SOTA Activation Report: Methodist Hill North W3/PD-006
- When: 2017-12-23 from 1832Z to 1915Z
- Where: Methodist Hill North - W3/PD-006
- Who: Just me
- Ascent: None (see below)
- Equipment: Elecraft KX3, SOTABEAM MIDI antenna
- APRS Coverage: Excellent
- T-Mobile Coverage: Nil
I arrived at the summit a little earlier than I had originally planned only because of the littlest one's nap time. I also didn't hike in due to the weather, which was and is a disappointment. Nonetheless, I did wander around the activation zone a bit trying to find that perfect place to setup. Unfortunately, I had to settle for a rotten log in an area that wasn't as thick, brush-wise, as the rest of the area.
This is the first deployment of my Elecraft KX3 and, coupled with the SOTABEAM MIDI antenna, I have no complaints. Receive noise levels were low and signals were decent. Only problem I could find in the whole mix was me!
I mentioned the weather wasn't great. Temperatures were in the 40Fs with a breeze. There was also rain. My CW likely ranks among the worst on the air and it gets worse when I'm sitting on the wet, cold ground being rained upon. For those that worked me, thank you. For those that worked me towards the end on 40m, as we say down in the South, "bless your heart". I was going to try some PSK31 to give my fist a break but the USB connection for the keyboard seems to make a lot of RF hash noise. Switching to voice yielded no contacts so I just packed up and headed down the mountain.
Thirteen contacts were had over two bands: sixty and forty meters. I started with sixty meters where I put K8HU, N2ESE, W2SE, KB9ILT, N3SW, and N2GBR in the log. I moved down to forty meters and found K3TCU, KI4TN, AC1Z, NE4TN, VE2JFM, AB9CA, and AA1CQ. All contacts were CW.
First, I need lightweight gloves that will keep my fingers warm but will still allow operation of a CW key. Even at moderately cool temperatures, my fingers were getting too cold to not make mistakes when sending CW. Not sure what to do about my brain getting too cold to not make mistakes when decoding CW.
Second, I need to find something lightweight and flexible to sit on that will insulate my butt and keep me dry while I sit on the ground. It was not comfortable to absorb the dampness that was the ground while making contacts.
Thirteen contacts in the log and a new summit to boot. Overall, I'm happy with the activation and can hardly wait to do it again!