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Mount Saint Helens, WA | March 2021

KL0NP's picture
Voice Cellular Coverage: 
Don't know
Data Cellular Coverage: 
Spotty, may not work at all
Cellular Provider: 
APRS Coverage: 
Don't know

This was the second activation of LC-001 for both WE7CAT and KL0NP.  The first year WE7CAT had just gotten her tech license and was too shy to talk on the radio.  The next year she activated it without me with using an Anytone 878 with stock rubber duck antenna and was able to do a S2S with me while I was on Mt. Townsend in the Olympics.  This year WE7CAT/AE had just passed her Extra Class exam, and was ready to make contacts. 


We left the trailhead at 0330, with plenty of snow to the road for me to wear my telemark skis, while Franzi carried her snowshoes.  Once on the wormflows, I had to put on my ski crampons and Franzi her regular crampons.  I wasn't sure it was going to be much fun skiing down, but I kept them on.  Anyone else with skis also needed ski crampons, otherwise they were carrying their skis and wearing regular crampons.


We stopped at 4000 feet, just before the edge of the treeline for breakfast. We like to limit the amount of water we carry to one 1 quart bottle and one 16 oz bottle, and then stop frequently to use the MSR Reactor stove to melt snow for hot tea/coffee or cocoa.  We stopped again at 5700 feet and 7000 feet for 20-30 minutes to melt snow and rehydrate and rest.

At 7900 feet it looked like we were going to make the summit in a better time than we planned. But then we saw that nobody was going to the true summit and we had to break trail across a traverse.  It was too steep for Franzi's snowshoes, but she was only sinking in about 6".  The problem was it felt too steep to take off the crampons, but snow was balling up on the metal crampons with each step.  So the last 400 feet took a while. 


Once on the summit at about 1330 local, we set up the LNR trail friendly 40/20 end-fed antenna with the SOTAbeams telescopic antenna.  I knew we could get 4+ contacts on 2 m, but it is always fun to talk with family.  My mother, KJ7EHS/AG, lives in Centralia, WA, and I wasn't sure we could reach her on 2 meter.  Our alternate plan was to reach her on 40 m.  But she doesn't have an HF radio (yet).  Instead, our daughter (K3EXO) was going to help her get on 40 m using the TS-590S at our QTH using the setup. 

Elaina, K3EXO, was able to contact us on 40 m. Unfortunately, K7EHS/AG (just passed her general class exam) was feeling the after-effects of the second COVID vaccine, and wasn't up for getting on the radio (she was feeling fine by the next morning). 

WE7CAT/AE's FT818 worked great on FM, SSB, and CW.  She likes taking notes while I run the rig.  It definitely helps having two people to work through the pile-ups!

WE7CAT also worked on her other high mountain hobby--Extreme Napping.  She likes to bring her foam pad and take naps at summits while I play on CW.  I also tried Droid PSK, but didn't manage any contacts.  I didn't bring the Signalink and cables, but just tried using the method of holding the mic up to the phone speaker.  I didn't have any trouble decoding other CQ calls, but my power output seemed non-existent on the PO meter on the FT818

The ski down was better than I expected, as the clear sun did soften the snow.  Franzi got some good glissading in, and her rain pants have the scars to show it!  The snow was better for skiing the further from the glissading that I got, but since we were one of the last groups down, I didn't want us to get too far separated.

We arrived back at the car at 7pm.  My GPS said 5.36 miles up to the summit, but 6.5 miles down.  My ski track showed why it was longer going down.

I have uploaded pictures to SOTLAS -