Today's activation of Paint Mountain (W4T/SU-095) was living proof that we can have a good time even in adverse conditions. The day started out well enough with breakfast at Perkins. There, Seth, Justin, and Ron met two new potential activators, Dennis, N4DD, and Tim, KJ4ZFJ. We finished eating in good time and left the restaurant about fifteen minutes before we had planned, thinking we would actually be early getting to the summit.
The drive there was uneventful, with the exception of that last mile. The road was closed off for maintenance about a mile before our planned parking spot. As we sat and looked at a barricade, we decided to go ahead and hike the extra distance since we had come as far as we had. On the way to the regular parking spot, we walked around three construction areas where the road was being re-worked. With winter coming on, we wondered if the road would be open before spring. Of note was that it was almost 60 degrees when we left the vehicle and started our hike.
The hike up the mountain trail from the normal parking area went as planned although it had rained the night before and everything was wet. The skies were cloudy with rain in the forecast but we were hoping for the best. At the summit we found a nice open area of about an acre or so in size. Justin proceeded to set up his station on one end of the clearing and Ron set up on the other end. Both were using end fed wires. Justin's station was a Yaesu FT-817 and Ron was using an Elecraft KX-2. Dennis, for his first SOTA activation, teamed up with Justin while Seth teamed up with Ron. Tim, on his first trip also, was interested in watching to see what equipment he needed for future activations.
Within five minutes after getting set up, the temperature started dropping and the rain started falling. Justin and Dennis covered their station the best they could with a pack and tarp while Ron and Seth hovered under an umbrella as Tim quickly put on this rain suit. But within thirty minutes the four activators got their required contacts. Since the weather had turned bad, we decided it best to pack up and head off the mountain, which we quickly did. As a whole, there were 31 contacts made with one DX to France. As we left, Ron checked his thermometer and found that the temperature had fallen to 45 degrees, almost a fifteen degree drop.
Today's participants were Dennis, N4DD, Tim, KJ4ZFJ, Seth, KQ4AKR, Justin, KO4DCD, and Ron, NR3E. The next trip will be on December 17 to High Rock, a ten pointer (plus three points for winter bonus), near Sam's Gap at the Tennessee and North Carolina border.