On April Fool's Day of 2023, members of the Kingsport Amateur Radio Club met for breakfast at Bob Evan's Restaurant on the north side of Johnson City at 9:00. After a hearty meal and good fellowship, seven SOTA and POTA activators left for Holston High Point east of Elizabethton, Tennessee, arriving shortly after noon. The weather was warm, in the upper 50s with sunshine, but high winds were present with occasional gusts of 50 mph, which made for some interesting antenna deployments.
Greg, W4GAJ, doing a POTA activation, set up a Yaesu FT-891 with an ATAS 120 mobile antenna off the back of his SUV. Dennis, N4DD, using using a Yaesu FT-857 and an end fed antenna, walked a hundred yards down the road and into the woods to set up his equipment. Justin, KO4DCD, set up his Icom 705 and and end fed antenna also in the woods. Matt, KQ4CCP, used am Icom V-86 with a Slim Jim antenna to work some VHF contacts. Rick, W4BXL, with his new TID handheld, also put up a Slim Jim for VHF contacts. Seth and Ron both had Elecraft KX2 radios and fed them with an end fed antenna in the woods near the FAA gate.
Conditions seemed to be down a bit more than usual, but everyone made enough contacts to claim the SOTA points or to qualify as a POTA activation. The most contacts of the day were made by Dennis who worked CW on mostly 20 meters and he was able to pick up four DX contacts. At one point Greg attempted to get some video with is drone and launched it near his vehicle. But the high winds made it difficult to control so he had to cancel the flight.
After the activation, everyone packed up and headed off the summit, stopping on the way down at the site of a jet airplane crash from 1976. A German pilot and cadet were killed when they crashed their F4 Phantom into the mountain and a memorial marks the spot. It is a very humbling experience to view the memorial.
The next club SOTA trip will be Saturday, May 20 to Walnut Mountain south of Greeneville, TN near the North Carolina border. More information will be posted at a later date about the trip.