SOTA Activation Report: W4G/HC-007 - Grassy Mountain

Trip of 2012.11.18

  • Succeeded: Yes
  • First-activation: Yes

See my trip planning guide at: SOTA Guide - W4G/HC-007 - Grassy Mountain


Perfect weather, beautiful site, intermediate-level hike. Lotsa driving on dirt roads.

Competing for bandwidth with the ARRL’s Sweepstakes contest was brutal. I briefly found an unused frequency, but I wasn’t able to hold it for long. After a few minutes, there was a contester who couldn’t hear my 5 watts. One of my contacts announced that the frequency IS in use (thanks!), but I don’t think the contester heard him either.

17 meters was also pretty busy, but made a good alternate.


  • 5 QSO at 5 watts on 17 meters - 18.1385 MHz SSB
  • 5 QSO at 5 watts on 20 meters - 14.285 MHz SSB
  • Thank you chasers!

Radio: Elecraft KX3


  • Easy site for antennas.
  • Throw wires in a tree - use low trees around the clearing.
  • Tie a wire to the tower.
  • There aren’t any really tall trees.
  • Big clear area at the end of the road. Warning: You may need to pound stakes with a rock. The roadbed is dense.

Antennas I used:

  • 20 meters - EFHW on 31’ Jackite with EARCHI 20 meter matchbox. Guyed it in the roadbed.
  • 17 meters - W3EDP - run through the trees. Twin-lead followed by single strand of speaker wire. I used my mast poles to push it into the trees.
  • I’d like to further refine my antenna arsenal for better 17 meter coverage. I used a W3EDP for 17 meters, and this is suboptimal. Maybe next time I’ll carry EFHW wires for 20 and 17, and just drop and re-raise my mast in between.

I erected my Jackite in the clearing, away from my W3EDP. I wanted to experiment with both antennas. For non-experimenting use, I could have simply leaned my Jackite into a tree. (That’s what I did with the mast supporting my W3EDP.)