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Black Crater Activation

ND7PA's picture
Voice Cellular Coverage: 
Spotty, may not work at all
Data Cellular Coverage: 
Spotty, may not work at all
Cellular Provider: 
APRS Coverage: 
Don't know

Completed my second SOTA activation on Black Crater on July 23, 2013. Black Creater trailhead is located just east of McKenzie Pass on OR 242.  The trailhead is well marked.  Parking and the trail are both very good.  Trail to the top is about four miles with about 3000ft elevation gain. Trail starts in dense forest and the forrest thins out as you go higher.  There were lots of bugs at the parking lot but once on the trail, they were not a problem.

The walk is quite scenic with good views starting about 1 mile from the top. There were a few patches of snow still around near the summit. Temperature was about 85 deg and the skies were clear. The sun was intense on the summit at 7251ft. Took 5L of water for me and the dog.  We used 4.5L that day and were still dehydrated when the day was over.  Time from parking lot to summit was 2hr, 20min including bio-breaks. It took exactly half that time to get back down.

Views of the Sisters from the top are spectacular. Cell coverage was not available for Verizon. The top is pretty open with some short twisted pine trees.  Oddly, mosquitos were bad in the rocky areas.  I set up 60ft north of the summit, putting a EFHW up supported at the bottom by one of the scrub pines. Also set up a tarp to cover my operating area as the suns intensity plus heat from the lava rock would have baked me from both sides. Only got baked from one side this way.

Rig was my old trusty NorCal Sierra, a deadbug tuner, 5AH gell cell, and a WM-2 wattmeter/SWR bridge. Lots of big, heavy equipment. Antenna was held up by a DK9SQ pole.  Just in case, I also brought my 20 meter dipole. Next time, I'll bring the kitchen sink as well!

Contacts began about 10 minutes into calling CQ.  My 3rd contact spotted me and then the fun began. I had never been on the receiving end of so many people calling me.  Worked 16 stations in about 1 hour of time on the air. I need to improve my operating skills to keep up with many of the fine OPs out there.  I found it great fun trying to copy, write, send and swat the horseflies, mosquitoes, and yellowjackets while operating.  Can't wait to do it again!