Thursday, March 12, 2015

FT4TA Expedition Book

I received the commemorative book on the FT4TA expedition to Tromelin in the mail a couple of days ago. Just a word to say that it is a nice memento of the expedition. I enjoy collecting expedition books as they are nice reading to learn how things worked, but also to look at a few years in the future to remember how things worked, "in the good old days":-)

You can see a preview of the book here:

I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

My New Station

As I have blogged in past, I have a QTH in Santa Fe, NM. I have 5 acres, but according to the deed restrictions all I can do is look at it. No towers, no antennas, nothing. Since I spend most of my time here activating SOTA summits it's not that big of deal, however from time to time there is something I might miss because I have no HF capability, plus I like to chase SOTA peaks as well and I haven't been able to do that from here.

So with the help of Hector, XE2K, I am now able to work HF from here in a couple of ways. The first challenge was the antenna. While there is strict prohibitions against transmitting antennas, there is nothing prohibiting flagpoles. So I got permission to put up a flagpole. The flagpole I bought was from ZeroFive antennas. I bought the 20 ft. version. which is resonant on 20m with no tuning. I am using 16 43ft. radials However, I also put a SGC remote tuner at the base, which tunes all bands from 10m - 30m. Hector, who is very good at expanding the capabilities of any antenna, suggested we add a radiating wire to the mix. So we cut a 43 ft. piece of wire, attached it to the flag fastener and hoisted it to the top of the pole and tied off the end, in an inverted V configuration. the two antennas now are resonant, with the tuner, 10m - 80m. While it's not optimum, it is functional and now I'm on the air. In the photo below you can see the flagpole and the wire that makes 40m and 80m possible.

Flagpole Antenna

The next HF solution is to remote into my K3 at my home QTH in Texas. So I bought the K3/0 which is the remote radio device along with the RemoteRig interfaces. It is also now functional. So if I need a beam, I have access to that as well. So I am back in business on HF. Below is a look at the station. The K3/0 is on the left and an Icom 7200 on the right.


Where there is a will, there is a way.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Final Assault (Part Three): Mission Accomplished

Today, March 8, 2015 at 1732z, I made my fourth QSO from Peak 9431, W5N/PW-019 with N4EX. That QSO qualified the activation and thus earned me my SOTA Mountain Goat award. After 2 years and 2 days my point total is now 1,007, hallelujah!!

Peak 9431 was also  the second activation I ever made and I activated it with Fred, KT5X and John K1JD, both of which were with me today. Also this was my first activation using snow shoes the entire way, which actually was sort of fun. I made 37 QSO's and had a nice run of Europeans on 15m. It was a great day. Below is a video and a couple of pictures of today's activation.


Activation (I left my snow shoes on)

Departing the Summit with K1JD and KT5X

More summits to activate. Thanks to the chasers who make this possible.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Final Assualt (Part 2), Not Today

There was a tentative plan to do two peaks today to finish off my SOTA Goat quest. However it was not to be. We did activate Viejos Mesa, W5N/CC-020, but evidently I had yet to do a hike through snow and mud on a beautiful sunny day. I can now check that box. The summit took us a lot longer than expected and conditions would have been similar a the second peak. So we cancelled the second one.

I did the activation with Fred, KT5X and John K1JD. It was a lovely day and the views were simply magnificent, in fact these views captured the imagination of Georgia O'Keeffe, and which she immortalized in her paintings. Of all the days to forget my camera it was today, but in the picture below, everything in it plus a lot more was what we got to look at while activating this summit. Of course we were a lot higher, 8,000 ft. ASL, while enjoying the beauty.

So now I sit at 996 points. Maybe tomorrow.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Final Assault (Part 1)

The last I wrote I had 965 SOTA Activator points. The goal is 1,000 Activator points to achieve Mountain Goat status. I'm almost there. I did two summits today, Palomas Peak (W5N/SI-010) and Peak 6860 (W5/SI-022), to move my total to 985 points, almost there. Below are some video clips from my activations today.

It was a beautiful day to be in the mountains of New Mexico. Both of these summits are near Albuquerque, but very different environments. Palomas Peak is in an alpine forest and 6860, more or less in the desert. Al within about 25 miles of each other.

The Trail to Palomas Peak

Palomas Operating Position

Palomas Descent

Taking a Break During 6860 Ascent

Arrival on 6860

6860 Summit

It was a beautiful day with two very different mountains. Lots of fun. Only 15 points to go. Stay Tuned for Part II.