SOTA Activation Report: W4G/HC-003, Bald Mountain

Trip of 2013.07.14

  • Succeeded: Yes
  • First-activation: No
  • Propagation forecast on departure: 40 fair, 30 good, 20 good, 17 fair. Noise level: not captured.
  • Propagation forecast on return: 40-17 fair. Noise level: S3-S4.
  • Multiple people commented that the bands were very noisy.

See my trip planning guide at: SOTA Guide: W4G/HC-003, Bald Mountain


Weather forecast for the day was 50% chance of thundershowers. It didn’t rain on this summit, but it had rained earlier and the vegetation was very wet. The trail was overgrown with foliage, so I was soaked from the waist down when I reached the summit.

It is a short hike, at 1/2 mile from parking at FS64/Conasauga Lake Rd to the summit. While it is definitely a climb, overall I rank it among the easiest hikes for Georgia 10-pointers. Given the undergrowth, this would be a nice summit for early spring or late fall. (Just watch out for the January-February closing of the road.)

On the way up, I chatted briefly with N4C, a special event station honoring the Battle of Chattanooga, but I was unable to raise him or anyone else on 2 meters from the summit.

I used a Telco Norcal Doublet at 15’ AGL. (It was made from flat, 4-conductor phone cable, but otherwise it was identical to the ‘official’ Norcal Doublet.) Compared with my typical end-fed, it was a bother to set up, since I had to fly the center and both ends. Since it was low to the ground, my distant chasers gave me weak signal reports, but I was able to work my local contacts on 20m. All-in-all, I think an untuned doublet works surprisingly well; it is such a bother to set up, I don’t know whether I’ll use it often. OTOH, if the alternative is flying one antenna for 20m and another for 40m, it isn’t so bad.

Multiple chasers complained that there was lots of noise on the bands today. I am grateful that they put up with the noise and my weak signal. Thank you chasers!