Archives For SOTA

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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Read Setting Up My Ham Shack for a bit of background, in case you missed it.

Twice I’ve complained (in some capacity) about CQRLOG on this blog which, to be honest, isn’t fair to this application (or it’s authors).  My complaints (if you want to call them that) around CQRLOG had to do with its limitations.  But getting back to that aforementioned honesty — it isn’t CQRLOG’s fault.  I was simply trying to use the application on platforms or in situations for which it was not designed.

As far as Linux is concerned, it’s actually quite a nice and capable application.  So in defense of CQRLOG (as if it needed it), here are the features which I most enjoy:

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March AARL DX Contest

March 4, 2014 — 2 Comments

This past weekend the ARRL sponsored a DX Contest which I participated in as time allowed.  I racked up 78 QSOs for 62 new DXCCs.  I was hoping that would be enough to push me over the top for 100 DXCCs, but I fell short by 6 contacts.  I’m sure I’ll fill in the blanks before the next big HF contest…

All contacts were made QRP via my KX3 on 5 watts or less.  I backed down the power on several stations to qualify for more than a dozen 1,000 miles-per-watt awards.  (I would have displayed the actual MPWs and country names in the table below but I couldn’t figure out how to get my logging program to export all those details.)  Anyway, here are the QSOs I made this past weekend:

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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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