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Wilderness Peak, WA | June 2020

KE4HET's picture
Voice Cellular Coverage: 
Don't know
Data Cellular Coverage: 
Good, very usable
Cellular Provider: 
APRS Coverage: 
Don't know

After two previous attempts I finally made my first SOTA Contacts. Laughing

Wilderness Peak is a pretty easy place to get to. My cousin and I have hiked there several times over the past year or so.  For this, my first successful activation, we started out from the Sky Country Trailhead. While the distance to the summit is somewhat longer than from the Wilderness Creek Trailhead, there is much less elevation gain, thus a much easier hike.  As experienced day hikers well familiar with King County's Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park it took us a little over 45 minutes from the parking lot to the summit.  

Many thanks to John O'Brien, K7JRO, for being the first answer my "CQ SOTA" after about 10 minutes of calling and for his help in marshaling up more contacts. After making a couple more contacts a few minutes later, I got word that there were several other chasers calling that weren't tripping the squelch on my radio and I could barely hear through the static in monitor mode. I did manage to pull one more contact out of the noise to complete the four needed for my first SOTA point. 

The setup I used was basically my mobile, repurposed for trail use.  My current SOTA transceiver is a QYT KT-8900D (small cheep Chinese dual band unit) and my old NMO dual band Nagoya NMO-72 antenna mounted on a ~6' mast made from 1/2" PVC conduit.  The transceiver is powered from a 16500mAh 12V Portable Car Lithium Jump Starter. Other useful items included a small clipboard, with a pre-printed log sheet, and of course a SOTA flag. 

All the items fit in my day pack with the two ~3' PVC mast tubes sticking out the top. Once at the summit, I assembled the mast and antenna using my backpack as a base (which added about another 3' to the antenna. Power and coax draped below my arm to the transceiver hanging on my chest. 

Improvements for next time (or two or three):

  • Better chest harness for my transceiver
  • Full 5/8 wave whip antenna
  • One or a few more PVC conduit sections for a taller mast (and maybe some guy-lines / radials)
  • Updated log sheet with call sign as first column
  • Small stick on clock for clipboard (set to UTC)
  • Maybe a broadcast FM filter to help lower the noise floor? (Espically if I want to activate W7W/KG-122, Squak Mtn. or W7W/KG-115 [East] Tiger Mtn. with big radio towers at their summits.)
KE4HET on Wilderness Peak making SOTA contacts