Summit 4580 June 2023
Summit 4580 June 2023

Having a SOTA infection that only an activation could cure, members of the Kingsport Amateur Radio Club planned an activation of Summit 4580 south of Mountain City, Tennessee on Saturday, June 17, 2023. Four of us, Justin, KO4DCD, Seth, N4XTT, Rick, W4BXL, and myself, Ron, NR3E met for breakfast at Bob Evans on Boones Creek Road at 9:00. The restaurant had a table ready for us and we were quickly seated. After a leisurely breakfast, we were joined by Dennis, N4DD, Matt, KQ4CCP, Scott, KJ4ADS, and Rick's wife Susan, who was accompanied by the family dog, Zeke. We jumped into three vehicles and headed off to our summit.

This was a drive-up summit and the road to the top was mostly gravel with some occasional broken pavement but there were no issues or problems with the journey. It had been two years since I had been there and was a little surprised at how grown up it now appeared. I recalled some pretty good views but that was no longer the case. The trees around the summit had grown enough to block the views and the grass around the edge of the parking area had not been mowed like it had been in the past.

It was a little tight setting up our stations, but we managed to set up five and were lucky enough to have minimal interference. Dennis threw his end fed 150 feet high into the tree (not really that high, but he can really sling it up there) and worked some 20 meter CW with is Yaesu FT-818. Rick put up a Slim Jim antenna and started on 2 meter FM with his HT. Scott found a nice place in the forest just down from the peak and put up a wire antenna and started making CW contacts with his Yaesu FT-817. Matt found another place in the trees and strung up his antenna and fed it into his Xiegu radio and started on SSB. Seth and Ron put an end fed sloper up in a tree adjacent to the parking area, set up Ron's Elecraft KX-2 and started on CW. Justin got out his two meter Arrow brand antenna and made some calls with his HT. Later he worked some HF CW but more on that shortly.

As we were operating, a grandpa and grandson rode up to the summit on their ATVs and struck up a conversation. Grandpa had never heard of ham radio nor had the grandson. I talked to them several minutes and there is a good chance I got the grandson interested enough to contact his local ham club so that he could learn how to get his license. The boy was eleven years old and may just make a good ham. Hopefully he will follow up on it. Also, grandpa told me that the reason that the summit area was growing up was because in years past the county was using inmates to mow and keep the area clean. Apparently that can no longer be done and as a result the summit looks the way it does.

After a couple of hours, almost everyone got enough contacts to get their points for the activation. The CW guys, as is the nature of CW, had no problems making lots of contacts. Matt, on SSB, had a tougher time but in the end he chased after a couple of POTA stations and got his contacts. Rick, on two meter FM, worked three stations but could not get the fourth even after almost two hours. Fortunately he had just passed his General license exam and used my radio to get a couple of contacts on 40 meter SSB. So before we finished up and headed off the mountain, everyone had been successful in getting their required contacts.

As I hinted earlier, I had a little story to tell about Justin. He did not set up his HF equipment and kindly helped Matt with some of his contacts and the operation of his new radio. After a while he headed over to Dennis's station, commandeered it, and made a bunch of CW contacts. He then moved to my station, took it over, and made even more CW contacts. Then he ate our snacks and drank our drinks. Actually, this might be a bit of an exaggeration on my part, but there is some truth hidden in there.

We had almost perfect weather with a temperature in the low to mid 60s, sunshine, and a gentle breeze. It was just cool enough in the shade to almost need long sleeves but warm enough in the sun to wear T-shirts. For the day we ended up with 104 contacts of which 93 were CW, 11 were phone, and 4 were DX. The neatest QSO of the day was made by Seth with a contact to Iceland with station TF3DC. Everyone had a good time and left with smiling faces.

The next club SOTA trip will be on July 8th to a summit yet to be determined. More information will be posted shortly on the club website.

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