Monday, July 29, 2013

KC0YQF's 50th Birthday

Well, technically today is Lynn's birthday but due to the weather we decided to forgo the FOBB contest and head into Cripple Creek, Colorado to celebrate Lynn's 50th.

I wanted to get to the summit early and set up a shelter and figured as long as there was no thunder to be heard it would be fun but I really did not feel up to it. We ended up making the right choice as I would later find out.

Lynn has wanted to go to Cripple Creek (a gambling town) and throw some money away for awhile. She ended up winning about 20 dollars and we decided to pocket her winnings and check out the Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine Tour. This is one of those tourist traps that the locals never stop to see but we decided to do it anyway. After all, it would be good recon for any out of town visitors that did not want to hike up a mountain.

There was a good 20 minute wait to get in so we waited and watched it rain and exchanged a few text messages with wG0AT who was camped out to the North West of where we were.

Trying to use the reverse function on the camera

Lynn on the old tractor
The Old Mine
We were finally called to get in line in order to be packed into the cages that take us down 10000 feet.

One strict rule!!!!
Strictly enforced!!!
After a two minute ride straight down.

Still 9,000 feet above sea level
Our tur guide, Brad, did an excellent job and we learned a lot such as the donkeys lived down in the mines to haul the cars around until President Roosevelt put a stop to that. The descendants of those donkeys roam around Cripple Creek to this day.
Brad, our tour guide
Looking down the mine

Looking straight up
Minerals in the rock
Work Bench to repair tools
Brad explains the signaling system
Of note, the boxer Jack Dempsey worked in this mine and another one in this area but was fired for his inability to keep up with the work load. I guess he found boxing somewhat easier.

We had a good lunch and tour and Brad gave everyone on the tour a little piece of rock with gold in it. 

So I missed the FOBB contest again. That is ok because as I noticed last night I was feeling worse and today I am sick and while this is a sequester/furlough day for me (I am a government worker) I would have called in sick anyway which I do not often do.

So today is Lynn's official 50th Birthday so if you get the chance send her a birthday greeting.

Lynn training to be a miner
73 Frank K0JQZ

Friday, July 26, 2013

SOTA Activation of South Peak and 9943 (W0/SR-111 and W0/SP-109) 26 July 2013

I was looking for an easy 6 or 8 pointer that we could do today. What I found was South Peak W0/SR-111 at 8 points with only a 800 foot vertical climb that was not too steep at all. It took a little less than an hour to summit.

It is a barren summit but the rock cairn provided a great support for the fishing pole and the EFHW.
K0JQZ unwinding the EFHW on South Peak
After a few minutes we were ready to go. I was surprised that I was able to get an SMS to Steve, wG0AT, sp we pre-arranged a QSO on 40 meters and he was a solid 559. This was the first activation of this summit and Steve was the first in the log. I went through and worked a few more stations on 40: In addition to wG0AT I worked:
W7RV
K0LAF
KA0NZZ
N0EVH
W7FW

Then it was on to 30 meters to work:
NS7P
N7AMA
K7NEW (good to hear you on again Mark)

And finally 20 meters:
AE4FZ
W7CNL
NA6MG (Summit to Summit)
K6TUY (Summit to Summit)
N4EX
W9FHA
ND0C
K7FJD
WA2USA
W7USA
KG7E
N7AMA
KG3W
VA6FUN

After working all the stations I could hear I turned it over to Lynn for the 20 meter SSB action.
Lynn's log is as follows:
AE4FZ
W0MNA
N8LBF
W7CNL
N4EX
W4LKC
K7JFD
VA6FUN
W7RV
NS7P

You may have heard Lynn saying Chalk Mountain which is what I told her but it was South Peak (W0/SR-111). After researching many summits I got a little confused. We were near 13,000 feet so that is allowed.


Lynn after working the pileup on South Peak

The view from our radio shack for today

After getting done we noticed that the clouds were forming but decided to try 9943 and decided that if there was no thunder we would give it a go. Bob, K0NR, did a great writeup on how to climb 9943 so I felt confident in an easy 4 pointer. I wound up being wrong on the easy part.

We got to the TH just as Bob had described it and we started off. It was getting hot and there were clouds but nothing that I was worried about. We debated on the correct route and I seconded guessed myself and ended up taking a more direct approach (Rooster would be proud) rather than a leisurely incline we had a steep ascent.  Between the heat and the steep grade we were having a lot of trouble. It is about this time I noticed it clouding up a bit. 

I was within a few feet of the summit and noticed a ledge with cover about 40 feet below the summit and decided to go down and setup there just in case I needed to make a shelter. I did not think we could safely get down quickly if an electrical storm started so that is where we setup. It was not the idea position for the antenna, it was a little difficult with the shade giving tree being a bit too low, but we got setup. 
K0JQZ setting up on 9943
Lynn, exhausted from the near vertical ascent, dropped her backpack and it went tumbling. I wanted to leave it as I could see a better way off the mountain in the opposite direction but Lynn had her cell phone in there so she went after it. It rolled a pretty good distance but after retrieving it Lynn did the ascent one more time.

By this time I was setup and could hear the lightening crashes on the KX3. I knew we did not have much time as I could see it was coming in from the North.

Sorry that I only worked 20 meters but thanks to all the chasers. My contacts were as follows:
N7AMA
N6KZ
WA7TJM
K6EL
W7USA
W7CNL
WA2USA
K7JFD
NS7P
W7RV
N7CQR

I was beat and so was Lynn but she tried SSB anyway and got Phil, NS7P right off the bat then nothing. Nothing for 10 minutes which is a long time when you know you have to get down off the mountain and a storm is coming your way. Finally a few stations were able to hear her and here is the results of Lynn's efforts:
NS7P
KD9KC
N6JZT
K6EL

Thanks Phil for staying of freq a bit.

After Lynn worked all the stations we headed down, made it back to the jeep and headed for home. As always the easy one turned out to be the hard one. We both earned our ice cream tonight.

Thanks for all the chasers, it is always neat to hear new callsigns but thanks to all that listen for us day after day. It was a hard day but a lot of fun. 

Lynn and I will do one more summit on Sunday for the Bumble Bee contest then the next one will be while we are on our honeymoon in Yellowstone and Teton National Parks.

72
Frank
K0JQZ

Saturday, July 20, 2013

SOTA Activation of Horseshoe Mountain (W0/SR-064) 20 July 2013

Due to the distance Lynn (KC0YQF) and I left the house at zero dark thirty to arrive at the trailhead at around 0800. I drove as far as I cared in the Jeep and we parked at 13,000 feet at around 0900.

We tried to activate this summit last Aug but due to my poor health I got altitude sickness about 250 feet from the summit and had to abort.

This time we had an advantage and knew what to expect. After we parked we still had 800 vertical feet in a little less than a mile to summit. It took us around an hour and we were two hours ahead of my posted time for activation.


As we summited I looked at my handheld and realized it was off. I turned it on and I got a call from K0NR (Bob) at his cabin not too far away. Bob was kind enough to "spot" me on SOTA Watch and we started getting setup for HF.

We setup at the old shack that is falling apart but it provided a wind break. It is South of the summit and a little below but well within the activation zone.

Lynn always leads the activation on 20 meters SSB and here are her contacts:
K0NR (only 2 meter QSO)
W7RV
W0MNA
W0ERI
ND0C
WA7JTM
N7AMA
K7JFD
N1EU
N4EX
N4LA
NS7P
N4EMG
VA6FUN
WA2USA
AB7YL
KJ4ZFK

After Lynn exhausted all callers I plugged in the paddles and started with a Summit to Summit QSO with W0CCA on Monarch Ridge South which is a summit that Lynn and I activated the weekend before. I then moved up in freq and started working the chasers.

Here is my complete log:
K0NR (only 2 meter QSO)
W0CCA (Summit to Summit)
NA6MG
KH2TJ
N0EVS
WA7JTM
ND0C
N4EMG
K4PIC
W6UB
K7JFD
W7TAO
W8XN
KG3W
KU6J
N4EX
N6JZT
N7WM
AA4Q

30 Meters:
KU6J
WB5USB
W7CNL
N0EVH


I liked Horseshoe summit. The weather started to change so we secured and headed down to the Jeep. We saw another couple just getting ready to start the final ascent but the clouds were moving in and I was glad to be leaving. I hope they had time to enjoy the views before they had to leave.


This was my 52nd summit. Not all of my summits were for activator points. I often hike up Mount Herman to test equipment and antennas but I have made 52 ascents since 5 July of 2012 when we activated our first summit.

Thanks to all the chasers.

72
Frank
K0JQZ