NPOTA Entity: N/A
SOTA summit: Pt 9006 W6/ND-016
Activation Date: August 5, 2016
Portable operation: Yes
Radio: Elecraft KX2 operating at 10 watts
Antenna: LNR Trail Friendly end fed 40-10m
Bands used: 20m and 40m
Furthest QSO: ~2,400 miles to George N1GB using SSB at 10 watts
Hike in: Yes, 2.5 miles round trip and 1,000 ft ascent from just of highway 270
Solo operation: Yes
ATT Coverage: Yes
Photos: Copyright Paul Gacek 2016
The smell was unmistakable and hadn’t been there earlier. When I started the skies were blue but looking south from my peak I could see smoke wafting north along the Sierra Nevada and Bodie Mountains to the east.
I didn’t feel in immediate danger but fires are extremely unpredictable, can move very fast (~50mph), change directions with the wind and generally love to head up the side of hills and mountains towards peaks.
Time to call my wingman. “Dave, there’s a fire near here. Can you look on the web and see if I should leave ” and with some sense of the outcome “I’ll call back shortly”. I flip between setting up my antenna and trying to gauge the speed of the wafting smoke that definitely has me concerned. “Do you know Bald Mountain?”, “Yes”, I reply “I was planning on activating a peak right by it tomorrow”. “Well, Bald Mountain is the fire location, on the other side of Mono Lake, so you are safe for now”.
Somewhat reassured I go about the activation with a singular focus not planning on lingering. 20 and 40m have flurries of activity and once the later dries up, I’m packed and heading out.
I’m in the middle of what is one of California’s more famous mining districts; Bodie. What’s unique is the high desert weather has left many of the ~150 year wooden structures in tact. Whats even more bizarre is that events have driven people to simply abandon homes along with some of the contents pretty much as they left them. Looking into them has a sense of vouyerism but more on that in the next post.