Nice SOTA Trip to New Mexico

I took a long weekend trip, Thursday - Monday over the Easter holidays, to travel to Santa Fe, NM to accomplish two things. The first, get a break from the day job and secondly to activate as many Summits as possible. It has been a while since I took a serious SOTA trip, way back in February to be exact and I was getting Summit fever. So I caught a plane on Wednesday night so I could hit the ground running, or climbing, on Thursday morning.

As the days passed, I activated 6 summits. Two each on Thursday and Friday and one each on Saturday and Sunday. Three of the peaks are mountains I had done before, Ortiz, Montoso and 7472 while the other three were new ones for me, Tetilla, Palomas and Escobas. Including the winter bonus I was able to collect 58 points to bring my total activator points to 349 or a little more than a third of the way to my goal of 1,000 points. On this trip I used the FT-817, pico paddle, Elecraft T-1 tuner and an LNR 40-20-10 EFHW mounted on my carbon fiber extendable 21' fishing pole. I operated 30 meters through 12 meters on most summits.

Operating on Palomas W5N/SI-010

Considering that I am a third of the way, what have I learned along the way. As I gave that notion some thought it brought to mind the following.

1. My activating process is much more efficient, i.e., pack weight, antenna configuration, set-up time.
2. I am much more confident in my previously rusty orientation skills. I don't need a trail to get to a summit and back.
3. I'm in much better shape than when I started. I've dropped pounds and added endurance.
4. I've explored much more of this country, getting to summits off the beaten path, than I would have ever done otherwise.
5. I've met a fantastic community of activators and chasers who share a common bond of a love a radio and the outdoors.

It is exciting when two of your hobbies converge into one activity and that is what SOTA is to me.

To add a star to this trip, my XYL Cris, KC5HZQ, was able to activate four of the summits on a combination of 2 meter and 10 meter QSO's. She now has 38 points. So she is off an running. I'm glad I got a 300 point headstart on her.

Mike Crownover, AD5A, is a regular contributor to and writes from Texas, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

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