Posts Tagged ‘Colorado’

Fraser Does Pikes Peak

Pikes Peak is a great summit for a SOTA activation. You can hike up, drive up, or take the cog railway to get to the top. Pikes towers over eastern Colorado and has an excellent radio horizon in all directions. It is easy to work a bunch of stations on 2m FM. With a bit of effort, you can work Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, and New Mexico on VHF.

Fraser/MM0EFI was visiting from Scotland, operating here in the US as W0/M0EFI. Here’s his HF operating experience, with cameo appearances by Carey/KX0R, Christian/F4WBN, Elliot/K6EL, and Steve/WG0AT.

Now for the VHF fun on 2m FM. I happened to be on South Monarch Ridge (W0C/SP-058) that day and we completed a Summit-to-Summit contact on 146.52 MHz, at a distance of about 80 miles—easy contact using just HT’s on both ends.

Fraser, thanks for the fun videos from America’s Mountain.

73 Bob K0NR

The post Fraser Does Pikes Peak appeared first on The KØNR Radio Site.

Another Continental Divide Summit (W0C/RG-169)

A view of the W0C/RG-169 summit from the Continental Divide Trail. Look closely to see the game trail heading up to the right towards the saddle.

Lobo Overlook is an excellent summit and tourist spot near Wolf Creek Pass, one of the most scenic passes in Colorado. I’ve been up there for VHF contests and other mountaintop operations and initially thought it might be a SOTA summit. No such luck, as it is superseded by a higher summit nearby (W0C/RG-169). Lobo Overlook is accessed via an easy 3-mile gravel road just off the pass. The road leads to two small loops at the top, one of which is the actual Lobo Overlook while the other goes to an obvious radio site. The trail to RG-169 is best accessed from the radio site, so we parked there. Wolf Creek Pass and Lobo Overlook sit right on the Continental Divide and the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) passes through here just a bit to the west.

The Lobo Overlook road starts slightly east of Wolf Creek Pass.

Lobo Peak

This unnamed summit is listed as 11820 in the SOTA database. However, Lists of John (which was used to create the W0C SOTA database) shows this summit as 11831. My topo map seems to agree with 11831, so this might be an error. Of course, such a cool summit near the CDT deserves a name, so Joyce/K0JJW and I decided to call it Lobo Peak, for obvious reasons. (I looked for an existing nearby Lobo Peak and did not find one.)

Near the radio site, we started at the marked trailhead and headed west on Lobo Trail (878), actually going downhill to intersect the CDT about a half mile down the trail. At the trailhead, it was not obvious which summit we were headed to and it might not even be visible at that point. The summit did reveal itself as we headed down the CDT (see first photo above). We followed the CDT to a visible game trail that takes off steeply to the right (lat/lon 37.49765, -106.81515). There are several game trails that split off, heading up towards the saddle to the left of the summit and we stayed on the most established one. We set up our station within the activation zone just below the actual summit, avoiding the rock scrambling to get to the top.

The trail from Lobo Overlook to RG-169 mostly follows the Continental Divide Trail.

The one-way distance on the trail is 1.2 miles with an up-and-down profile. Lobo Overlook is only slightly lower in elevation from “Lobo Peak”. The trail starts at about 11,770 feet, descending to a low point of 11,500 and back up to 11,800 at the summit. So that produces a net ascent of about 300 feet, maybe more, one way. Of course, you get to repeat this on the way back.

The sign at the trailhead calls this Lobo Pass.

SOTA and POTA Activations

Once in the activation zone, we deployed the IC-705 on 2m FM, driving the 3-element Yagi antenna. We worked Travis/KB9LMJ on 146.52 MHz, who was mobile in Pagosa Springs. Further calling on 2m FM did not yield any contacts, but K0JJW and I did work each other on VHF/UHF. We had anticipated that this might be a tough place to activate on VHF, so we brought along the HF gear and set up an EndFed Halfwave antenna for 20m. Propagation was good and we soon worked 11 stations on 20m SSB.

This summit sits right on the dividing line between the Rio Grande National Forest and the San Juan National Forest, both valid for Parks On The Air (POTA). We opted to operate from the Rio Grande side (K-4405) because that was a new one for both of us.

This is the radio site as seen when you return from the summit, so no excuse for getting lost.

Continental Divide Trail

I’ve hiked sections of the Continental Divide Trail before, including some pre-SOTA backpack trips with Denny/KB9DPF. It is a great trail because it runs along the backbone of the Rocky Mountains. It is often accessible via roads to high mountain passes. (Another example is Wander Ridge, just off Cottonwood Pass.) Once you hop onto the CDT, you are hiking an established trail that is literally on top of the world.

This is an excellent, easy-to-access summit in the Wolf Creek Pass area. So if you are in the area, this might be one to activate. The road to Lobo Overlook is closed during the winter.

73 Bob K0NR

The post Another Continental Divide Summit (W0C/RG-169) appeared first on The KØNR Radio Site.

Four Days of SOTA Fun

For the Colorado 14er Event, Joyce/K0JJW and I decided to do one activation per day during the four-day event. We focused on 2m and 70 cm FM but also took along handheld radios for 1.25m and 23 cm. Our standard 2m/70cm portable station is a Yaesu FT-90, powered by a Bioenno battery, driving a small handheld Yagi (either a single band 2m or 70cm antenna).

Castle Rock (W0C/SP-112)

Castle Rock is just east of Buena Vista near Hwy 24.

On Friday, we activated Castle Rock, a short but challenging climb with plenty of nasty brush to scar your arms and legs. This is a summit that we’ve done before but not in the last few years. It is relatively close to our cabin so we decided to give it a return visit. Frankly, it is a lot of work for only 4 SOTA points, but it definitely gives you the feeling of a real climb. We each made about 14 QSOs, mostly 2m FM, including 2 Summit-to-Summit (S2S) contacts.

Mount Antero (W0C/SR-003)

On Saturday, we returned to Mount Antero at 14,269 feet. I did the first SOTA activation of this summit in 2011 and this latest one is my fifth activation. Dennis/WA2USA, W9 Mountain Goat from Indiana, joined us for this effort. Dennis worked CW on the HF bands while Joyce and I worked VHF/UHF.

Ascending the ridge line to Mount Antero.

We drove the Jeep to 13,800 feet and hiked up from there. This turned out to be the most fun summit of the weekend, because 1) it was a 14er with an excellent radio horizon 2) the weather was perfect 3) we had WA2USA along for the ride and 4) we took our time on the summit and just enjoyed the experience. Overall, I made 28 QSOs, 10 of them S2S. I caught Jon/KM4PEH on South Monarch Ridge on all four bands: 2m, 1.25m, 70cm, and 23 cm. It was a pleasure to work Terry/WB0RBA as he did the first activation of Mount Sopris (W0C/SR-039).

Dennis/WA2USA, Joyce/K0JJW and Bob/K0NR on the summit of Mt Antero.

Wander Ridge (W0C/SP-042)

On Sunday, we headed to one of our favorite summits, W0C/SP-042, known as Wander Ridge. See my previous trip report for more detail. This activation starts with a hike on the Continental Divide Trail (and Colorado Trail) from Cottonwood Pass. It really is walking on top of the world.

Wander Ridge (W0C/SP-042) is accessed from Cottonwood Pass via a 2.5-mile hike along the Continental Divide Trail.

The weather was sunny and warm but the wind was a bit of a challenge. We made good use of the rock shelter at the summit, sitting in comfort while we made radio contacts. When we stood up to leave, we were almost knocked over by the high winds.

Bob/K0NR sitting down on the job to avoid the wind, working 2m FM.

I made 19 QSOs, including 4 S2S. Steve/WB5CTS showed up on 2 meters from Slumgullion Pass, but also had 1.2 GHz gear along, so we made a contact on that band (about 63 miles). I was not expecting 1.2 GHz activity but I did have the Alinco HT, so I used it with just a rubber duck antenna. Hey, it worked!

The Pulverizer (W0C/SP-092)

Finally, on Monday we activated The Pulverizer, near Wilkerson Pass, which is a new summit for us. See my trip report for more info: Activating the Pulverizer.

A view of The Pulverizer from just west of Wilkerson Pass.

The first three summits are in San Isabel National Forest and The Pulverizer is in Pike National Forest, so we also submitted our logs as Parks On The Air activations.

We had a great time doing these summits. I enjoyed hearing the other stations having a good time making VHF contacts. It warms my heart when someone makes a VHF contact that they did not think was possible. That is exactly the point…you never know where the signal will go so give it a try and prepare to be surprised!

73 Bob K0NR

The post Four Days of SOTA Fun appeared first on The KØNR Radio Site.

Colorado 14er Event on Ham Nation

The Ham Nation folks invited me on to talk about the Colorado 14er Event last night. Thanks for the invite! This turned out to be a concise look at the 14er event with lots of great photos of past operations.

Here’s the video (my segment was 20 minutes long):

We have lots of information on the event at

73 Bob K0NR

The post Colorado 14er Event on Ham Nation appeared first on The KØNR Radio Site.

2023 Colorado 14er Event (Summits On The Air)

Amateur Radio Fun in the Colorado Mountains
August 4 through 7, 2023

www.ham14er.orgAmateur Radio operators from around Colorado will be climbing Colorado Summits On The Air (SOTA) peaks and communicating with other radio amateurs across the state and around the world. Join in on the fun during the annual event by activating a summit or contacting (chasing) the mountaintop stations.This event is normally held the first full weekend in August. Again this year, we will add two bonus days to the Colorado 14er Event. The main two days remain Saturday and Sunday (Aug 5 & 6), while the bonus days are Friday Aug 4 and Monday Aug 7th, for those SOTA enthusiasts that need more than two days of SOTA fun! Be aware that many mountaintop activators will hit the trail early with the goal of being off the summits by (1800 UTC) noon due to lightning safety concerns.

The 14er event includes Summits On the Air (SOTA) peaks, which provide over 1700 summits to activate. (See the W0C SOTA web page or browse the SOTA Atlas.) The Colorado 14er Event was started in 1991, about 19 years before the SOTA program was set up in Colorado. As SOTA grew in popularity, this event expanded from just the 14,000-foot mountains (14ers) to include all of the SOTA summits in the state. We still call it the Colorado 14er Event because, well, that’s where it all started and the 14ers are the iconic summits in the state.

Important: The recommended 2m FM frequencies have been changed to 146.58, 146.55, and 146.49 MHz, to align with the use of the North America Adventure Frequency for SOTA (146.58). The National Simplex Calling Frequency (146.52) may be used as appropriate. There will be plenty of action on the other ham bands, for more information see the operating frequencies page.

Colorado 14er Event webpage  – Everything to Know About The Colorado 14er Event
Beginner Guide – For the first-time activator
Ham14er  – Discussion Group for the event
Colorado SOTA – Colorado SOTA discussion group

Colorado 14er Event Task Force
[email protected]

The post 2023 Colorado 14er Event (Summits On The Air) appeared first on The KØNR Radio Site.

June QST: SOTA, POTA and VHF Contest

My article that describes last year’s SOTA/POTA/VHF contest activation from Pikes Peak appears in the June issue of QST magazine. This VHF/UHF activation occurred on the Saturday of the ARRL June VHF Contest and qualified for Summits On The Air (W0C/FR-004 Pikes Peak) and Parks On The Air (K-4404 Pike National Forest). The article highlights the use of the North America Adventure Frequency of 146.58 MHz.

I made 80 radio contacts that day, on the 6m, 2m, 1.25m, 70cm, and 23cm bands. Not a great score for the VHF contest but quite nice for a VHF SOTA and POTA activation. My primary piece of equipment was the ICOM IC-705, which enabled all modes on the main VHF/UHF frequencies.

If you are an ARRL member, look for the article on Page 58 of the print edition of June QST or the online version. Not an ARRL member? Darn, you should fix that if you want to read articles published in QST.

If you are an ARRL member, please look at the article and consider voting for it in the QST Cover Plaque Award. Thanks!

73 Bob K0NR

The post June QST: SOTA, POTA and VHF Contest appeared first on The KØNR Radio Site.

Most Active SOTA Summits in Colorado

Previously, I wrote that Mount Herman (W0C/FR-063) is the most radio-active summit in Colorado. Here is a fresh look at the data, with seven Colorado SOTA summits that have at least 100 activations. The W0C page on is quite handy for viewing this information. Mount Herman still leads the pack by a wide margin, with many activations by Steve/WG0AT.

A view of Pikes Peak from Mt Herman.

Pikes Peak is still in second place but Genesee Mountain is essentially tied with it. Pikes Peak is a 14er but has a road to the top and most of those activations are probably aided by a vehicle. Genesee is a much lower, easy-to-access summit just west of Denver. Chief Mountain has edged out Mt Evans for fourth place.

The summit formerly known as Squaw Mountain has been renamed Mestaa’ehehe Mountain (W0C/PR-082). There is a gated road to the top so most activators hike that road.

Thorodin Mountain made the list as it seems to be gaining in popularity, with Carey/KX0R as a frequent activator.

Most of these summits are in the Front Range section of W0C, close to the major cities which aids their popularity. The other two are listed in the Park Range and the Sawatch Range, but they are also not far from the large urban areas.

First in North America

In North America, Mount Herman is second to Mount Davidson (W6/NC-423) which currently has 522 activations, many of them by Ellliot/K6EL. Davidson is a small summit in the middle of San Francisco, so it has easy access for a large population. This video by W6DFM provides a tour of that summit.

So that’s your update on SOTA activations in Colorado.

73 Bob K0NR

The post Most Active SOTA Summits in Colorado appeared first on The KØNR Radio Site.

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