SOTA W4V/SH-007: Hogback Mountain

We saved the easiest peak for last during this visit to Shenandoah National Park, and tackled Hogback after Compton Peak and North Marshall. Park at Hogback overlook (38.762N, 78.2742W) and walk back northward along Skyline Drive about 500m to a chained-off gravel service road that ascends towards a commercial antenna installation. From the road to the top, it’s about a 40m rise, easy-peasy.

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SOTA W4V/SH-009: North Marshall

North Marshall was the second peak of the day, wedged between Compton Peak and Hogback Mountain. The Appalachian Trail rises right from the parking area (38.775104N, 78.210851W) and it’s about a 900m walk in from there with 80m rise — a pleasant walk up a nicely maintained trail.

The parking lot at left accommodates perhaps ten cars.
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SOTA W4V/SH-016: Compton Peak

Back to Shenandoah National Park for this 6 point peak that lies alongside the Appalachian Trail. I entered the park from the Front Royal entrance to the north and drove down to the Compton Gap parking lot at 38.823907N, 78.170463W. On the same day, I activated W4V/SH-009 North Marshall and W4V/SH-007, Hogback Mountain, and the three made a nice day-long package, with decreasing effort from first to last.

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SOTA W4V/SH-027: Dickey Hill

This was the first of a series of summits I am hoping to activate within Shenandoah National Park, and proved to be very straightforward. The only twist was avoiding operating next to the government installation at the end of a road leading to the summit. Instead, I operated just a little to the side, but still on the summit.

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VAQP 2019

Last weekend was one of the highlights of my ham radio experience even though I spent most of it shivering and hunched over a pair of paddles on a frigid mountaintop.

Mike, KA4CDN, and I decided to mount an expedition with the goal of activating rare counties for the 2019 Virginia QSO Party. We poured over spreadsheets of prior year activity and looked for places where we might camp on the intersection of two or more counties. We came up with a few possibilities, but ultimately decided to check out Rocky Mountain, which lies at the intersection of Nelson, Rockbridge, and Amherst counties. Additionally, it is centrally located in Virginia, which we thought would give us the best chance of picking up the many multipliers (95 counties and 38 independent cities) in the state.

The Bottom Line

To cut to the chase, despite poor propagation, we did better than we thought we would: more than 850 QSOs and broad coverage of multipliers throughout both Virginia and North America. Best of all, we worked a bunch of people we knew including at least ten members of our home club, the Vienna Wireless Society.

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Sota: W4V/BR-001

Rocky Mountain,
Virginia

I visited one of the tallest mountains in Virginia yesterday with Mike, KA4CDN. Our goal was to scope out potential sites to activate as an expedition during the upcoming Virginia QSO Party, and while up there, to work some SOTA contacts. The ridge line near the peak runs between Rockbridge and Amherst counties, and a dirt road continues northward to the three way county intersection that also involves Nelson County. Weather was clear when we left Northern Virginia, but halfway down we hit frozen rain and as we climbed in altitude, it just got colder and colder.

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ARRL DX CW 2019

I’m jotting down some notes about this year’s ARRL DX CW, with the hope that I’ll remember them next time I operate the contest (although that will probably be from the other end, as DX from Cyprus next year). First a summary, then some bullet points.

I worked through the weekend, but with time off for errands and sleep. My rig was a K3 running 95W into a dipole up about 13m fed with ladder line into a 4:1 balun fed with about 2 meters of 9913F7 coax to an LDG AT100pro2 tuner. Overall, after de-duping, I had 503 contacts (1 each on 10m and 160m, 64 on 80m, 144 on 40m, 199 on 20m, and 94 on 15m) and 225 multipliers. I worked a bunch of new ones, and hopefully we got each others’ calls right and those contacts will eventually match up in LOTW.

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SOTA: W3/WE-004

Quirack Mountain

I am only back in the Washington DC area for a few months, so I am triaging sites based on range from the house and ease of activation. I had thought that this site was more or less drive up, but that’s not the case. It’s not a difficult activation, but it does require a bit of hiking, some of it off-trail.

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