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Waldo Mountain, OR | Aug 2012

KK7DS's picture
Voice Cellular Coverage: 
Good, very usable
Data Cellular Coverage: 
Good, very usable
Cellular Provider: 
APRS Coverage: 
Good digi echos

This past weekend, Taylor K7TAY and I successfully executed our first overnight SOTA activation. We went to Waldo Mountain in Central Oregon, a 6-point peak with a three-mile (each way) trail ending at a spectacular view and one of the few remaining lookout structures in Oregon.

Following the instructions in our 100 hikes book, we navigated from our last fuel fillup in Oakridge to the parking spot at the trailhead, on the left along a forest road. After we slathered up with sunscreen and bug repellent, we donned our overstuffed packs and made our way to the trail kiosk to fill out our wilderness permit. From there, we proceeded to slowly ascend the 2000 feet of gain over three miles to the summit, stopping more frequently due to the extra weight.

When we arrived at the top, we were happy to see the closed, but still-standing lookout structure perched atop the very peak of the summit. Since the peak is so steep and pronouced, a tower is not necessary to gain a full 360-degree view of the surrounding territory. This made for a nice place to seek refuge from the sun, as there was always some amount of shade on one side or the other.

After having a bit of lunch and resting our feet, we set up the antenna to secure our required contacts for activation. This was the inaugural trip for our new KX3 #1030, which performed admirably for us on 20 meters.

Once we had completed this important task, we focused on securing a spot for the tent and planning our evening activities. Since the slope at the top is steep at all points around the summit, this was somewhat of a challenge. I believe we got the only flat spot big enough for even our small tent. We spent some time in the afternoon setting up a 40-meter EFHW antenna, which I strung between two trees, angled off of a guy line tied to the lookout structure. It wasn't very high off the ground, but it was good enough to work a couple of local chasers in the late afternoon.

Once the sun had gone down a bit, we set up the tent, prepared dinner, and reflected on the day. After relaxing a bit and airing out the socks, we enjoyed the fantastic sunset from 6500 feet.

The next morning, we woke up at about 6am and prepared our breakfast. We discussed and confirmed that, after descending Waldo Mountain, we would indeed head to our next target of Fuji Mountain. Since we had very good cellular data coverage, I checked my email and discovered that NH6Z was planning to hit the same summit that day! I'd say that SOTA's popularity has reached critical mass when a single summit is targeted by multiple activators on the same day. We knew that Jeremy would get there first, given that we had three miles to go to reach the Jeep, and another hour or more of driving to get to the next trailhead. However, we hoped that we would at least catch him on the trail for a quick meetup. It turns out that surprising another unsuspecting activator on the hill makes for good times!

K7ATN's picture

Great trip report

Thanks Dan and Taylor, for providing a fun story from your activation of Waldo.

Etienne, K7ATN