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SOTA Activation: Red Top Mountain, Kittitas County, Washington - March 8, 2015

KG7EJT's picture
Voice Cellular Coverage: 
Decent, workable
Data Cellular Coverage: 
Spotty, may not work at all
Cellular Provider: 
APRS Coverage: 
Don't know

A very enjoyable day out in the mountains with great company and SOTA success!  This was my first time on Red Top Mountain, although I have summitted many other peaks in the Teanaway region of the Central Cascades.  This was our second joint Activation, with Mark Sandler, K7MAS. Mark is helping me understand the benefits of HF when on the more remote peaks of the Cascades. Once set-up, Mark succeeded in making contacts on HF immediately, while I patiently called "CQ", "CQ" and waited....and waited. After several minutes I made 1 contact on 146.52-FM.  After half an hour or so of no response to my CQ calls, I relocated my 4-element Yagi-Uda Arrow Antenna to the other side (south) of the lookout tower, and began making contacts with hams in the Ellensburg area, eventually making 6 contacts!

As Mark noted in his report, Mark did a great job driving us up the compact snow and ice covered Forest Service roads most of the way to the summer trailhead, parking at about 4300 feet - leaving us about 1000 feet of gain to reach the 5331 foot elevation of the summit where the lookout tower is located.   I used the GPS app on my Android Smartphone, without data coverage, to mark a waypoint at the location we parked the vehicle.  I use "AlpineQuest", a free app, and it works great on my LG Smartphone. Within less than 1 minute it had aquired 14 satelites and pin-pointed our exact location.  Whenever traveling off-trail (as I knew we would be), I always mark at waypoint at the location of the vehicle, just in case we decide to take an alternate off-trail route back to the vehicle.