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Hoodoo Butte, OR | January 2023

W7MTB's picture
Voice Cellular Coverage: 
Good, very usable
Data Cellular Coverage: 
Good, very usable
Cellular Provider: 
APRS Coverage: 
Don't know

KK7HJL and I had been wanting to get out and do more activations during our Holiday break from work responsibilities.The weather and social calendars colluded to prevent us from making it happen until the last day of our break. We won a pair of lift tickets to Hoodoo Ski area and decided to bring along our radio's to see if we could activate the summit. This is one of the easiest "hikes" we have done, since it really only involved walking from the car to the bottom of the lift. To make it a bit more challenging, we did 4 quick runs on Ed's chair before taking the Green Monster to the top. We were hoping the dense fog would lift as we could see the sun poking through but never got out of the cloud on the lower section of the mountain. After our 4th run we decided it was time so we skied to the bottom and boarded the chair for the long ride to the top. To our surprise about 300 ft below the summit the fog cleared and we were treated to a view of the full majesty of the Central Oregon Cascade Range. To the south we could see Mt. Bachelor, South, Middle and North Sisters. To the East, Black Butte and Mt. Washington. To the North, Mt Jefferson and Mt Hood peaking out. The summit was still, but that didn't prevent my fingers from getting very cold in the 17 degree F temperature. 

We decided to try to knock the activation out quickly on 2M, I didn't really dress warm enough and my fingers, toes and legs were already cold and setting up the HF antenna didn't sound fun. That didn't go quite as easily as planned. First contact came quickly enough, but the next three took another 45 mins of calling CQ. Our first contact let us know that our signal strength was fading so I tried out the new 2M Band pass filter, only to get a weaker signal report so we went back to working without the filter. I expected we might get some QSO's from the Eugene/Springfield/Salem area but heard nothing. After a while I asked our first contact if he could make a call out on the local repeaters. I wasn't sure if we were getting into the primary repeater and the Mt. Bachelor repeaters are not usually linked to the system. He tried and reported he heard nothing, which was odd for our system. He made a second attempt and we got a call from the Black Butte Ranch area to complete our 4 QSO's to activate. Hungry and cold we headed down the easiest trail to the lodge for some lunch and a beverage.

Things to know:

  • Hoodoo Butte can be very windy and cold on the top in the winter. We were expecting much higher winds but got pretty lucky. 

  • Ski patrol asked us who we worked for, which was funny and it took a minute to explain what we were up to but they seemed uninterested. 

  • The AZ is right at the top of the Green Monster and Hodag Lifts. Super duper easy to get to in the winter if the lift is running. 

  • There is a fence just behind the ski patrol office to which one could strap a mast should one choose to do so.

  • 2m is usually a LOT easier, everyone must have been hungover from their New Years UTC crossover activations the day prior.

  • Bring a second handheld. I couldn't tell if we were getting into the repeater when I attempted to raise some interest to work us on simplex and having a second would have helped confirm.

  • If you're going to ride the lifts, a fanny pack might be a better option than a full backpack. Taking it on and off every lift ride gets pretty annoying. 

  • Should go without saying, extra layers! This isn’t my first rodeo but it was my first day skiing this season with some new pants and gloves and I was under prepared for standing around in the cold.

 Full report with pictures here