SOTA Activation Report: W4G/NG-006 - Coosa Bald

Trip of 2012.12.28

  • Succeeded: Yes
  • First-activation: Yes

See my trip planning guide at: SOTA Guide - W4G/NG-006 - Coosa Bald


Cool weather, 2-hour drive from Atlanta, entry-level hike. My 13 year-old son came along for the adventure. He’s not a ham, but he is a real help with setup and he independently copies call signs, to ensure I don’t claim a bad QSO due to transcription error.

It should have been an easy activation, and we were also planning to do some antenna testing using (pre-recorded) CW and RBN. I’ve been carrying a 31’ Jackite mast for 20 meter EFHW antenna. It is great at the site, but awkward to pack. We wanted to compare our suspended vertical EARCHI 6-40 matchbox on 20 and 40 meters with the same antenna supported at mid-point on a carbon fiber mast as an inverted V (end-fed). But…

How to Turn an Easy Trip Into a Challenging One:

I carry two sets of paper - one hase my checklists and notes for taking a trip from conception to the trailhead, and one has my cheatsheets for trailhead through return-to-car. Importantly, my on-the-trail cheatsheet lists the frequencies I’ve alerted. I got my papers swapped, and left my on-the-trail packet in the car. When we discovered my error at the site, I left my son with my gear and ran back down the hill to fetch my cheatsheet, and hurried back up the hill. (My legs will never forgive me.)


  • 23 QSO at 5 watts on 20 and 40 meters. 7.180-ssb,14.342-ssb.
  • I heard from 3 people at W1AW. Since they all identified as W1AW, I’m counting that as a single QSO on SOTAdata but as 3 QSO here.
  • 40 meters was very noisy and crowded, so I quickly moved to 20.

Thank you chasers!

Airtime: 1:00 PM Eastern on 28 December, 2012

  • On-air for 40 meters from 1:00 to 1:10.
  • On-air for 20 meters from 1:10 to 1:30

Radio: Elecraft KX3.


  • EARCHI 6-40 matchbox and wire, hung from tree, w/base and feed point 4.5’ off ground. I used an 8 foot length of RG-213 as feed line, with no counterpoise (beyond the feed line and radio case).
  • As it was a calm day, I hung the antenna vertically from a tree using a slingshot and fishing line to pull up some paracord to hold the high end. The low end was fastened to a tree branch.

When I’m planning to operate solely on 20 meters, I use the 20 meter matchbox. This trip is the first time I’ve planned to use both 20 and 40 meters, so it was my first use of the 6-40 matchbox. It worked well on 20. I can’t tell whether poor conditions or poor antenna impacted 40. I suspect it was conditions.

Good Food:

On the way home, we stopped for really good barbecue at Smoke N Gold Barbecue, at 56 E. Main Street, Dahlonega. It is about a block short of the square. I bribe my son to come with me, by plying him with food. ;-)

Trip of 2013.12.15

  • Succeeded: Yes
  • Propagation forecast on departure: 40m=poor, 20m=poor, 17m=good, S/N=0-1, A=16, K=1, Geomag=very quiet
  • Propagation forecast on return: 40m=poor, 20m=fair, 17m=good, S/N=0-1, A=7, K=1, Geomag=very quiet

I set out today to activate Coosa Bald (W4G/NG-06) and Sheriff Knob (W4G/NG-034). I mostly-activated Coosa.

Getting to the trailhead in my Corolla was an adventure. It rained all yesterday, so there were some muddy ruts - scary enough that I got out and probed the depth to be sure they wouldn’t swallow my wheels. I dug a trench to the side of one, so it would drain before I crossed it.

The WX forecast called for no rain with “skies clearing,” so I was perplexed by the light snow and heavy fog. (The “out there” snow and fog. There’s often a little snow and fog inside my head!)

Signals were generally pretty strong on 20 and 40. I had to move twice on 20. Once was due to someone being ‘clever.’ A big thank you to the chasers who followed me in my vague QSY to “something lower on 20.”

I went to 40 meters, with the plan to come back to 20 after the joker was gone. However, ‘uncomfortably cold’ turned to ‘uncontrollable shivering,’ so it was time to get off the mountain. It is my commitment to work all chasers on every activation, and I left some chasers stranded on 20. I’m sorry about that. I really had to get off the mountain.

I drove to the trailhead for Sheriff, but I started shivering as I was loading up, so I canceled my alert and called it a day.

I don’t understand why I got so chilled. Temp was about 25 and winds were 15-20. I was out with the same gear in similar conditions in late November and it was just ‘uncomfortable.’ Maybe the fog; maybe I’m coming down with a bug. Time to visit REI for warmer togs.