Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Trip to Mt Pilchuck

Yesterday, Jeff - K07M, and I went to Mt Pilchuck as planed in the previous post. The road into the selected spot was reasonable, with the standard large mud puddles but mostly dry. The one bad spot on the road-spur was a short run of large down-slopping moguls near the end. Going down the moguls is easy, coming back out will be fun.

On the way in, Jeff related a poem that one of his relatives kept to remind himself of his work and adventures on the long rugged Alaska Highway - similar to the road-spur that we were on;

Winding in, and winding out,
Leaves my mind, in serious doubt,
As to whether the man, who built this route,
Was going to Hell, or coming out.
by: Troy Hise, a pioneer on the Alaska Highway
(as per Google)

When we arrived around 11AM, the up-slope fog was damp, chilly, and obscured the view.

The first activity was to erect Jeff's fiberglass 42 foot vertical and cut and install six, 60 foot radials. They were laid out only on the east side of the base, because the brushy cliff side did not provide access. Jeff used a 1:4 balun at the feed point.

We now have a long pointed wire sicking straight up, on a landing, at the edge of a cliff, I remember thinking; "what would I be doing if I wanted to attract lightning to this place? . . . Nah,   just don't think about it!"

It is hard to see, but the 42 foot vertical is shown in the next photo (upper left), on the edge of the brush which is near the edge of the 1000 foot cliff. We had to find a place where there was enough top soil into which we could drive the "T" post support.

Note: only on the "Terrain" view of the included google map link is the significants of the cliff shown (see upper right display mode on the map).

The operations table was setup and my IC-730 was connected to the 12 Volt battery and the vertical, which by the resulting sound, provided a promise of good contacts.

The other 30m vertical (with 4 radials) was installed and Jeff's other radios were connected for some serious radio work - or for us just setting in the fog.

About an hour after arrival, the fog thinned, the sun came out, and it was too hot to stay in coats, and without a sun shade. We installed a pop-up cover, and spent the rest of the day chatting, working the radios, and looking at the Breath-Taking View.

Late in the day we had a few Bugs, but very tolerable.

Jeff is much better than I at this "contact and contest" stuff, as I normally use my radios for impersonal digital QRSS and WSPR work, where the computer does most of the control.

Via his Yaesu FT-817, Jeff reported our GRID square (CN98bb) for several local pileups on 6 and 2 meters. On other bands he worked other spots around the world, using only two watts (I think).

I spent my time listening and trying to work 40 and 20 meters on the IC-730.

The radios were connected to a 95 Amp/Hr Deep Cycle Battery,  it started out at 12.65 Volts and went down to 12.26 Volts by the end of the day - not bad for a days use!

Next time we will plan to instrument the battery-use better.

Tess, my dog, enjoyed the trip and spent most of the day guarding and playing with her Tennis Ball, only occasionally diverting her attention to alerted us to hikers or campers coming down the road.

I think we packed-up and left for home about 8PM - it was a Great Day in the Sun, with Radios, and a Great View. These photos do NOT do this location's view justice.

While leaving, driving back up the moguls was not that bad, but it was necessary to carefully drive the crests.

Note: the included QTH/GRID map links are provided by the good folks at - Thanks.

Our radio contact list will soon be added.

A follow-up e-mail from Jeff to our pQRP group:

Sorry for the late posting, but I had a great time up on Pilchuck last Saturday. We set up at the 2600' level. I brought my FT817ND and eldon had his IC730. We had two verticals, Eldon's copper pipe vertical that he brought to Salmoncon and my fibreglass 43' pole.
The bands were not bad at all and the location was super. We had an operating station with nearly a 180 degree panoramic view of the valley to the south-west. The day started in the clouds but as the morning wore on, the clouds subsided and we had a gorgeous, albeit hazy view.
My operations focused on 17 and 20 metres earlier in the day an then switched to 6 and 2 metres in the afternoon. We were a hot commodity given the grid square (CN98BB) for the VHF contest going on that same weekend.
First contact was my neighbor, Jeff W7BRS in Fall City. He was booming in on 20 metres. I then worked the USS Midway in San Diego on 7 watts on 14.325.
I heard a lot of CW beacons on 10, 6 and 2 metres.
On 17 metres I did pretty good using the FT817 at 2.5 watts.
  • IK4UPI - Santo in N. Italy near Parma 
  • KH6CB - James 16 Mi from Honolulu 
  • JA6RCH 
  • XE1WFG 
  • JA2JRE 
  • JA1HHP 
  • AE7EV - Tor in Lake Stevens. We could see lake stevens from our site. 
  • ZP6CW - DJ in Paraguay 
On 6 metres (50.125 USB) I worked the following:
  • VE7DXG Gabor CN88 
  • N6ZE/rover Peter CN88 
  • W7CE Clayton CN87 
  • WB7FJG Mike CN87 
  • K7CW Paul CN87 
  • KB7GQH CN87 
  • W7FI James CN87 
  • VE7CP Lawrence CN88 
  • VE7LSE Devan CN88 
  • N6LB Lisa CN88 
  • K7YDL Greg CN85 - CW 
On 2 metres (144.200 USB) I worked the following
  • VE7DXG Gabor CN88 
  • W7PG Paul DN76 
  • K7JX Ed CN87 
All-in-all a great day out. Thanks Eldon!
Jeff ko7m


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