Question about SOTA activation

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by N2SUB, Sep 10, 2019.

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  1. N2SUB

    N2SUB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    At work, we recently hired a couple of young guys who have their technicians license. I have learned a tremendous amount from them. They like to hike, and have expressed an interest in activating a local mountain (US-019). I've got a plethora of portable equipment that we can use including a full buddipole setup, an FT-818/K2 for QRP, outpost tripod with many hamsticks, a SuperAntenna, map loop antenna, and of course all the wire you can imagine. I've even got a 2m SSB/CW rig to fire up. I have 2 questions....

    What do you normally use for power? Is there a way to run 100 watts without killing yourself lugging a battery up the mountain? What about multiple rigs, like 2m and HF.

    How do you find a good spot. On Paris Mountain, there are a ton of hiking trails to the summit, but there are no picnic areas or overlooks up top. We would basically be setting up on the side of a trail. Awkward.

    Any newbie tips would be helpful. BTW, Paris Mountain is also a state park, so technically we could activate POTA as well. Is this ever done?
  2. KS2G

    KS2G Subscriber QRZ Page

    N2SUB likes this.
  3. W3WN

    W3WN Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    No reason at all you can’t do SOTA and POTA at the same time.

    But before you go on the air, make sure you pass muster with the SOTA folks. I seem to recall some squabbling a year or so ago, because a group went QRV as a SOTA activation without the official blessing. (I say this not to be critical, just to help you and your friend avoid heartburn)

    Good luck, great job, and looking forward to hearing you and your friends when the time comes!
    K4AGO and N2SUB like this.
  4. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    SOTA can lead to POTA.

    I've never been to Paris Mtn, SC so looked it up. Seems that while it's about 2000 asl, it hasn't any real "prominence" at all (meaning it's not significantly higher than stuff around it) so it's probably fine for HF but may not be so fine for VHF.

    Here in So. Cal., we have guys doing SOTA activations every day and some of the lower peaks are drive-up, but everything above 10,000 feet (and even most above 8,000 feet) is not and they all require packing in whatever you'll use, so they're QRP, battery-powered operations. Some do bring small solar panel setups to keep the batteries charged and those can be pretty lightweight and "foldable" to make them fit in or on a backpack.
    N2SUB likes this.
  5. N2SUB

    N2SUB Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Perhaps no real prominence to the West, but it's wide open NE to SW. All of the commercial broadcast antennas are location on Paris Mountain. It's a good starting point.

  6. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Isn't there a good clearance around where the BC towers are, then?

    That's probably where I'd go.:)

    Actually, re the prominence, this is how mountains are rated, in addition to elevation, hiking trail lengths, etc. If you look up Paris Mountain, it shows prominence as "0."

    However, if it's a good spot for VHF-UHF TV, it should be good for amateur radio also, perhaps only over 180 degrees but better than nothing.
  7. W2JKT

    W2JKT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hey if you guys do a mountain, count me in! I've been trying to put together ham radio hikes with the clemson club forever and they just don't have the time or interest.

    We just inherited a ton of qrp / remote stuff so I'm definitely eager to try it out.

    The thing to remember about hiking is that weight gets heavier the longer you carry it.
  8. VK4HAT

    VK4HAT Ham Member QRZ Page

    5 to 10w is all i ever run doing sota or parks. You just do not need more.
    N2SUB likes this.
  9. KC9ONY

    KC9ONY Ham Member QRZ Page

    Get the young guys to carry the load! ;)
    N2SUB likes this.
  10. G8ADD

    G8ADD Ham Member QRZ Page

    Paris Mountain, W4C/US-019 is valid for SOTA, its topographic prominence was verified when the Carolinas Association was set up. It has had three SOTA activations, as follows:
    • 16 Aug 2018 by K1DJB
    • 17 Jun 2017 by N3SZ
    • 03 Aug 2013 by KI4SVM
    If you go to the summit information page in the SOTA database there is this activation report:

    "Easy access via Altamont Road (either end) to Tower Road. If you continue to the left when you reach the top, you will come to a small overlook. The summit is home to many communication towers and is very, very noisy. I had S7-S9 noise on 40, but managed to make more contacts on this band than 20. 17 meters was impossible with a cyclical noise that even the amazing noise blanker in the KX3 couldn\'t overcome."

    Given that report I would be tempted to try 2 metres first, but it might be possible to find somewhere in the Activation Zone where noise is less of a problem.

    Good luck!

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