K0SSK

Mt. Shasta SOTA activation 2020/07/18

Mt. Shasta SOTA activation 2020/07/18

If you read my previous blog posts you know I spent some time in Lassen Volcanic national park trying to activate Brokeoff mountain (W6/CN-003) and successfully activated Lassen peak (W6/CN-002). So what’s next? Well, the elefant in the room is, you guessed it, W6/CN-001 also known as Mount Shasta.

This mountain is a very special place for me. It comes with glaciers, thin air and scorching sun. It has everything you’d expect from a “real” mountain and then some. I tried to climb it in 2017 first time and had to turn back from the bottom of Misery Hill.

This experience made a great impact on me. It changed the way I see nature and my own place in it.

Three days in Lassen - Part 2, Lassen Peak on Independence day 2020

Three days in Lassen - Part 2, Lassen Peak on Independence day 2020

Planned the hike and SOTA activation of Lassen Peak (W6/CN-002) for the second day in Lassen Volcanic.

The weather was fair and spirits were high. I slept well and was ready for the highest summit in the park.

Lassen volcanic is an extremely diverse place in the geological sense. All four types of volcanoes are represented: Cinder Cone is quite unsurprisingly a Cinder Cone volcano, Prospect Peak is a Shield volcano, Brokeoff mountain is what’s left of a very large Composite volcano and, finally, our star today - Lassen Peak is a Plug Dome.

Three days in Lassen - Part 1, Brokeoff mountain 2020/07/03

Three days in Lassen - Part 1, Brokeoff mountain 2020/07/03

Lassen volcanic is one of my favorite US national parks. Five hour drive from San Francisco in north-easterly direction is not something lot of out of state tourists do. Yosemite and Sequoia national parks usually receive more traffic and are a bit too crowded during the peak season to my taste. The crowds are so significant that during certain stages of 2020 Coronavirus epidemic Yosemite park was closed for all but winners of Half Dome / overnight permits to avoid virus spread.

My initial plan for Independence day weekend was indeed to try winning a day use Half Dome permit. I’ve been there couple of years ago and want to repeat the feat, with a radio rig in my backpack this time. I suspect I wasn’t the only person who had a similar plan though and the lottery didn’t work out for me.

Black Mountain SOTA activation 2020/06/27 (Field Day)

Black Mountain SOTA activation 2020/06/27 (Field Day)

Continuing with my SOTA exploits. This time my target was W6/NC-150, Black Mountain located in Rancho San Antonio county park near Cupertino, CA. The summit is accessible via 11.2 mile out and back PG&E trail. Elevation gain is 3146 feet. Beware of poison oak, ticks, rattlesnakes, mountain lions and feral software engineers wandering into the park from Silicon Valley.

I have already tried to activate Black Mountain few months ago but was not able to copy call signs fast enough. Was fairly optimistic about the activation this time as I expected quite a few folks to participate in the Field Day contest. Also I can copy a tad better now.

First SOTA activation: Mt. Saint Helena 2020/06/20

First SOTA activation: Mt. Saint Helena 2020/06/20

Welcome back folks. One thing I never mentioned before is my master’s degree in Radioengineering. Weirdly enough despite being fascinated with wireless communications from the very early age I didn’t get into amateur radio until recently. Just always thought passing exams is not quite worth it. Plus while learning to copy Morse code had been always on the list of things to do before pegging out I just ‘never had time for it’.

About a year ago, I was looking for a new walkie-talkie to take on hiking trips so our group had some means of communicating in no cell phone reception areas. While researching available options I realized it makes sense to get licensed to get access to amateur radio frequencies.