Friday, July 21, 2017

83rd Glacier-Waterton International Peace Park Hamfest

There are Hamfest then there are HAMFEST! If I could only attend one a year this would be the one. The G-W Hamfest has a rich history and is the oldest continuing running Hamfest in the world!

The actual event is at a campground which makes for a family friendly event. Lynn and I were lucky enough to get there early and helped set the campground up for the activities.

Camp area
A few of the tents we setup for demos and talks

We also met a lot of the locals and hung out in the "Helena" Corner with a few famous SOTA activators like Rob and Barb, AE7AP/AE7AQ and Bill N7MSI and later in the event we were joined by Guy, N7UN. There were a couple of other active SOTA guys that stopped in for the day to say hi. We also met a few chasers, of note we met KL7HM, Hugh in all the way from AZ.

AE7AQ Barb, AE7AP Rob, N7MSI Bill, NS0TA/N7UN Guy, KC0YQF Lynn, Frank K0JQZ (note the book Lynn is holding)
Rob and Guy gave an outstanding SOTA talk with slides, equipment examples and a quick demonstration by Bill on how to setup a SOTA station on a Mountain Top.

Guy doing an equipment demo

Bill giving a demo on how to setup a SOTA station

Of note: Lyndel N7LT, gave an outstanding history presentation of Ham Radio in Montana and a history of the Hamfest. There is also a 4 part video series on youtube which can be found here:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Lyndel N7LT did a great presentation!

With that many SOTA people together a few SOTA hikes were in order. Guy, Barb and Rob headed up Elk Mountain. Bill took Lynn and I up Blacktail Hill HP.

Barb and Rob in the Bear Grass

The field before the last brutal bushwach up Blacktail Hill HP

White-Tailed Ptarmigan Eggs

Relaxing in the tall grass near the best mountain stream in MT

Unfortunately I do not have a lot of pictures of our hike. It was brutal to say the least. Before we got back on trail we stopped at a mountain stream and enjoyed the cool mountain water. It really makes a difference to have cold water to drink in order to lower the body temperature. The SOTA activators in MT really earn their points. After all, this isn't Texas!

While we were their Lynn and I spent a day in Glacier NP while Barb and Rob did a SOTA activation. The park was fantastic. Here are a few pictures.

The Hamfest has a lot of activities. It is mostly a tailgate event for selling gear and I found a great deal on a dual trace O Scope was too slow to pick it up. Since we were living out of Lynn's car for a week that is probably a good thing. They also have arts and crafts, campfires, a band and some sing alongs. Barb, Rob, Lynn and I enjoyed a spirited game of BINGO and Trivia. All in all it was a lot of fun. We also won our fair share of prizes.

I operated as W7W from a SOTA summit

It was a busy but fun vacation. We are already planning for next year.


Saturday, June 24, 2017

SOTA Outing Aspen Ridge and Bald Mountain

I was not sure where we would end up but we got a late start and missed N0TA as he achieved Mountain Goat. We also missed KX0R and ND0C on SSB but got Randy on CW. We still managed to have a grand time.

With N0TA Colorado now has 7 Mountain Goats. WG0AT will achieve MG soon and I expect WA6MM will sometime this summer. WA6MM is doing all uniques which is impressive but is also only doing Colorado Summits and if that was enough of a challenge he is only doing 6 pointers and up!!!

K6EL, Elliott, was waiting on freq as we got setup. I think he was looking for another SOTA activator but was real loud into Colorado. Lynn always like talking to Elliott.

KC0YQF 20 Meter SSB Aspen Ridge Log:

KC0YQF 20 Meter SSB Bald Mountain Log:

Beats Working

Always smiling

We were real disappointed that we were not able to get Kylee on Emerald Mountain but I did get Randy on the same mountain on CW or I should say he got me.

K0JQZ Aspen Ridge on 40, 30 and 20 meters:
ND0C Summit to Summit
K6HPX/M (impressive mobile signal)

I must be getting predictable as W9FHA always knows were I am going to show up.

K0JQZ Bald Mountain 40, 30 and 20 meters:

Having Fun
Until Next time.


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Observatory and Eagle Rock

It was a strange day in the Lost Creek Wilderness. This normally active area was void of a lot of people. I notice signs that outlawed ATVs and other non-licensed vehicles and think that has a lot to do with it. Even so we did see two dirt bikes.

Not much in the way of traffic save some cows.

You can't drive to the normal Trail Head anymore as they are trying to minimize human impact. You can park and walk and it was not that far anyway.

We hit Observatory Rock a little early and had some issues with propagation. I expected 40 meters to yield better results but after 20 minutes of calling Lynn went to 20. I also tried CW on 40 with no luck.

Eagle Rock was better and Lynn ran a good pileup on 20 Meters and I went to 17 Meters and a little 20 meters. It was a good day to be on a summit. It was a bit windy but with the temp between 70 and 80 it helped to keep us cool.

A few pics:

KX2 at home on a summit

Lynn on 20 meters

I am trying to remember Morse Code

End Fed antenna support

A great day and it was nice to get out again in Colorado. Lynn and I have been pretty busy but I am glad we took a day to get out to these two summits.

73 Frank

Sunday, June 18, 2017

WI Vacation

Lynn and I drove to WI to visit with her family. The weather while we were there was perfect.

Pony Express


Lynn flirting with an old prospector

Bridge over the Mighty Mississippi

Red Winged

Cana Island Lighthouse

Lake Michigan from Cana Island Lighthouse

Fond du Lac WI

Fond du Lac Lighthouse

Air Museum in Oshkosh WI (Radio stuff)

Air Museum in Oshkosh WI (Radio stuff)

Lynn in flight suit

Air Museum in Oshkosh WI (Radio stuff)

Air Museum in Oshkosh WI (Radio stuff)

Donated by local ham radio club

Love the aircraft of WWI

Love the old radio stuff

Lynn at her old High School

 It was a fun trip but I am glad to be back in Colorado for the time being.


Saturday, April 1, 2017

Mount Rosa and Squaw Mountain

What a difference a few days make. Lynn and I trotted up Mount Rosa a few weekends ago and although there was deep snow on the trail as long as you stayed on the trail it was packed down pretty good.

We had a grand time and even saw a group of runners heading down to Saint Mary's Falls. Their run was around 15 miles roundtrip with 5,000 feet of vertical gain! Wow. Steve, wG0AT , and I did that hike and it about wasted me, I can not imagine running it! Unfortunately, they went by me just as I got to the saddle and I did not have time to snap a pic.

Here are the pictures from that hike.
Lynn, KC0YQF, on the Trail 

KC0YQF and K0JQZ on Top of Mount Rosa

Pikes Peak from Rosa

Looking South

Lynn on the trail

Looking East

Lynn working the SSB pileup

Lynn hamming it up!

During Spring Break we like to go to Santa Fe NM but the weather did not look that great so we stayed in town. We decided that if we wanted to get another summit in before the bonus season ends that Thursday was our day.

We got a very late start but headed to Squaw Mountain. It is a long drive but well worth it.

Here are the pics.

GPS Track

Hike Profile

We had clouds all day

Great views

Lynn, KC0YQF, almost there!

View of the antenna farm from the Fire Tower

Snow Man on the Trail

Lynn making her way through the snow

Notice the Chevy Blazer stuck in the background

Here they are again
We passed a Ranger on his way down. We parked next to his Jeep and he mentioned that just about everyday someone gets stuck on that road. We decided to just hike the extra 1/2 mile although I think Lynn's Subaru could have made it past this area.

The Fire Tower was unoccupied but we passed the renters on our way down. They were better equipped than we were and they all had snow shoes to deal with the snow.

I made a bonehead mistake when I grabbed the wrong boots. I did not have my waterproofed boots on so by the time we got to the summit I was painfully aware that my feet were wet. We both activated on 20 Meter SSB. Thanks to the chasers that worked Lynn then stuck around to work me. I had to get moving quick in order to get my blood flowing again so it was s short activation.

As we got back to the car there was another ham going up to do an activation, N0EMU. I did not see any spots for him so perhaps he decided the weather looked like it was going unleash at any moment. It did start to rain while we were driving off the Mountain.

As I type this it is snowing today and it rained all day yesterday. It is a good day to listen to radio and get caught up on the blog. As I was checking my morning cameras in NC I thought this view of Atlantic Beach was a good contrast to the weather we are having in Colorado today.

Screen Shoot of Atlantic Beach, North Carolina, 1 April 2017