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Peak 850 (Fairsing Vineyard), Oregon | August, 2019

K7AHR's picture
Voice Cellular Coverage: 
Decent, workable
Data Cellular Coverage: 
Decent, workable
Cellular Provider: 
APRS Coverage: 
Don't know

It's about time I wrote this one up, almost a year after.

This peak stood out as one of the remaining peaks on private or questionably accessible land at the beginning of 2019, in the Portland metro area.

To those of you who have scoped out this peak, you probably know that the activation zone does not cover the tasting room. In fact, if it did, this might be the most activated peak in the greater Portland area - imagine setting up your antenna, gazing out at the valley across the rows of vines, and being offered another glass of wine or some charcuterie. It honestly sounds like heaven, to me, but alas, 'tis not to be, because the tasting room is 100 feet below the summit, and the activation zone only starts at the high corner of their equipment shed, solidly beyond the tourist wandering areas. So I needed a different approach.

I thought I might be able to ask for permission, so I fired off an email in March of 2019, to Fairsing Vineyard. Brandy, the tasting room manager, said she'd inquire for me, but my question got a little lost in the operations of the vineyard, so I followed up, and she said she'd make sure I got an answer. She did, indeed, and Mike said yes!

So I called ahead to tell them we were coming, when I finally had the time, which unfortunately was almost three months after I had permission, but I managed to gather up my family and we drove out to the vineyard. I walked in with my radio in one hand, and my yagi folded up in the other, and they said, "Oh, you're the radio guy! I'll go get Mike!" He came over, shook all our hands, and then said, "Let's head up to my house." So I got in his truck and he drove me up to his house, almost at the top of the hill, and I met his dogs, and I managed to just scrape out enough scratchy contacts - then I went back down the hill and drank some wine and talked to Mike about the other hills and the other vineyards in the area.

If you are patient and persistent and you promise to bring a group of wine enthusiasts with you, this is certainly an interesting peak, but 2m exposure to Portland is not good and even with gain I barely got my contacts. I did this one mostly for completing the peaks around Portland, and because I thought I ought to be able to find a way up. If you're eyeing an unactivated peak on private land, go ask! If you tell them what you're doing, what you intend, chances are, they'll be very accommodating.

A huge thank you to Mike McNally for letting me use his back yard as a radio station, for inviting me into his home in that way, and for being such a wonderful host. The wine was amazing, and the views are spectacular on a beautiful summer weekend. Also big thanks to Scott - KI7EMX, Rick - K7RJB, and Loren - K7IW, for working me on this relatively challenging activation, Roger - W7RC, for always being on 52 for me when I need a fourth, and Ryan - KF7JSM, for answering my call and managing a scratchy contact with me when he emerged from behind a hill. Also, thank you to my family, for thanking Mike by helping me come drink his wine.

A bearing tree marker indicating the section boundary
A view of what I can only assume is Bald Peak