Vineyard Mountain W4G/HC-043 Activation Report

January 18, 2014 — Leave a comment

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.

Summit Activated

Vineyard Mountain W4G/HC-043 [SOTAwatch] [SOTAmap]

Getting There – Driving

Interstate 75 North out of Atlanta.
Exit Red Top Mountain Road and turn Right (East).
Turn Left on Somerset Lane.
Keep Right all the way to the top.

The Village at Waterside is a gated neighborhood with road access to the top of this mountain.  The gate was open, so I decided to take the easy route.  You can drive all the way to the top of this mountain, where there is a large cul-de-sac, from which a gravel road to the radio tower and a paved road to a water tower continue.  The cul-de-sac is too close to the summit in vertical height to provide a legal activation of this mountain, so you will need to hike down partially and back up or park lower along the street.

Getting There – Hiking

I chose to park just off the road below the house under construction at the top approximately 150 vertical feet below the summit.  Contractors were currently constructing a house near the top, which is almost complete, but they didn’t pay me any attention.  I walked up the paved street and followed the gravel road to the base of the antenna tower where I set up my station near a stump.

Radio

Elecraft KX3, operating at 5 watts, powered by 8 Eneloop XX AA batteries.

Antennas

NorCal Doublet made from 22ga speaker wire, hung as high and straight as I could manually toss it in the trees.

Operation

I had steady 3G service (Verizon) here so I self-spotted via the SOTA Goat app.  The idea was that I would start on 40m and work my way down to 20m, 17m, 15m, 12m & 10m.  10m was all noise and I didn’t hang out there long enough to make any contacts. As with previous SOTA summits, I picked up the majority of my contacts on 20m.  After scoring a few QSOs on 15m, I was run off by a QRO station operating on the same frequency.  I believe the guy knew I was there as there were other stations actively calling me — but he kept on calling CQ; The jerk.  I like to operate some of the less popular bands simply because I never know what I’ll find (like that, you could say).  I heard EA2LU (Spain) call me on 12m right at the noise level and he copied my callsign but the QSO fell apart before we could exchange signal reports.  That was a real bummer.

Contacts

It was great to hear from many of the regulars that I’d had QSOs with on previous SOTA activations.  I know I can always count on these guys (and gals!) to make the trip worth-while, even if I drive most of the way up. 🙂  Thanks for always making it worth the effort, even in less-than-idea weather!

Time Call Band Mode Notes
18:29z W4JKC 7MHz SSB
18:31z KI4SVM 7MHz SSB
18:39z N1EU 14MHz SSB
18:40z KC3RT 14MHz SSB
18:40z W5ODS 14MHz SSB
18:41z KG3W 14MHz SSB
18:42z KB1RJC 14MHz SSB
18:43z KB1RJD 14MHz SSB
18:43z VA2SG 14MHz SSB
18:45z W0MNA 14MHz SSB
18:54z N6KZ 18MHz SSB
19:04z VE2JCW 21MHz SSB
19:04z KA5PVB 21MHz SSB
19:07z NS7P 21MHz SSB
19:13z W7RV 24MHz SSB
19:17z K4ROZ 24MHz SSB

Photos

Operating Station:
W4G/HC-036
Coming down the gravel road toward the cul-de-sac:W4G/HC-043 cul-de-sac

Summary

IT WAS COLD.  I believe the high 30s are the lower bounds of my operating limits as I kept the coat on and wore gloves for the duration of my visit.  Luckily I was on the calm side of the mountain so I didn’t receive too much of a breeze.  The red blaze trail (if you were actually hiking up this mountain) ran right past where I had set up but I didn’t see any other hikers until after I had just about packed my bags.

de KK4LOV

Aaron Melton

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