Five members of the Kingsport Amateur Radio Club met at Perkins Restaurant in Colonial Heights at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 3, 2022 for breakfast and to depart on the monthly SOTA trip. After a hearty breakfast, the group left the restaurant at 10:00 and headed to the Walmart parking lot in Johnson City to pick up additional members.
At Johnson City, seven people piled into three vehicles and headed to Pinnacle Mountain, which has a SOTA designator of W4T/SU-058. Since the summit is also in Cherokee National Forest, it qualified as a POTA entity of K-4525. The group roster included Joshua, N4JHC, Josh, N4KFE, Justin, KO4DCD, Seth, KQ4AKR, Roy, KJ4YSY, Gary, KE4SCJ, and Ron, NR3E.
The drive to the summit was fairly easy with the route following U.S. 321 and Dry Creek Road south of town, all which were paved roads. A few miles south of Johnson City the final road to the summit was Pinnacle Mountain Road, a fairly well maintained forest service gravel road. This last leg was about four and a half miles up the mountain, and the road had a few small ruts and some areas of exposed rocks, but nothing that would keep most vehicles from making the trip as long as the word SLOW was employed.
From the parking area the group grabbed packs and bug spray then started hiking the final leg, a seven tenth of a mile jaunt with an area that had a thirty three percent grade, which is pretty steep in anybody’s book. But everyone made it fine (with maybe a stop or two to catch one’s breath) and arrived at the top to find a lookout tower and a beautiful view of the surrounding area. The weather was good with warm temperatures and clear skies so nothing impeded the views.
Joshua set up a vertical and attached it to his Icom 705. Justin also had a vertical and used it with his Yaesu FT-817. Ron stretched up an end fed wire and connected it to his Elecraft KX2. So with those three stations all seven activators divided up and started making contacts. After working some HF, Joshua, Josh, Seth, and Justin climbed the observation tower with a two meter radio and an Arrow brand two meter beam antenna. They then proceeded to make lots of contacts, both from local hams and passers-by on the interstate highway.
All good things must end so after spending over two and a half hours on the summit, the group packed up and hiked off, with much discussion on the way down about the contacts they made. In the end, it couldn’t have been a better day.
The next club SOTA trip will be on October 8, 2022 to Black Mountain in Kentucky, a drive up activation and the highest peak in the state. Details about a meeting time and place will be posted later.