I decided to head out late Sunday morning for a summit attempt around dinner time. As many of you know I am not the fastest mountaineer in the world. I am more of a tortoise than a hare. I packed a full load up the mountain today in order to sustain me through a cold night on the summit My KX3 and antenna were joined with some new gear I received for Christmas! A new pack, a new sleeping bag, and a really cool little camp stove.
My new pack is an Eberlestock Battleship, and as packs go it is a big one. It performed flawlessly. The Battleship is not a light pack but the suspension and padding system really carry the load extremely well. My new sleeping bag is a Big Agnes Whiskey Park 0 Degree bag. As a "larger" activator I require a bit more space in a sleeping bag. This bag with its ample room fits me well. And with is integrated insulated inflatable sleeping pad i was kept toasty on the cold night. And to cook my food on this trek I used my new little SOLO Stove. This little hobo stove does not require you to carry fuel up with you. Just pop in a little bit of dry wood for fuel, and in no time you have boiling water! Check out a video here. Its pretty damn cool.
I hit the trail with my new gear and started up the trail. The weather was perfect! Spring seemed to have arrived for my activation attempt. Mt Le Conte is an iconic trail in the Smokey Mountains, and I believe I will have to make this an annual activation stop. The trail was in good shape this year, and was in use by many hikers, backpackers, and spring breakers. I met and spoke with people from all aver the US, each sharing in a great hike.
I enjoyed the views all the way to the top. I stopped by the shelter, my home away from home for the evening, and dropped off my sleeping kit to claim my spot. I then continued up to High Top. It is marked by a pile of stones. I had a hell of a time getting my antenna up into a tree but soon I was setup and running. I made contacts on 20 and 40 meters. I had intended on trying 80 meters as well, but I was not having any luck on 80. The bands were very busy with lots of QRM. I hoped to make more contacts with some of my favorite activators, but I was not having a great deal of luck on the bands. I also could not self spot via my cell phone. In the future I plan on learning how to self spot via APRS. I believe this will help everyone chasing me.
Date:09/Mar/2014 Summit:W4T/SU-003 (Mount Le Conte) Call Used:KK4NQQ Points: 10 Bonus: 3
I snuck back into my sleeping bag and enjoyed a warm night of sleep despite the freezing temperatures outside. I wore my thermal underwear to bed and found I had to vent my bag a bit during the night to cool off. I was very thankful for my new gear, it made this trip very comfortable.
I woke up just before sunup and was greeted with a foggy, dewy morning. I busted out my SOLO stove and fired up breakfast. Dehydrated eggs and bacon, mmm mmm good. I packed up and headed back down the mountain. As I descended the fog and clouds parted, and I was treated to a second beautiful day.
Again thank you to all of the chasers out there. I enjoy contacting all the dedicated chasers, as well as those who know nothing about SOTA. I like educating Hams about Summits on the Air, and I hope the more people I introduce to our sport will spawn more chasers, and activators for the future.
So 73's everyone and remember to