lake.
Since it had been nearly two years, I consulted the hiking trail map at the trail head to confirm I was taking the correct loop (Moore’s Wall Loop). Continue reading Huge 30 Meter Pileups: Beautiful day for a SOTA & POTA Activation at Hanging Rock State Park