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Poly Top Butte, OR | October 2020

W6PZA's picture
Voice Cellular Coverage: 
Decent, workable
Data Cellular Coverage: 
Decent, workable
Cellular Provider: 
APRS Coverage: 
Good digi echos

Poly Top Butte is a good second summit to add on a trip to China Hat W7O/CE-053. Here’s a few notes from my activation:

If you’re driving to this area from Bend, I recommend that you take Hwy 97 south to La Pine and then take primary Forest Route 22 (paved) east to meet China Hat Rd (Rt 18).  This way you’ll stay more on paved roadways.  If you come straight down China Hat Rd from Bend, expect a long, dusty, and very bumpy ride.  While China Hat Rd is wide and graveled, it is heavily used and there’s significant washboarding.

Most secondary forest access roads leading up to Poly Top from Forest Route 22 are overgrown with brush that will scratch up your rig.  It would be better to park along Rt 22 southeast of the Butte and hike up from there - see map below.  The hike is about a mile with a 450-foot climb, some bushwacking but not bad.  Also note that forest roads in this area have restricted access during hunting season as part of the Fox Butte Cooperative Travel Management Area.  Map link:

The summit is forested with filtered views.  There’s rock outcroppings.  The AZ is good size and you should have no problem finding a place to setup shop.  Plenty of trees around to hang wires.

I had 1-bar LTE Verizon service and could self spot.  APRS worked up top but was spotty on the hike.  

Very low noise in this area, made lots of ssb contacts, but all quiet on 2m FM.

Area Map
Poly Top summit