Getting back on HF with SOTA

I checked my log today and more than a month has elapsed since I logged an HF contact. Not good.. although in the meantime I’ve been learning CW, building kits, doing public service, and calling local nets, so I’ve got that going for me.

This morning on Reddit I noticed Jeff, NT1K, was planning a Summits on the Air activation of Mt. Grace in his home state of Massachusetts around 7:45 p.m. Eastern. I set a reminder on my phone and made sure my evening schedule was clear so I could give it a shot. I’ve tried to listen in on previous SOTA activations from NT1K and didn’t have much luck, but I had a good feeling about tonight’s activation as I turned the 847 on just as the activation began. From Twitter and Sotawatch I knew he was on 20 meters, so I tuned over and picked him up right off the bat. There was a ton of QRM, including a loud carrier that my rig easily notched out.

I tossed my call out and Jeff copied me 100% on the first shot. We had a brief exchange, although I think I managed to double over him for the final. He was a solid 57 and he logged me at 59. Pretty damned impressive when you consider he was running a KX3 at 5-10 watts from a mountaintop some 700+ miles away.

The action moved down to 40 meters, but his signal was barely louder than the background noise, around S3 at my location. Since his KX3 has the best receiver in the game and he’s a stellar op, I figured he might get a copy on me, and indeed he did. I got a 55 report, and sent him 53.

While all this was happening, some of us on Twitter were spotting and making note of our contacts. Mac, KF4LMT, was in Savannah and gave me a shout out for posting Jeff’s spot on 20 meters. Mac and I both heard each other’s calls, and we exchanged some signal reports of our own on Twitter. Mac’s report left me grinning:

I don’t know why I don’t use Twitter more. Every time I connect with other hams via Twitter it makes me realize how powerful of a tool it can be for this community.

I’m definitely itching to get on a mountain and try my hand at an activation.

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