NPOTA Entity: NP32
SOTA summit: W6/SD-037
Activation Date: March 14th, 2016
Portable operation: Yes
Radio: Elecraft KX3 operating at 12-15 watts
Antenna: AlexLoop magnetic loop 40-10m
Bands used: 40m, 20m, 15m (12 watts)
Furthest QSO: 5,589 miles with JH1RFZ in Tokyo, Japan using SSB at 12 watts
Hike in: Yes
Solo operation: Yes
ATT Coverage: Great
Photos: Copyright Paul Gacek 2016
Failure is not an option. It sounds like something out of a Bourne movie and that is how my Jan 8th attempt had ended. El Nino had delivered snow to Joshua Tree National Park and while it wasn’t much it had disguised the terrain leaving me to guess what was or wasn’t underfoot. Compounded by a little mishap in not loading the proposed route into my Garmin GPS, had me heading out Jan 8th into this little winter wonderland. Despite getting close, very close, caution was the better part of me and I decided the disguised snow covered terrain could all to easily trip me up and so failure was the outcome. I am not Jason Bourne today.
Segway forward to March 14th, the snow has gone, a use trail seems all to easy to follow and I meander across my lunar landscape determine to reach my goal. I skirt around a “hillock” that previously I decided to scale, I headed north faithfully following my planned GPS route and having left the sightseers at Keys Point eventually arrived at my peak intact, feeling chuffed and enjoying a beautiful afternoon.
Many have gone to great lengths to ensure I know I’m at my destination. The US Dept of Interior has placed a very nice shinny inscribed disc on the ground that states Inspiration. I feel inspired. A peak bagger with a sense of style has left a brand new log book. Maybe its an unwanted Christmas gift that has been “re-gifted” to this mountain. I feel inspired in style. For once I sign the book with a sense of future interest.
I have my new combo Gitzo tripod and AlexLoop up in no time and am thankful for all the tips I received on how to marry these two from fellow SOTA-ites. I bag about 40 QSOs up and down the west coast, into the middle of the US and out to the east coast. Their is something magical about ham radio when you hear a call sign you don’t readily recognize. JH1RFZ was booming in from Tokyo and by my reckoning had managed to traverse 5,589 miles of tranquil Pacific. He’s heard my CQ and by a simple case of logic my 12 watts has made it 5,589 miles Tokyo. Pretty good for a phone/SSB connection!
Having wrapped up and stowed my gear ready for the descent I peruse and survey the landscape. Joshua trees, boulders, blue sky, scrub and the usual stuff you would expect in a southwest desert. It was thin and narrow and sat inches above a boulder and really quite easy to miss but somehow it beckoned, maybe realizing it had never been discovered and may never. Cactus Metalicus stood stridden and proud as did I. Clearly I had discovered something unique and I could see the forthcoming article in Nature magazine and the accolades associated with this discovery imagining it to be soon named Catus Paulus (after me in case you are wondering).
And so I headed off down the trail back to my Jeep, very proud of my discovery (and oh yes, my activation).
Failure wasn’t an option today.