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Gold Mountain 7/8/12

KX7L's picture
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No service at all
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Don't know

Decided to kick it up a notch this time, (but only one notch) and do a 4 pointer.  But feeling a bit lazy I went looking for a 4-pointer that I could reach without a really long hike.  Gold Mountain, just east of Darrington, fits the bill.  I headed north from downtown Darrington on SR530, and then east on Sauk Prairie Rd.  After a couple miles, turned south on FS24 (pretty good gravel road), and after 4 or 5 miles turned right on FS2420 (OK gravel road with a few potholes to dodge).  Switchbacked up the east side of the mountain, then climbed around the north side, over to the west side.  At N 48 14.465 W 121 32.799, a spur road heads up towards the summit.  However, my little Corolla wasn't up to that road, it's more suited to a 4wd vehicle.  Anyway, I need to do some hiking!  So I parked there and hiked up the last 1/4 mile to the summit.  

Gold Mountain's summit is broad and relatively flat; a few acres in size.  The jeep road goes all the way to the top, past a clear cut area with great views to the west (Whitehorse Mountain) and south.  There's also a weather station up there.  The actual summit is mostly forested with young trees about 30-40 feet tall.    But the road does lead to a large clearing on the east side of the summit plateau, and that's where I set up my station. One curious note: lots of little frogs all over the place!  I picked up a small log to use as a seat and about a dozen little frogs jumped out of it!  This time, instead of being an hour+ late for my announced activation, I was about an hour early.  Lacking a smart phone, I had set up a Twitter account to use the QRPSPOTS website to spot my start time, but wouldn't you know it, no T-mobile service in Darrington.  But a few CQ's on 14061 netted me a response from KT5X, who spotted me on sotawatch.  

A couple of changes from my first activation made life a little easier.  The first was a 31' Jacklite fiberglass collapsible pole, to hold my EFHW wire nice and high in the air.  With the addition of a "PlumbQwik" rubber end cap from the hardware store on the bottom, the collapsed pole makes a usable, if slightly heavy hiking staff.  The second change was an upgrade of the TICK keyer chip in my Norcal-20 from a Tick-1 to a Tick-4.  The newer version has 2 memories and a "beacon" mode, which made cq'ing a breeze (once I got the thing programmed)  Next upgrade is a lithium coin cell for the keyer so I can program the memories at home and keep them that way.  

After an hour, and 11 QSO's in the log, the answers quit coming, so I headed back down the mountain, pausing to enjoy a stunning vista of the Sauk River basin and Mt Baker.

Whitehorse Mountain
The actual summit?  Hard to be sure.
The operating position.
Little froggies everywhere up there!
Mt. Baker from the road on the way down.