HF SOTA on Threemile Mountain

For Summits On The Air activations, I have been exclusively using the VHF/UHF spectrum. I like the HF bands but for SOTA, I just think that Height Above Average Terrain (HAAT) of a summit is an ideal match for frequencies above 50 MHz.  See Summits On The Air VHF Mountain Goat.

Threemile Mountain, viewed from the east.

After much nagging peer pressure encouragement from my fellow W0C SOTA activators, I decided to give HF a try. (The solar index had markedly increased in the past week, so the timing seemed right.) I chose an easy summit to hike (Threemile Mountain), so I could just focus on the radio operating.  Plus, Joyce/K0JJW and I were carrying a bit more radio gear, the usual VHF station plus my Yaesu FT-817 for the HF bands. For HF antennas, I dug two single-band EndFedz halfwave antennas for 20m and 15m out of the basement.

We quickly made four contacts on 2m FM and then set up the HF station. I used a telescoping fishing pole as the antenna support, strapped to a conveniently-located pine tree. The halfwave antennas were mostly horizontal and not that far off the ground (maybe 15 feet at the highest point).

This SOTA activation was on Halloween, so we chose costumes that blended in with the wildlife (Joyce/K0JJW, Bob/K0NR).

A quick check of the SWR using the internal FT-817 meter showed that the transmitter was happy. Then, I called Bob/W0BV on 14.346 MHz to see if I was radiating anything. I was not real strong at his location but we made the contact. As soon as he spotted me on SOTAwatch, I had a nice pileup of stations calling. In the meantime, Joyce kept working stations on 2m FM.

The FT-817 transceiver operating on 20m powered by Bioenno battery (not shown).

I quickly made 12 QSOs on 20m, including F4WBN in France (best DX for the day). Before I left 20m, Bob/W0BV met me on 14.061 for a CW contact. Just because. Then, I took the 20m antenna down and hoisted the 15m halfwave, the same configuration but a bit shorter in length. The 15m band was not quite as good and had more fading but I made 7 QSOs there.

Map of K0NR SOTA contacts from Threemile Mountain.

I was very pleased with the results, especially being able to use the 15 meters, my favorite HF band.  I could have brought along additional antennas to try 17m, 12m and 10m, but there’s always next time. I had a great time working the SOTA chasers on HF, so I will surely do it again.

73 Bob K0NR

The post HF SOTA on Threemile Mountain appeared first on The KØNR Radio Site.

Bob Witte, KØNR, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Colorado, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

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