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Sonyok Mountain - Montana July 2020

KJ7OKW's picture
Voice Cellular Coverage: 
Good, very usable
Data Cellular Coverage: 
Good, very usable
Cellular Provider: 
APRS Coverage: 
Don't know

Sonyok Mountain (W7M/LO-115) is located on the Flathead Indian Reservation of northwestern Montana in Sanders county. It has a lookout tower at the summit that apears to be in good shape but was not manned the day I was there. A recreation permit is required to recreate off road on the reservation and the cost is $100 a season. Any local sporting goods store will have them. Although I did not encounter another person on this drive and could have gotten away without the permit, you DO NOT want to get caught by the tribal police, who do patrol their lands, without this permit. Much more expensive than the $100.

Getting there: The drive is approximately 13 miles of Forest Service type roads starting in Perma, Montana. Cross the bridge in Perma going north towards Hot Springs. Immediately after crossing the bridge take a right onto Racehorse Gulch road. A few miles down the road you will pass through what is left of the National Forest Service's horse corral complex complete with stables, bunkhouses, and out buildings. Years ago the Forest Service used horses to get back into the woods much more than they do today. 

Between 7 and 8 miles in you come to a fork in the road. Take the right fork going up hill. About 1.5 more miles up the road you come to another fork in the road. You are faced with road FB400 to the left and FB3000 to the right. Both will take you to the summit but FB3000 is more direct. From here a topo map does not help much. These reservation roads somehow do not correlate well with the government topo maps. You're best to look at a Google Earth map and see where these roads really are. 

From the trailhead you have a short and easy 250 foot walk to the base of the staircase that ascends to the lookout tower which was unmanned the day of the activation.

Cell coverage was excellent.

We got there early as the threat of thunderstorms were forecast for the afternoon. We were successful in activating the SOTA peak with 11 QSOs including one 5000 miles away in Hungary. From the lookout you can see Red Sleep Mountain W7M/LM-174 which resides in the National Bison Range.

 See my YouTube video of this activation here.