Thursday, April 17, 2014


It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.


 Life has been very exciting the last few weeks.  With my K9 Academy starting in May, and the new house closing soon I decided to hit a few summits before my time disappeared for the next two months.  I had planned on activating Mount Mingus, but unfortunately when I arrived at the trail head I discovered 50 to 100ft visibility, freezing fog, and very high winds.  Mount Mingus is a tough bushwhack, and I did not wish to tempt fate.  Remember, respect Murphy's Law.

I decided to head a few miles down the road to activate Clingmans Dome.  Clingmans Dome is an easy paved trail with a short half mile or so hike to the summit.  Even laden with frozen fog the area is beautiful.  There has been some recent conversations in reference to Handicap Accessibility.  Clingmans Dome is a steep paved path with rest benches every 10th of a mile.  I believe this summit is accessible by anyone willing to take their time. 

 And a note to those that wish to activate, but may not be physically capable of carrying everything.  If you have concerns PLEASE!!! contact me.  I am very willing to pack your radio and gear up the mountain.  It would be my pleasure!  I can assist in picking summits that we can activate together.  Oh and it helps that I am a trained first responder, lol.  Sorry bad joke there....

Clingmans Dome was challenging and fun.  Thaks for all the chasers that day.

(Picture taken after the weather cleared on the way home)

The next day I headed down to Black Balsam Knob.  Black Balsam Knob, also known as Black Balsam Bald, is in the Pisgah National Forest southwest of Asheville, North Carolina, near milepost 420 on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  It is the second highest mountain in the Great Balsam Mountains. The Great Balsams are within the Blue Ridge Mountains, which are part of the Appalachian Mountains. It is the 23rd highest of the 40 mountains in North Carolina over 6000 feet.

To reach the summit follow the Art Loeb trail.  This part of the trail is not extreme in length, but is a bit rocky.  Those with handicaps may find this trail difficult to impossible.  The hike to the summit for me was much like the day before, foggy windy and cold. 

The high winds and open bald summit made antenna setup tricky.  I setup within the activation zone, but in a way so as to block some of the wind.  Again I made many contacts to include two DX Summit to Summits!!!! Thanks EA2BDS and 2E0YYY!!!

I find the rough weather and tough summits to be very rewarding.  They test an activators resolve, and I feel a great sense of accomplishment.  Please feel free to contact me at any time with questions about my activations.  And remember I am willing to help anyone who needs help activating.

Make sure to check out the video of the activation! 

I added a small piece of kit to my summit equipment.  This small little speaker has some power and sounds pretty damn good.  And for 20 bucks its a good buy.
 You can hear the audio in my video of the activation.

So 73's everyone!

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