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Dog Mountain, WA | March-2012

K7ATN's picture
Voice Cellular Coverage: 
Spotty, may not work at all
Data Cellular Coverage: 
No service at all
Cellular Provider: 
APRS Coverage: 
Don't know

Dog Mountain is a wonderful climb nine months of the year - but in March we went from spotty sun and 38F to snow blowing sideways at 25 mph and perhaps 27F in a partial white out. It's a bit less than eight miles round trip with 2900 feet of gain.

From Portland take I-84 to Cascade Locks and cross the Bridge of the Gods into Washington (toll). Turn right heading east on highway 14 and pass through Stevenson (great food at La Casa de Sabor) - the trailhead, a large dirt lot, is at MP 53. There is a privy a hundred yards up the Dog Mountain trail to the east.

In peak season of late June the balsamroot display on the upper portions of Dog Mountain are absolutely amazing - but not so much in March. On the summit we found a bit of shelter from the wind and snow in the thick trees there but it may not have helped my signal get out. 

I sometimes start with 144.2 SSB and one of my regular chasers for that mode, KI7JA came back. Next on 20M CW, thanks go to the patient Phil NS7P and Randy ND0C as we worked sometimes barely audible signals through deep QSB. And then - no more responses on CW, a futile attempt on 20M SSB where I discovered that my FT-817 was running at 2.5W because the power connector had come loose - for those that have this radio the power connector is a known issue. With only three contacts made, this was looking like a no point activation.

I then tried several calls on 146.52 FM asking for a signal report - nothing. Dog Mountain looks down on the Columbia River Gorge with I-84 going through and the town of Hood River less than 10 miles away. I was surprised that some mobile ham monitoring .52 didn't come back, asking what we were doing hiking this time of year. I then made a quick plea on one of the Portland area repeaters for a signal report on .52 simplex - - and was relieved to have KF7KXV come over to .52 with a 32 report from about sixty miles west.

I do want to give credit to KI0G who has a great signal that I replied to a number of times but bummer that Bob couldn't hear my 2.5 Watts. And then on 20M SSB, Bob AJ5C had a really nice 58 signal on Dog Mountain, but again, no dice on a two-way. I appreciate the spot by Rich, N4EX suggesting 17M, but my buddy Dan Hafley had been there for almost an hour at that point and he was cold and really ready to go. (He did make a nice snowman with all that time on his hands...)

Consider Casa de Sabor for lunch when you are done with this hike - 47 Russell Avenue in Stevenson.

Note that Dan, KK7DS, has thoughtfully added GPS tracks for Dog Mountain on this website: Path to Dog Mountain.

Dog Mountain operating position
Dan and his chilly friend