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Thompson Peak, Montana July 18, 2020

KJ7OKW's picture
Voice Cellular Coverage: 
Good, very usable
Data Cellular Coverage: 
Good, very usable
Cellular Provider: 
APRS Coverage: 
Good digi echos

This looked like a simple drive-to peak from the topo maps. However 1.25 miles from the summit I encountered a Forest Service gate blocking the road so I walked the remaining easy road to the summit. The views are excellent but the presence of large communication towers ruined any attempt I had at getting out a signal. I'm currently just using an 5 watt handheld on 146.52 FM voice. I've connected in this way up to 50 miles in the past. I had K7VK waiting to hear from me in Missoula and although I could hear him clearly, he could not hear me. I did not get the activation There is no way to manuver around the activation zone to avoid seeing the towers. So come prepared with something more powerful than the gear and bands I used. 

The marked CalTopo map I have linked below shows the route. The first 8 or so miles are on good paved road. Forest Road 7863 is smooth and without severe potholes and ruts. You can take a car up to the large turnaround. Ample parking there.


Update ; August 1, 2020

I returned to Thompson Peak armed with a portabe 4 element YAGI antenna and was able to activate the summit. Only 3 of 4 contacts achieved but at least I was able to punch through the RF from the com towers. See new picture and link to the antenna I use.

Antenna Link:

Lookout Tower
Communication Tower