ViewVoting details

South Saddle Mountain, Oregon

K7EEX's picture
Voice Cellular Coverage: 
No service at all
Data Cellular Coverage: 
No service at all
Cellular Provider: 
APRS Coverage: 
Don't know

Seeing that this is one of the closest, biggest peaks to the QTH, it was a no-brainer that we would make this an early target for our newfound SOTA fascination.  On a nice Sunday afternoon, the sudden call was made that we should load up the Jeep and make the scramble up the hill.

A GPS is absolutely necessary to get up to this peak through the twisted tangle of gravel and OHV roads in this part of Tillamook forest.  It is also very helpful on the way back down.  Most GPSs will have you get close to the summit.  There is a great parking area that sits in-between the two horns of the saddle.  It is a short and easy hike up to the top, the AZ, and a large collection of communications towers.

I made the mistake of setting up the activation from literally the highest point on the summit area – a spot very near the largest of the microwave towers.  Little did I know that this was a bad choice of temporary hamshack.  Having recently sorted out the rig for 15m, I was excited to try the activation starting there.  Unfortunately, the towers kick out very high QRN on 15m and blocked reception of anything on 2m.  After trying to fight through the noise for quite some time and making only one successful QSO, I made the call to change bands and hope that something else would work.

Things were much better on 20m and after getting a helpful spot on SOTA Watch, I landed a number of contacts fairly quickly.  Surprising to me was the fact that many of the chasers asked if I could stay on frequency for the rollover to the new UTC day.  A short while later, when we had hit midnight UTC, six of the chaser stations started contacting me again for their second round of points.  By the end of this, the voltage on battery for the HF rig was starting to drop.  I packed up and headed back down the hill.  If nothing else, I learned many, many things on this activation that will help me be successful in the future.

Buddistick at the Summit