ViewVoting details

South Saddle Mountain, OR | October 2020

K7WXW's picture
Voice Cellular Coverage: 
No service at all
Data Cellular Coverage: 
No service at all
Cellular Provider: 
APRS Coverage: 
Full two-way messaging

TL; DR - There are at least six Saddle Mountains in W7O and W7W, this is the one close to peak 3534. The drive to the parking area is easily done in a 4WD vehicle but is a bit confusing, so have a good map and GPS. From the parking lot to the summit, the walk is easy. I had no RFI issues, good two-way APRS, and a comfortable spot (in the sun) to sit. Below the commercial communications site, you will find trees for wires and a broad view to the east. The drive from here to 3534 (NC-065) is less than thirty minutes, making for a nice four point day.

The Details - Does everyone make at least one wrong turn on the drive to Saddle Mountain? Probably, though using the directions provided by others here will limit the lostness. You can find the route I used here: HW6 to saddle and 3534.  As always, YMMV, so make sure you have more than my promise that this will get you there!

When you arrive, you will find two summits; the AZ is west. There is a communications facility on it but you won't see it until you are well up the road. Note that the area is used by the offroad vehicle and target shooting communities. On weekends, you are likely to find the open space available for parking packed by 10AM and dirtbikes, trucks, and so on on the trails. Please make sure you are out of the way and don't string wires across open areas. 

The summit is an easy walk up a dirt road and less than a mile. If you go all the way to the summit (many operators stop at the hairpin turn, which is in the AZ and shaded) you will find a broad, exposed area with views to the east and a bank of trees from which to hang antennas. Be prepared for the weather as there's no place to hide from wind and rain. 

On two meters I made a dozen contacts with a half wave whip and J pole lofted to about twelve feet. APRS two way messaging was also easy.  On the HF bands, I used an endfed set up as an inverted L and about seventeen feet above ground, on 40, 30, and 20 meters.  Propagation conditions were a bit above average and with 5W, I made SSB and CW contacts on 40 and 20 meters.  I didn't experience noticable RFI on any band. 

This would be another good spot for a leisurely day of HF QRP but I wanted to put my first two summit day in the books, so after making a dozen or so contacts, I headed to peak 3534 (about a thirty minute drive and a ten or fifteen minute hike away).