Archives For Summits On The Air

This post is part of a short series of posts describing my weekend backpacking the first three sections of the Benton MacKaye Trail on March 21st-23rd:
Backpacking Benton MacKaye Trail Prologue
Backpacking Benton MacKaye Trail Section 1
Backpacking Benton MacKaye Trail Section 2
Backpacking Benton MacKaye Trail Section 3
Backpacking Benton MacKaye Trail Epilogue


This past weekend I backpacked the first three sections of the Benton MacKaye Trail with 7 strangers.  But before I tell you how all that went down, let’s drag this story out a bit…

It’s been a while since I’ve been backpacking.  As best as I can tell, I believe the last time I went was when RakeTheTable, DuckHunter and I went to Shining Rock. That was September 2011.  I didn’t think it had been that long, but apparently it had.  So I wasn’t about to turn down an invitation to go backpacking… unless DuckHunter was planning the trip. 😛

To be honest, I wasn’t familiar with the Benton MacKaye Trail.  When I was first invited, I mistakenly thought the person was talking about the Bartram Trail (of which I am familiar).  It wasn’t until later that I realized I had the wrong trail in mind and started reading about the right trail. (Sorta important when planning, ya know?)

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As a Ham Radio operator and a Linux enthusiast, my options for programs to log QSOs is somewhat limited.  Unlike the Windows environment, there are only a handful of Linux logging programs to chose from.

I had initially taken a liking to CQRLOG for it’s powerful logging features but quickly became disappointed with it’s system requirements.  Namely, it won’t run on a Raspberry Pi — especially when operating side-by-side with FLDIGI.  While I don’t use a Raspberry Pi as the primary computer in my shack, I’d like to have that low-power option should I need it. (Such as, for a Field Day.)

Ultimately, I decided upon Xlog not only for it’s ability to run on systems with less horsepower but also in part because of it’s speed and simplicity of use.  I also liked that it uses a flat file for the log instead of a database on the backend.  (However, check back with me when I have several thousand contacts and we’ll see how that flat file holds up.)

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Not knowing when I might actually get on the trail to complete another activation, I took advantage of another nearby mountain to complete back-to-back activations.  So with the help of K4KPK’s Pine Mountain SOTA Guide, I made Pine Mountain outside Cartersville, GA my second activation of the day.

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My son is nearly 8 months old and I’ve had neither the opportunity, nor a cooperating schedule since he’s been born to either get out in the woods or even contemplate completing a Summits On The Air activation.  Knowing it would be sunny and clear skies, I decided I would brave the cold temperatures (< 40deg F) and constant breeze for an opportunity to play radio at the top of a local mountain.

So with the help of K4KPK’s Vineyard Mountain SOTA Guide, I selected Vineyard Mountain outside Cartersville, GA for my first stop.

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