Enter the weather. The forecast for my entire stay was for snow. The higher elevation peaks are out of the question, but there might be some possibilities for some the peaks in the 7,000 ft ASL range. Saturday had the best forecast, only 1-2 inches accumulation, but Sunday was for 2-4 inches.
So based on some advice on local summits from Fred, KT5X (aka WS0TA), Ortiz Mountain (W5N/SE-043) was my choice. Better yet, it was a 6 point summit which would move my Activator score to 201 points. I had to do it on Saturday or risk being snowed out.
This would be an opportunity to work on my winter approach to activations, from clothing to equipment to hiking in the snow. Cris, my XYL agreed to join in the fun.
|Cris headed up the mountain|
We found our way to the base of the mountain and quickly learned that finding 4WD roads in the snow isn't that easy, however we managed to navigate our way to within 600 vertical feet of the summit and from there packed our gear and headed up the mountain.
The hike wasn't bad, hiking up a 4WD road to the shoulder and then up to the summit. The summit probably had 4 inches of snow and more was falling. I quickly found a decent operating location and began the set-up. This day I was using my FT-817, the trail friendly LNR 10-20-40 EFHW with a T1 tuner.
So I set up on 17 meters and called CQ. After finally getting a spot for my frequency, my paddle decided to only send dits, I brought out my trusty micro-key, but had to remove my gloves to operate it. The temperature was 27 F, so my hands got a little cold.
My wife in the mean time had found warmth by getting the Bothy Bag we brought along. Bothy Bags are mini-shelters that are excellent for getting out of the cold or rain.
I made my requisite QSO's, working both coasts with my QRP signal, plus a few more and decided to declare victory and head back down the mountain. The snow had stopped for the trip down which we managed at a comfortable pace.
|View from the Top|