On a chilly December 17, 2022, members of the Kingsport Amateur Radio Club met at Perkins restaurant in Kingsport to have breakfast and for their monthly SOTA activation, this time to High Rock (W4T/SU-024), a ten point summit near Sam's Gap at the Tennessee and North Carolina state line. Five activators, Seth, KQ4AKR, Justin, KO4DCD, Dennis, N4DD, Tim,KJ4ZFJ, and Ron, NR3E, were joined by two active chasers, Bob, KU4R, and Larry, KD4FTN. After a hearty breakfast, the chasers headed back home and the activators headed to the mountain.
The drive to the summit took about an hour with no issues over paved roads all the way. After arriving at the parking spot, the group grabbed packs and started their 1.6 mile hike up the Appalachian Trail to the summit. It was chilly, about thirty five degrees and a moderate wind was blowing, so no one had problems keeping cool. A little over halfway up the trail, Patrick, NE2P, caught up and joined them. He was in the area and had activated another nearby summit.
The summit was mostly open hardwoods with plenty of room to spread out. Justin and Seth set up near the corner maker of the AT and the short overlook trail. They had an end fed antenna attached to Justin's brand new Icom 705. Seth worked SSB and Justin worked several modes to run the new radio through the paces. Dennis and Ron went about a hundred yards further down the AT and set up an Elecraft KX2 with an end fed antenna. They mostly worked CW but Ron made one SSB contact. Patrick paired up with Tim and they went another hundred yards down the trail and set up a USDX USDR radio also with an end fed antenna. Tim worked SSB while Patrick assisted him in operations and getting spots out.
Weather conditions on the summit were tolerable with some sun offsetting the cool air. The ground was generally dry but small patches of ice could occasionally be seen as the winter snow blanket would be coming soon.
HF conditions were pretty good for the continental U.S. and there was only one DX but it was a good one as Justin made a contact with LW2DO in Argentina. In the end, all the activators made their required four contacts plus many more for a total of 86 with one DX. Since this activation was during winter bonus period, three extra points were earned so the summit total was actually thirteen.
The hike off the mountain went faster than the hike up, as expected, and we arrived back at the parking area by about 4:00 p.m. Even though the temperature was starting to drop still further, another good day came to an end.
The next trip will be in January on a date and to a summit yet to be determined. Watch the KARC web page for more information.