SOTA Activation Report: W4G/NG-010, Blue Mountain

Trip of 2013.01.05

  • Succeeded: Yes
  • First-activation: Yes

See my trip planning guide at: SOTA Guide: W4G/NG-010, Blue Mountain


A beautiful winter day in Georgia, an easy drive, and a well-maintained, easy to follow trail. It seemed like maybe propagation was not as good as it has been recently and, sure enough, when I returned him and checked online propagation predictions, they were calling it ‘fair’ (down from recent ‘good’) on 20 meters.

My eldest son came along on this trip. (He’s not a ham.) He is always a delight to have as a hiking companion and a SOTA buddy. He copies call signs and signal reports better than me! I was also joined by a new trail companion. I call him K4KPK/P. He’s a little confused about how he came to be on top of Mt. KX3.

Here’s K4KPK/P in “antenna support configuration.”

A surprising number of hikers were out for a Georgia winter day. Four on our side of the highway, and a gaggle of Boy Scouts headed the other direction.

My QSOs were at 12 watts. I used 12 NiMh AA cells, which I had drained down to 15.2 volts prior to the trip. Upon my return home, the mailman brought my dummy AA cell, so next time I’ll go with 11 fully-charged cells and a dummy, so I won’t have to pre-drain.

On the night before the trip, there were two other activators alerted for about the same time, so I moved my alert up by 15 minutes, to avoid competing for chasers. We hung around our summit for a little while after activation, in hopes that one of them would get spotted and we could S2S. We got too cold before anyone went on the air. (I think S2S is going to be a warm weather sport for me.)

In a first (for me), we encountered three people on the trail who knew at least a little about SOTA. One solo hiker is a ham with an Elecraft CW rig on order for SOTA. A pair of hikers said something to the effect of, “Oh. We talked to someone on a mountain in Pennsylvania who was doing what you’re doing. There was a terrible storm. He seemed very excited to be there.”


  • 6 QSO on 40 meters and 8 on 20 meters. 7.19265-ssb and 14.3448-ssb.
    • 40 meters
      • N4EX
      • W4ZV
      • K4PIC
      • N0ZH
      • WA2USA
      • K0LAF
    • 20 meters
      • N7UN
      • NS7P
      • N0ZH
      • W0MNA
      • KQ2RP
      • AA4AI
      • VA6FUN
      • KI0G

Thank you chasers! I am grateful that you were then when I called CQ.


  • A fine site for all manner of antennas. The brush is not too dense under the trees and there are trees of many sizes.
  • I was able to successfully slingshot a heavy monofilament line into a tree; I used it to hoist up my 33 ft wire.
  • There’s also space to guy out a mast, if that’s your preference.
  • I used my EARCHI 20m matchbox with an EFHW. I had no trouble launching my antenna using fishing line on a spool, a 1 ounce egg sinker, and a slingshot. (Much better luck than last weekend.) I ended up stringing an inverted L.