Monday, August 25, 2014

New Summit Activation, 25 August 2014, W7M/GA-114 Summit #7154

Summit Activity

Total Activations: 1

  • KG7KGL on 25 Aug 2014
First Activated by:
  • KG7KGL on 25 Aug 2014

      4 QSOs on these bands:

      Displaying 0825141258a.jpg

      This week Colton and I headed to a summit east of Stevensville, Montana called #7154. All that number means it that the mountain is 7154' ASL. We had our 4 contacts in record time (less than 15 minutes) and I don't know if that was because of my great antenna building, Colton's new braces propagating the signal and or lots of people listening to their radios today. Either way everything went really well. 
      Thanks to all my chasers!



      Sunday, August 24, 2014

      North America SOTA Activity Weekend, Setptember 13-14

      North America SOTA Activity Weekend 2014, September 13ths and 14th, is a casual event involving tiny battery-powered radios on mountain summits.  It i s not a contest but is intended to introduce "Summits on the Air" to newcomers with home stations who try to work summit operators during one or two days. There are no rules regarding power levels, modes or number of bands worked, but please be courteous when more than one station is trying to talk to a SOTA operator on a summit.  The SOTA operators have just climbed mountains as high as 14,000 feet; they use low power; and they don't receive on split frequencies.
      Check to spot who is on which mountain.  Summits are numbered, and you can hover your cursor over the number to see the name and point value for each summit.  Expect the website to show activity near 7.032, 7.185, 10.110, 14.342, 18.095, 18.155, 21.350, 24.905, 24.955, 28.420, 146.52, 446.00, and 61 Khz up from the bottom of 20, 15, and 10 meters CW.  Participants are invited to collect points toward certificates and trophies offered by the twelve-year-old international SOTA group (  As we learned in past years, this is a barrel of fun for both hill climbers and home operators.  See you then. 

      Summit W7M/GA-114

      I don't know much about this summit, besides it is east of Stevensville about ten miles as the crow flies and it is 7,154' ASL.
      The summit is all timbered so I want to see how my new antenna works. The new antenna worked great on Trapper Peak, so now we need to test it below the treeline.
      I plan on being on station starting at 12 noon, Monday, August 25, 2014. My primary frequency is 146.520-fm, and my two alternate frequencies are 146.550-fm and 146.580-fm.

      If you would like to become a chaser or activator please go to:

      After each summit activation I log my contacts, so if you are one of my contacts you already have points as a SOTA chaser.



      Summit #7154

      KG7KGL on W7M/GA-114 - [edit]146.520-fm,146.550-fm,146.580-fm
      Easier hike this week. Go to: http://mtmotorstables.blogspot (Posted by KG7KGL)

      Monday, August 18, 2014


      Radio supplier Baofeng has changed its product distribution name to Pofung for all sales outside China.  In an announcement on its website the company says that it feels it's time to adapt its brand to the global stage.  It notes that the current name Baofeng is a literal translation of it's Chinese character name, and as such it may be difficult for a hobbyist elsewhere in the world to pronounce.  The company say that its new product name of Pofung is easier to pronounce and more friendly to its customers, while maintaining the phonetic symbolism of its brand.  The company's official web domain will remain unchanged.  (Baofeng)

      Source: Amateur Radio Newsline

      Sunday, August 17, 2014

      New Summit Activation, 17 August 2014, W7M/RC-001 Trapper Peak

      Summit Activity

      Total Activations: 1

      • KG7KGL on 17 Aug 2014
      First Activated by:
      • KG7KGL on 17 Aug 2014
      Activated by You on:
        17 Aug 2014

        4 QSOs on these bands:

        Well we did it. Trapper Peak was activated today. Thank you to everyone who answered my CQ. It was a good hike; 4.2 miles one way and 3,800 feet of altitude one way. Colton and I wanted to do this hike for awhile so all we can say now is: "Mission Accomplished."

        Displaying 0817141115a.jpg



        Saturday, August 16, 2014

        Trapper Peak, 10,157 feet

        Sunday, August 17, 2014 my son Colton and I are going to climb Trapper Peak and activate the summit.

        We are hoping to be on the trail at 6:00 am, and get to the top NLT 9:00 am. We are going up early because the weather forecast is calling for thunderstorms in the afternoon.

        So we want to be off the mountain when all that takes place.

        Colton and I have been talking about climbing Trapper for many years and tomorrow is the day.
        Annie is going to stay home and sleep in. It is a dog's life eat and sleep.

        For all you Chasers out there we will be using the following frequenicies:

        I hope that my new antennas work. I am a little concerned about static electricity building up, but I guess we'll see what happens.

        Anyway, I'd better get to bed; 4:00 am will come really fast.



        Wednesday, August 13, 2014

        You can tune a antenna but you can't tune a fish!

        Thanks to Jeff, BJ, Jim and Bob for your advice, help and testing equipment with my new antenna. Here is a picture of my newest creation:
        Displaying 0812142043.jpg
        Bob says it sounded great when we talked last night, so I can't wait to get it on top of St. Mary's Peak tomorrow. It folds up nicely in my day pack so hopefully my antenna issues are over.
        After I got done talking to Bob, I decided to go in the garage and find some items to make into an day pack pocket antenna.
        Here is what I came out of the garage with:
        1) a bamboo stick
        2) some speaker wire
        3) electrical tape
        4) a 6" piece of coax with a So-239
        This is what I built in 5 minutes:
        Displaying 0812142101d.jpg
        I know it doesn't look like much but it made commo. Bob said it sounded good as well. I read somewhere that "all antennas want to work." Well, that may true; I guess we'll find out tomorrow.



        Monday, August 11, 2014

        Change of Plans!!!

        Window Sticker

        As so often the case, plans and dates sometimes change. That being said the 2nd attempt at St. Mary's Peak has been moved back to Thursday, August 14, 2014. I hope to be on the summit by 1000 hrs local time and 1600 hrs UTC.
        I cannot wait to try out the two new antennas I have built. So far the antenna situation has been the weakest link in my expeditions. So Thursday we'll see how my new creations work.
        We'll be on the 2 meter band at the following frequencies:
        146.520 - fm
        146.550 - fm
        147.550 - fm



        Sunday, August 10, 2014

        St. Mary's Peak Video

        2nd Attempt at St. Mary's Peak!

        Annie and I climbed St. Mary's Peak back on July 22, but I only made two contacts. So the plan is to climb St. Mary's Peak this week and try out the new antenna. I am going to take another antenna to test out as well. If everything goes as planned I will make four contacts (hopefully more) and we will set our sights on Trapper Peak the following week. 

        We'll be on the 2 meter band at the following frequencies:
        146.520 - fm
        146.550 - fm
        147.550 - fm

        If you want to become a activator or chaser with the "Summits On The Air" or SOTA here is the website to register:

        Until next time,



        Wednesday, August 6, 2014

        New Summit Activation, 5 August 2014 - W7M/RC-017 Sweeney Peak

        I need to say this up front, this activation Kicked My Butt! I think the dog was pretty tired as well.
        Displaying 0805141354b.jpg

        Tuesday the 5th of August, my trusty companion (Annie) and I ventured up Sweeney Peak. Sweeney Peak's Summits On The Air (SOTA) designation is W7M/RC-017. The peak is just west of Florence, Montana. It is between Lolo Peak to the north...
        Displaying 0805141129.jpg

        and St. Joseph Peak to the south.
        Displaying 0805141126.jpg

        It is a 4.5 mile hike from the trail head and you gain 3,415 feet in elevation to a summit elevation of 9,161 feet. Hikes like this take me awhile to accomplish. On top of that I have never been to this summit so I probably didn't take the best route. Oh well, we made it to the top and then the fun began.
        I was still having problems with my home brew antenna. The basic configuration is a ground plane. If you read any instructions about this antenna it says:

        The vertical radiator (A) should be soldered to the center connector of the SO239.

        Well after hiking a few summits the vertical radiator looked like it was soldered, but on very close (get out the reading glasses) inspection it was not. Oh great! After I dragging my dog and myself all the way up this mountain now I find out that my antenna is broke.
        So out came the knife, the electrical tape, zip ties, a empty box of raisins and I don't know all what else and I went to work trying to build something like an antenna that would work. Now everything I tried was for memory and they look nothing like the real thing, but they did get the job done.
        So first I tried something that resembled a dipole. OK, I got two contacts with that. Then I tried something like a long wire with all the 19.2 inch pieces of copper wire I had. With this monstrosity I got two more contacts. The last thing I tried was what I call the "On Top of Sweeney Peak Bazooka." Kids don't try this one at home, but I was able to make one more contact, just as we heard some thunder off to the north. At 9,000 feet on a bare summit thunder is usually my cue to leave and we did.
        All in all this was a great experience for me as a amateur radio guy, but it really did kick my butt. I need to get rested up because next Tuesday we are heading up Trapper Peak. Wish us luck.


        Monday, August 4, 2014

        How do you charge your radio's battery on a SOTA expedition?

        This Gadget Can Charge Your Phone in the Middle of the Woods Using Only Water and a Flame

        by Elizabeth Kreft

        In the woods with a dead cellphone? You aren’t up the creek without a paddle if you have this nifty gadget.
        BioLite — a company that uses thermoelectric technology to build advanced stoves for outdoor adventures and emergency preparedness scenarios — designed a kettle that can charge your phone with just some water and a flame.
        The KettleCharge just needs water and a flame to provide electricity. (Image source: BioLite)
        The kettle has a thermoelectric generator built into its base and uses a difference in temperature to produce electricity: The water acts as the cool side of the equation and the flame is the hot. As the water begins to boil, electricity is produced and sent to the power handle, providing 10 watts of usable power.
        That’s enough electricity to charge a phone, or even a tablet, as fast as a wall outlet could.
        The KettleCharge team says they are eager to provide solutions that not only give users the ability to stay connected while camping, but more importantly to provide access to perhaps lifesaving electronics while off the grid.
        “It works on a wide range of stoves and serves as a perfect personal-scale generator for your everyday devices,” BioLite says.
        The thermoelectric generator used in all of BioLite’s products was invented by Alexander Drummond and Jonathan Cedar; according to their site, the stove technology “was inspired by a philosophy of applying efficient design to real-world problems.”
        In the larger stove designs, a fan harnesses the electricity generated and burns the flame more efficiently, but in the KettleCharge, the fan is replaced by a USB charger.
        The gadget is available for pre-order now for just under $150; the kit comes with a custom USB extender in case the user wants to charge a phone in real-time, so that cords don’t won’t melt near the flames.
        Check out the technology below:

        Amateur Radio Emergency Go Kits

        by Amateur Radio Online

        Amateur Radio Operators involved with the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service; “RACES”, The Amateur Radio Emergency Service; “ARES” or even the SKYWARN system are prepared to respond in emergency situations to provide radio communications in the event of primary communication failure, like the 911 emergency system, or to provide secondary communications, non life threatening but vital information, during an emergency situation.
        Amateur Radio operators that are involved with these emergency organizations keep what they call a “GO BAG” at the ready. When an emergency event occurs these “Go Bags” are ready for deployment assuring that the Amateur Radio operator has the supplies and equipment they will need to deploy quickly to their emergency posts.
        The contents of a “Go Kit” will vary depending on the individual Ham Operator. They range from the simplistic to being in some cases exotic! Some Ham Operators really go to the extreme and are equipped for almost any situation you could possibly think of.
        When you plan out your “Go Kit” there are several basic things you should take into account. One of the first things that come to mind is where you will be most likely deployed. Do you live in an urban area or a rural area? A “Go Kit” designed for a rural environment may have camping equipment as one of its primary components, for example a “Go Kit” for rural deployment might have fire starting supplies compared to its urban counterpart.
        In any case you should have at the least:
        • A 2 meter or better yet a dual or tri band Hand Held (HT) radio
        • An antenna other than the basic HT antenna that came with your radio. Such as a J-Pole or other antenna with a bit more gain to it.
        • Extra batteries or an auxiliary power source.
        • Writing materials: Paper, notebook, pens, pencils
        • Personal comfort and hygiene supplies. (TOILOT PAPER!)
        • Some sort of Food Bars and a water bottle that can be filled before you deploy.
        • About 20 dollars emergency cash.

        Many Amateur Radio Operators will break their kit up into 3 levels of deployment.
        • The Day Kit - For short term deployment and emergency drills. Small fanny pack, light weight.
        • The Supplemental Kit - Taken when you will be deployed 24 hours or better. Backpack or other suitable carrying bag.
        • Disaster kit – For when deployment will be for extended amounts of time. Large duffel bag or back pack.
        Keep in mind when you design your “Go Kit” that it is of the utmost importance that you will be totally self sufficient during an emergency situation.  You should not become a liability to others around you.
        The following suggested lists are from RACES.
        DAY KIT
        • Dual-band HT in padded belt case.
        • Copy of current FCC Operating License.
        • "Tiger tail" (enhances transmit and receive of typical "rubber duck" by 3 db).
        • Extra high-capacity (1000 man) NiCad, or backup AA battery case for HT.
        • DC adapter & cigarette plug cord for HT
        • Two extra 2A fuses, for HT cord.
        • Earphone and/or speaker mike
        • Spartan pattern Swiss Army pocket knife
        • Leatherman multi-purpose tool
        • Mini-Mag-Lite, extra bulb and spare AAs
        • Pencil and pocket notepad
        • Emergency gas / phone money ($10 bill, + four quarters and five dimes in pill box).
        • SO-239 to male-BNC adapter to fit HT to mobile antenna coax and female BNC to SO-239 to fit HT gain antenna to jumper.
        • 6 ft. RG8-X jumper w/BHC male and female connectors to extend HT antenna with suction cups or auto window clip.
        • Spare eye glasses of current prescription.
        • Band aids, moist towelettes and sunscreen
        • Pocket sewing kit, matches
        • Small pocket compass
        • Operating reference card for HT
        • ARES phone and frequency reference card
        The Supplemental Kit – Backup Bag
        • Neck-lanyard pocket with spare car keys, $20 emergency cash, credit card, long-distance calling card and ARES photo ID.
        • Second, "backup / loaner" 2-meter HT. (battery packs and accessories should interchange with the dual-bander)
        • Spare NiCad and AA-battery pack, ear phone and speaker-mike for second HT
        • Operating manuals for HT''s.
        • Fused DC adapter cords with Molex connectors for brick amplifier and HTs
        • Extra 10'' AWG 10 gage twin lead extension cord, with battery clips, in-line fuses and Molex connectors to power brick amp or HT.
        • Compact, rugged, 25-40w 2 meter or dual-band brick amplifier. - See note at right>>.
        • Gain antennas for both HTs: (telescoping half-wave Larsen and flexible dual-band Comet CH-72, 1/4-wave VHF, 5/8-wave UHF).
        • HT NiCad and 12V gel cell wall chargers.
        • Four NP2-12 gel cel1 batteries to power small brick amp at 10w @ 25% duty cycle / 8 hrs.
        • Two refills of AA Alkaline batteries for HT.
        • RG8-X jumpers with soldered PL-259s, two 3 ft., one, 6 ft., one 10 ft. and one 25 ft. with double-female connectors to combine all.
        • BNC-male+BNC female to SO-239;
        • BNC-male+BNC female to PL-259;
        • NMO to SO-239 adapters.
        • Cable ties, large and small, 6 each
        • Lensatic compass, 7.5min. series area topo.
        • Two sharpened pencils, pencil sharpener, gum eraser, note pad, permanent marker.
        • ARES Field Resource Manual
        • Compact, rugged, flashlight (Pelican Stealthlite), with extra bulb and AA batteries
        • Two sets of spare fuses (2A, 10A, 15A) for HT cords, mobile radio or brick amplifier.
        • Comfort, safety and basic first aid items: sunglasses, matches, tissues, toothbrush, sun block, sewing kit, insect repellent, tweezers, band-aids, adhesive tape, gauze pads, wound cleaning wipes, etc.
        Disaster Bag
        • 3-ring binder with County ARES Handbook, Skywarn Net Control Operations Manual, area topo maps and operating manual for auto mobile rig, in zipper portfolio.
        • Dual-band or 2-meter magnetic mount antenna, with portable ground plane.
        • MS-44 mast kit, tripod adapter, dual-band base antenna and 100 ft. of 9913F coax on reel.
        • AC charger for HT NiCad’s and small gel cells
        • BCI Group 27, 95 ah AGM battery and 1.5 amp charger (48 hrs. power for HT brick amp or mobile rig on low or medium power, plus 12V, 8w fluorescent light, for use as needed).
        • 12-volt fluorescent drop-light with alligator clips for attaching to auto or gel cell battery, with spare bulb. Adequate light is important for operating efficiency and morale. A strong, battery powered light is safer and more reliable than gasoline lanterns.
        • Weller Pyropen soldering torch with 2 cans of propane fuel, 63/37 eutectic solder and flux.
        • Leather work glove shells, wool finger less liners, warm hat, wind/rain suit, sweater, insulated rubber safety boots, extra dry socks and change of underwear.
        • Tarp or poncho
        • Wool blanket or insulated poncho liner
        • Two message pads, two pencils, grease pencil, two sheet protectors, 12 push pins.
        • Vinyl electrical tape for rain wraps, 1 roll
        • Cable ties, large and small, 1 dozen each
        • Rubber bands, medium and large, six ea.
        • Adjustable open-end wrench, 6"x 0-5/8"
        • Folding hex key set
        • Klein pliers with crimpers and side cutters
        • Needle nose pliers
        • Channel locks or Vise-Grip pliers
        • Small, mobile-type SWR/power meter
        • Pocket VOM or multi-meter w/ test leads
        • Assorted connectors / adaptors including no-solder BNC and UHF for emergency repairs
        • First Aid Kit container.
        • 3 days’ supply of bottled water and nonperishable food (which can be eaten cold), mess kit and utensils.
        • Personal hygiene and sanitation supplies.

        The above “Go Kit” lists are provided for a guide line only. There are plenty of things that could be added to improve upon them; this is totally up to you.
        Some Amateur Radio Operators find that a good starting point for their “Go Kit” are the commercially available “72 Hour Kits”, which provide basic survival supplies and 3 days of food and water.

        Sunday, August 3, 2014

        Postholing on Sweeney Peak

        From the crest of Sweeney ridge, you can see into drainages very rarely traveled because they have no trail: North to One Horse Creek Drainage and South to the South Fork of Sweeney Creek.

        Pyramid Buttes

        The mountains are big and inspiring, and I wonder if they'd be worth the bushwhack, or at least skiing up in winter when the snow covers some of the brush.

        Little St. Joe and St. Joe

        The Sweeney trail starts up high, the most challenging part of the trip was holding on while the Mighty Honda (Accord) sweated the steep narrow bits beyond the sign that read "Trucks with trailers not recommended beyond this point."

        Bass Creek Spires

        We followed a good trail up through the forest with tantalizing glimpses to the South of snowy, craggy ridges.  Just past the apex of the trail we stepped over a small stream and headed North to a saddle between two small bumps on the ridge and West up the ridge to Sweeney.

        We followed the ridge and a pretty good boot track up.  The snow starts piling up over boot height just beyond a minor peak in the ridge at about 8500'.  There is a bit of crust and consolidation, and the snow pack at around 9,000' is about 2 feet deep - just about knee height.

        I might bring snowshoes next weekend unless the weather turns and we get enough snow to cover more rocks.  We stopped shy of the summit - I'll say it's because dense clouds and snow moved in, but really it's because we got tired of punching through snow to the rocks below.  Click here to view and print our map.