Summit Activated - W4G/NG-013, Round Top, Georgia

Chilly (for Georgia) activation with some weather surprises. This would be a ‘piece of cake’ activation in the fall, or in a dry patch of winter weather.

It was 26 degrees when I left the car and 33 when I returned. As I hiked up from the trailhead, things turned from no snow, to a light dusting, to about 4 inches. The big surprise was that a recent ice storm left trees and underbrush coated with a thick layer of ice.

Hiking the AT was easy. (I am grateful to the volunteers who maintain it.) I expected I’d find a side trail to the summit from the high point of the AT. No such luck. The final quarter mile was a bushwhack through ice encrusted underbrush and a thicket of young trees in the understory.

My QSOs were at 5 watts. I used 8 lithium AA cells, but since I used them on another peak earlier in the day, voltage had dropped too low for 10 watts.

I couldn’t have made it to the summit without my GPS. I couldn’t have made it back to the trail without my GPS. I don’t like having my life depend upon electronica. (In my defense, my iPhone also has a GPS, so I did have a Plan B.) Gotta carry a sturdy compass on future trips.

As the temperature rose and the sun hit the trees, they started dropping ice and snow. I was worried I’d lose my rig or my log to a direct hit, so as soon as chasers stopped responding, I got off the summit. (I like to continue calling for a few minutes. Often there is a second wave of chasers, who just need a few more minutes to get the rig fired up after a spot.)

Plus, it was getting late, and I wanted to make it back to paved roads before dark. On the way in, I dodged a beer bottle on Wildcat Road and I wanted to stop and collect it on the way back – not run over it!

Summit - I operated from the absolute apex for this one.

I did this summit immediately after activating Double Spring Knob, so my hike for this one begins at Addis Gap. (I did not hike back to my car on the road.)


  • 6 QSO at 5 watts on 40 meters and 8 on 20 meters. 7.1908-ssb and 14.3221-ssb. It was tough to find a free frequency.
    • 40 meters
      • KC3RT
      • WA2USA
      • N0TU
      • W4ZV
      • W6UB
      • K4QS
    • 20 meters
      • VA6FUN
      • N1EU
      • W0MNA
      • AC0A
      • VE2JCW
      • NS7P
      • W7CNL
      • WT5RZ

Thank you chasers! Given the slog through the ice, I am exceptionally grateful that you were there when I called CQ.


  • 2:57 PM Eastern on 30 December, 2012


  • Elecraft KX3.


  • 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 fishing line into a tree; I used that to hoist up my 33 ft wire.
  • There’s also space to guy out a mast, if that’s your preference.
  • EARCHI 20m matchbox with an EFHW. Hung vertically (mostly).

Cell Phone Coverage

  • Good cell coverage. SMS self-spot went out promptly.
  • I gotta say that I’m grateful for the work that went into making spotting and self-spotting work. SOTA must have been MUCH more difficult in the old days.

Getting There - Driving

  • CAREFUL: Google Maps routed the penultimate bits WRONG!
  • See directions at my Double Spring Knob activation. This summit has the same trailhead as that one.

Getting There - Hiking

  • There’s a gate on Wildcat Road, about a mile from the AT. You may find references to a another gate. I found its remains, about half way between the 1-mile gate and Addis Gap.
  • Walk past the gate and up the road.
  • When you come to a T, take the trail to your left. It is marked with a forest service iron post with a diamond on it.
  • When you come to Addis Gap, it is well marked. It is also clearly a gap, with the dirt road you enter on cresting and continuing forward and down. The AT extends to your left and your right. You turn left for this summit.
  • The AT is easy to follow.
  • When you’re near the summit, the trail curves around the end of the ridge. It is about 45 minutes from Addis Gap, hiking at a moderate pace. Allow 1:10 to hike from your car to this point.
  • Bushwhack from the trail to the summit. This was easier than my bushwhack on Double Spring Knob in the morning. This one took me 25 minutes in the snow and ice. Probably much easier with better conditions.

GPS Waypoints

  • Trailhead at the gate - 34.86298, -83.64907
  • Trail/road junction. Turn LEFT - 34.86698, -83.65280
  • Addis Gap and the Appalachian Trail. Turn LEFT (south) - 34.86317, -83.65616
  • Leave the AT. Begin bushwhack - 34.84812, -83.66028
    • Note: I returned to the AT at 34.84834, -83.66022. This would be an OK point to depart the AT.
  • Summit - On the ground, the summit looked to be 34.84812, -83.66182. Official summit is at 34.848202, -83.661697, but that’s not what it looks like on the ground.

GPX trace for the hike

Time Log

  • (See my Double Spring Knob trip report, for times before Addis Gap.)
  • 1:15 Left Addis Gap
  • 2:00 - Left AT
  • 2:15 - at summit
  • 2:55 - ready to transmit
  • 2:55 - on the air
  • 3:15 - off the air
  • 3:30 - packed
  • 3:40 - back on the AT. Hooray for trails!
  • 4:10 - Addis Gap. (Note: I jogged much of the way. Allow longer time for walking!)
  • 4:30 - Car
  • 7:00 - Atlanta. (I took a slightly different route going home than coming. Reversing the drive listed at my Double Spring trip report would have been faster.