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High Rock Lookout Oct 6, 2013

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Sunday, Oct 6


High Rock Lookout is a popular 3.5 mile RT jaunt that gains 1400 ft.  I will be the seventh SOTA op to activate this peak.  This location is touted by outdoor photographers as the 'cat's meow' for mountain photographs.  Also, this hike seems to attract those hikers (you've seen them)  with no pack or jacket and only a bottle of water. 

Pat WT7N and I had been to High Rock before but in the rainy fog with 30 ft visibility.  For this days hike it was clear with superb views of Mt Rainier looking north.  Mt St Helens, Mt Adams, and Mt Hood are to the south.  Nearby is the Tatoosh range with 4 SOTA summits and further to the east is Goat Rocks with SOTA's Ives Pk.  


According to Washington Trails Assn there are two ways to get to the TH at Towhead Pass.  The Family Sedan way and the nondescript way.  See:   The nondescript route was shorter but way harder on my Subaru.  The return trip via the easy-peasy Family Sedan route only had a few potholes to avoid instead of sinkholes. 

 The hike is on a beaten path up a ridge back which ends on a large rock face.  A few hundred feet up the rock is the lookout cabin perched on the very end with a sharp drop off.  The cabin had its shutters down but the door was open for touring.  All of the usual lookout equipment was missing.   

At historic lookouts I don't like to use the structure for my antennas so I am not in the way of other visitors.  I would normally find a spot away from where the visitors are going to hang out.  But here, there are few options.  I strapped my 18 ft fish pole to an old hand rail support.  To tie off the strings on the ends of the doublet antenna... It was difficult to find cracks in the smooth rock face to jam the string winder into.  

In my thinking... there's no such creature as 'Murphy' (as in Murphy's Law)... but there is complacency.  Complacency on my part revealed itself when I couldn't get my radio to transmit.  All the controls and settings looked right.  I could TUNE, I could hear myself send Morse, but I had no RF Power output indication.  After a few minutes of dinking and rebooting... I remembered that at home I had the radio in the code practice mode which shuts off the RF.  It took me a while to recover from that.  Phil NS7P kept sending ?? after I TUNEd up on 7r032 which is where I APRS spotted myself.  We finally made the contact and I sent: SRI TECH DIFF HR.  I tried 40M SSB, but the popular CA QSO party in full swing.  3 QSOs were made on 30M CW.  20M CW was the most fruitful with 22 QSOs. 

 Safety First- As soon as I saw groups people coming up the rock slope I shut down and dismantled my antenna.  It was too close for comfort on top of the steep rock for lots of hikers and strings and wires.

Highlights from this outing:  I made contact with avid Ped Mobile QRPer W0RW. No slash P was heard so I suspect he was at home.  At 1914 Z contact was made with WG0AT.  I notice on Sotawatch that he was on top of Mt Herman a few hours later.  Steve moves fast.  The big enchilada of contacts for me was with G4oBK.  Loud signals each way.  That's the first NON North America SOTA contact I've made.  I noticed new call signs in the 'SOTA Chaser Community'- because I was early to my activation? Maybe, but I betcha it's due to more folks getting involved with SOTA.  


Fotos and a non prime time short movie can be seen here:


End of Report.  Best Regards and Happy Trails,

Rich kr7w