Monday, August 9, 2010

QRP UHF From Mt. Lassen

For the ARRL August UHF contest, I took the FT-817ND and an ELK 2M/440L5 antenna to the very top of Mt. Lassen. Parking at the Summit Trailhead at 2pm, it took just over 2 hours to hike the 2 miles and 2000 feet up to the summit. Weather was cool (60F) but no clounds and chance of precipitation. The overall summit of Lassen is very exposed and was extremely windy, with views in almost 360 degrees. The true summit is a small cluster of rocks about 200' high, on the north section of the summit area. I was able to find a space shielded from the wind to set the equipment up; it was nice to be out of the wind! In my backpack I had the FT-817ND, spare AA batteries (2500 mAH), the ELK antenna, a lightweight photographic tripod, 6' of RG-58C cable, the logbook, compass, water, food, and importantly WARM clothing. It took about 10 minutes to set up, and right away I heard a few stations calling CQ Contest on 432.100. I was able to work all of the stations that I could hear using either 5 or 2.5 watts (yay for QRP!).

I made around 9 QSOs from the summit, with signal reports ranging from S1 to S7; grids were CM88, CM87, CM98, CM97, and DM09. The 70cm and 2m beacons from KJ6KO in CM88ws were coming in S9+. After 2 hours at the summit it was time to head back down, and was down just a bit after sunset. Fun! Overall, if the weather cooperates, the summit of Lassen was a great place to operate radio from!!

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