The day started out overcast with scattered drizzle but it didn't last long. By the time we arrived on High Knob in Norton, Virginia to do a combined SOTA and POTA activation, the skies cleared, the sun came out, and it turned out to be a beautiful winter day.
Five members of the Kingsport Amateur Radio Club met at 9:00 a.m on January 7, 2023 at the Dairy Queen on Lynn Garden Drive in Kingsport for breakfast. Present were Tim, KJ4ZFJ, Justin, KO4DCD, Dennis, N4DD, Scott, KJ4ADS, and Ron, NR3E. After breakfast we moved to the nearby Walmart Neighborhood Market to car pool and see if others were joining. Since no one else joined them, we headed north up U.S. 23 to Norton for our activation.
The road to the summit was clear and dry all the way to the top and the sun came out to make the mid 40 degree temperature feel a little better. Shortly after arriving, we then spread out to set up our stations. Tim set up a Yaesu FT-891 with an MFJ-1979 vertical antenna at the base of the lookout tower. Justin had his new Icom IC-705 and an end fed antenna which he set it up along the rock wall in the parking lot. Scott brought his Icom IC-718 with an end fed wire and set up on a picnic table at the base of the path that leads up to the tower. Dennis, having recently recovered from surgery, did not bring a pack due to lifting restrictions. He teamed up with Ron and they set up an Elecraft KX-2 and an end fed wire along the rock wall across from Justin.
Band conditions were good and between the five of us we worked 80, 40, 30, 20, 17, 12, 10, and 2 meters.. All in all, we made 137 contacts, of which 88 were CW and 49 were phone. Of the total, there were nine DX contacts with most to Europe but at least two to Argentina in South America.
We had a couple of visitors this trip. The first was from a forest service park ranger. He was very friendly and stopped to talk to us for a while. As he left, he bid us a good day and told us to have fun. The other visitor was an interesting person, an ER doctor that lived in Florida but was temporarily staying in Norton working at the local hospital. He was interested in what we were doing and asked some excellent questions, including how to get a ham license. We encouraged him to contact a local ham club in his home area of Florida and to see about test sessions. It sounded like he would follow up with that so hopefully we will soon have a new ham.
After we finished with our contacts, we gathered at the lookout tower for a group picture and to take in the views. We pointed at and tried to identify distant mountains and some features that most of us were not sure about. Dennis pointed out the federal prison near Pennington Gap in Virginia. He was also able to identify the Clinch Mountain range to our south. We could see many other things but we only made general guesses as to what we were seeing.
After our sightseeing view, we reluctantly left the mountain and headed back to Kingsport to our meeting place to split up and go our separate ways. We all agreed that it would be hard to top a day like this one. Our next club trip will be on February 18 to Summit 3940, an eight point summit near Shady Valley in Tennessee.