Signal Butte (W0C/FR-165) is a popular Summits On The Air (SOTA) summit about 8 miles north of Florrisant, Colorado. Joyce/K0JJW and I had this one on our SOTA list for a while now and finally got around to activating it. At an elevation of only 9459 feet, it is not a big mountain but it provides a spectacular 360 degree view of the surrounding area. Signal Butte is within the Hayman Wildfire burn area from June 2002 and you can still clearly see the effects of that fire.
To get to the trailhead, consult the USFS Pike National Forest Map. Drive to the trailhead using FS 362, then turning onto FS 362A which leads to a well-used parking area. These roads are easy-peasy 4WD and high-clearance 2WD is probably sufficient.
The well-constructed trail is only a half mile long and 540 feet vertical, with many tight switchbacks and rock steps. I’d call this a good visitor hike because it will get most people huffing and puffing so they feel like they really did some climbing but then reward them with outstanding views on top.
On the Air
We both operated mostly on 2m FM (146.52 MHz) with the Yaesu FT-90 cranking out 30W into an 3-element yagi antenna. The best DX for the day was Dave/N0KM about 107 miles away in the San Luis valley (DM67vr). Note that our signals had to find their way across several mountain ranges for us to make contact. Who says VHF is only line of sight?
Steve/WG0AT showed up on Mount Herman (W0C/FR-063) for a summit-to-summit SOTA QSO. Then later, Doug/KD5OUG called us from the summit of Mount Evans (W0C/FR-003) for another summit-to-summit contact. Apparently Doug was just playing tourist and decided to pull out his 2m HT and give a call. Thanks to these stations that contacted us: K0LJW, W0RW, WG0AT, KC0PBR, K0MGL, KD0MRC, N0KM, N0EMU, KD0VHD, K0PV, K0PWO, W0BV, WB0TGE, K0GPA, K0TPC, WZ0N, KD0OUG
As you can see from the photos, the weather was excellent so we really enjoyed being on this summit. We both really enjoyed this summit and we will probably be back. This one is highly recommended because of the easy access, reasonable difficulty, established trail and excellent radio and optical horizons.
73, Bob K0NR