SOTA Activation Report: W4G/NG-017, Buckeye Knob

Trip of 2013.11.24

  • Succeeded: Yes
  • First-activation: No
  • Propagation forecast on departure: 40m=fair, 20m=good, 17m=good, S/N=0-1, A=8, K=0, Geomag=inactive
  • Propagation forecast on return: 40m=fair, 20m=good, 17m=good, S/N=0-1, A=2, K=0, Geomag=inactive

See my trip planning guide at: SOTA Guide: W4G/NG-017, Buckeye Knob


I had a sidekick today! KG4ZGW came along on todays activations to observe. (I invited him to operate, but he’s strictly interested in CW, and we didn’t bring a key.) He’s the first ham to come along on one of my activations. Shucks. Given that I operate exclusively SOTA, he’s the first ham to observe me operate anywhere. It was interesting to hear how my operation appears from the outside.

It was a cold activation on W4G/NG-017 (Buckeye Knob) this morning — about 15-20 degrees (Fahrenheit) and about 15-20 MPH wind. For some, those might be balmy winter conditions, but here in Georgia, we consider that cold. My fingers were numb, my face was numb, and my zip ties were brittle enough to break. I was pretty close to aborting the trip, and we didn’t hang around long on the summit.

In the end, I’m glad we persisted. I worked DJ5AV. I always enjoy working someone overseas on my 12 watts, and since my ancestors came from Germany, I particularly enjoy logging another German contact. (I’ve worked DJ5AV once before.)

Signals seemed a little weak this morning, and the number of chasers was down from recent weeks. I was thinking that maybe propagation was off, but it can’t have been too bad or my signal wouldn’t have made it across the pond. It’s possible I simply missed some chasers because I was only on the air for a total of 10 minutes. We were in a hurry to get off the mountain. (Did I mention it was cold?)

By the time we were packed, I was shivering and it felt good to generate some heat from walking, and it was really nice to turn up the heater back at the truck.

The sky was 100% clear and a beautiful winter blue.

I do not recommend attempting to drive to the trailhead for this summit in a passenger car. From the Coosa Bald side, it is too bumpy/rocky and has a couple of challenging gullies. From the Akin Mountain side, there were some big mud bogs which could swallow a compact car.

Thank you chasers!