Trip of 2013.11.03

  • Succeeded: Yes
  • First-activation: Yes

See my trip planning guide at: SOTA Guide: W4G/HC-008, Rocky Mountain

Commentary: An excellent day for SOTA: Beautiful fall weather, beautiful fall colors, really good propagation, and a new antenna.

First hill was W4G/HC-008, Rocky Mountain.  (One of five SOTA summits in Georgia named “Rocky Mountain.”)  The trailhead is just across the street from W4G/HC-002, which is one of my favorite Georgia summits.  

There are two sensible trailheads on Rock Creek Road for this summit – Benton MacKaye trail and Stanley Gap.  On the map, the Stanley Gap trail is a little shorter, but it looks like it runs straight up the side of the mountain.  I was in a hurry, so I went with the shorter trail, expecting a tough climb, but it turned out to be a piece of cake. 

Also, I was expecting to have to bushwhack from the trail to the summit.  I turns out that on the north side of the summit there’s a clear trail running up the ridge line.  Consequently, I reached the summit waaay early and activated early.  (Sorry about that, for those in Pacific Time.)

Then I headed over to Springer Mountain.  There were about 20 cars at the trailhead, and there was a real party going on at the high point.

My new antenna is a 36’ carbon fiber mast with a 20m EFHW cut for minimum SWR.  (For 40 meters I remove the matchbox, and add a single 21’ radial.)  I was concerned that the conductivity of the carbon fiber would mess things up.  I know that others use CF masts, but most activators appear to use a configuration where little of the antenna wire is in direct contact with the mast.  I ran my wire straight up the mast, attached with masking tape.  It worked as well as my slightly shorter fiberglass mast on its best days, was much lighter, and was quicker to set up.  

Thank you chasers!