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KG7E Activates Big Southern Butte

KG7E's picture
Voice Cellular Coverage: 
Don't know
Data Cellular Coverage: 
Decent, workable
Cellular Provider: 
APRS Coverage: 
Don't know

This is probably the easiest summit to locate in Idaho.  It is a volcanic dome that rises 2500 feet in the middle of the Snake River Lava Plain. You can't miss it.  I accessed it from the ARCO approach, a drive of about 20 miles across a dusty BLM desert road which brought me to the base.  Here I unloaded my ATV and rode up the summit trail which is 5 miles one way. A really fine and popular ATV trail ride.  The trail ends at the very peak where there is a viewing platform and stinky outhouse.  You can park anywhere near the top and hike the remaining required distance.  The views are awesome. Google Big Southern Butte for photos.


I set up my BP and FT-817ND right at the top.  There was only a slight breeze and the weather was excellent.  I tuned up on 20 meters and just as I started to call CQ a rather large gust of wind blew my tripod over and snapped off one whip and bent the other.  I replaced the broken whip with my one spare and straightened out the other. Then I guyed the whole thing with some dacron rope.  I heard WO6M calling CQ from a W6 summit but couldn't work him. After calling CQ for a while and not getting a response I switched to 30 meters and spotted myself.  NS7P responded with a huge signal and give me a good report.  OK I thought, now I'm getting out. Called CQ for another 10 mins and nothing.  Switched back to 20 meters and got a 579 report from K7SO (who said I had a strong signal on 30m but did not have transmit on that band), followed quickly by a 559 from WO6M who was still trying to drum up some business on his end.  OK, one more to go for the points. Five minutes later I get a call from Dennis, WA2USA, who apparantly was having a really hard time hearing me, even though he was 599.  That was it. Got my four.  I was never heard on the East coast but there was also a severe lack of chasers here on the west coast, where I was getting out fairly well.


Just ordered an external LiPo battery for the 817 so next time I'll be 5 watts out instead of 2.5 and will try some SSB. Hopefully the propagation improves.


73 de Jim,  KG7E