Mt Watson near Tahoe (W6/NS-147), October 20th 2015

Summit: W6/NS-147

Activation Date: October 20, 2015

ATT Data Coverage: Excellent

ATT Voice coverage: Not sure but presumed to be excellent

APRS Coverage: Not sure

Access: Drive Watson Rd (paved) ~6.6 miles from 267. Park/trail head at N39 13’18 W120 09’25

Hike stats:   3.6 miles roundtrip and 1,000′ of ascent up to 8,424′, walk on dirt road and semi-exposed treed summit.

Light danced through the trees in my rear view mirror and for a moment I wondered who else was mad enough to be on this remote forest road so early, only to realize it was dawn breaking through the trees. This definitely felt like zero dark thirty made all the more adventurous with an ambient temperature hovering around 32F.

Excitement and anxiety are opposite emotions sometimes hard to distinguish. Never more so today as this trip had a number of firsts for me; five planned activations over two days, all solo and in an area new to me. Consequently, the  previous night had been restless and the familiar sheep counting had been replaced by visions of bears on the trail!

The trail cuts a path through a pine forest that offers glimpses of views across the mountains punctuated by frosted vistas into the forest that conjures up thoughts of the Hobbit.

As I crest the peak I see my first view of Lake Tahoe and its simply beautiful. The sun is rising over its eastern shore and I stop and look and absorb this moment. Its easy to be so hurried on an activation to forget what else is at the top of a mountain.

Lake Tahoe to left and looking east from Mt Watson
Lake Tahoe to left and looking east from Mt Watson

The trail in and out is really a very up market 4×4 trail that a Jeep could easily have traversed. The pine trees along the way are laced with moss adding to the Hobbit like nature of this forest…damp, cold but not in the least spooky.

4x4 trail from paved road to top of Mt Watson
4×4 trail from paved road almost to top of Mt Watson
Yellow is the hike and red the activation zone
Yellow is the hike and red the activation zone
3.6 miles and about 1,000 ft of ascent
3.6 miles and about 1,000 ft of ascent

40m and 20m were reasonable despite the pretty low sunspot numbers for the day. I managed to make contact with many familiar and faithful chasers and one highlight was a contact all the way out to New Hampshire possibly 2,800 miles with AC1Z. Its wasn’t the easiest of contacts but it still reminds me of the magic of radio.

Time Call Band Mode Notes
15:27z K6HPX 7MHz SSB 47 TX and 51 RX
15:28z NG6R 7MHz SSB 58 TX an 54 RX
15:30z WA7SB 7MHz SSB 53 RX and 56 TX
15:32z W7RV 7MHz SSB 58 TX an 54 RX
15:36z K7ANT 7MHz SSB 57 TX and 55 RX
15:37z W7CNL 7MHz SSB 36 TX and 57 RX
15:38z K6EL 7MHz SSB 57 TX and 22 RX
15:40z W0ERI 14MHz SSB 57 TX and 55 RX
15:41z W0MNA 14MHz SSB 57 TX and 55 RX
15:42z VE6CCM 14MHz SSB 57 TX and 55 RX
15:44z KA5PVB 14MHz SSB 57 TX AND 33 RX
15:45z N4EX 14MHz SSB 58 TX and 45 RX
15:47z WA2USA 14MHz SSB 36 TX and 33 RX
15:49z AC1Z 14MHz SSB 46 TX and 33 RX

All in all a good start to my planned 5 activations.


    1. Credit for marking the AZ in red goes to KU6J as I saw it on his web site. I use Garmin Basecamp and simply drew a red “track” at the minus 70 ft contour below the peak.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.