Amateur Radio, AW-001, AW-001 W7AAW001, AW-003, AW003, bigelow, Bigelow Mount, Bigelow Mountain, Ham Radio, KB6CIO, Lemmon, Mount Lemmon, MOUNTAIN TOP RADIO, SOTA, Summits On The Air, W7A/AW-001, W7A/AW-003, W7A/AW003
My Arizona SOTA adventure would not be if it were not for the VERY gracious help from the locals and others who have activated before me. They sent more summits than I could possibly do in the short time I would be here. My route was the 10 Freeway from California to Tucson. I picked Lemmon W7A/AW-001 and Bigelow W7A/AW-003 as activation’s. These were drive up’s with a short walk and are frequently done together. Another delight about these was even though it is warm down in town Lemmon was about 42 degrees and Bigelow was 68 degrees.
From my hotel in Tucson I merely dropped in the summit coordinates 32.443000793457, -110.78829956055 into my smart phone which guided me to the closed gate at the parking lot for Lemmon. The final site is just a short walk. My faithful spelling checker here kept complaining about Lemmon. This spelling is correct for this site as it was named for botanist Sara Plummer Lemmon who trekked to the top of the mountain.
Bigelow was rather nice from here as the locals told me about the road to the top. You can hike up the trail from the parking area across from the ranger station. I suspected my smart phone would be a paper weight with no service so I came prepared to navigate to the entrance road for Bigelow (32.412957, -110.731276) with a traditional GPS. This road is about 6 miles from the Lemmon parking area. At the turn (32.416078, -110.731788) there is unique friendly sign saying if the road is closed for the winter you are welcome to walk up! The road was open and easy to travel in my SUV to the summit at 32.415500640, -110.71440124. My old 2005 Toyota 4Runner SUV has a high clearance. I would not recommend a traditional vehicle on this upper part of the road.
In my windshield I displayed my National Forrest Adventure Pass as they were checking them at Lemmon. No Forrest service was seen on Bigelow. There were just a few walkers.
Cell service on my T-Mobile was intermittent SMS texting, no data service, and no voice service.
APRS2SOTA was probably very good at these sites, however, I had an intermittent antenna connector problem that will have to be fixed back home. This radio has seen several years of tough service so this was very acceptable.
My DeLorme InReach Explorer on Iridium Satellites provided most SPOT’s for these activation’s. Additionally, there were several helpful Chasers who kept me on clearer frequencies and helped SPOT me.
Here was a bit of a surprise to me. Lemmon is at 2792m/9160ft. Bigelow Mount 2604m/8543ft. I really thought with these tall 10 pointers I would have more contacts. Propagation was hostile to the point that after each of these activation’s I was so concerned that I mounted my mobile HF antenna on my car and did some testing with the Yeasu FT857. I was worried that there was something wrong with the Elecraft KX3 I had carried up to the summit. Due to my limited schedule I only operated 2 meters, and ‘tried’ SSB on 40, 20, and 15 meters. You can see from my logs that some of these bands were just dead. Thankfully there was nothing wrong with my back pack radio or antenna.
Geocaches: There are a few in the area that I used as way points. I really did not have the time to spend searching for them on this activation.
Some side notes that I rarely mention. I carry the “10 Essentials” with lots of water and snacks. In the event of a significant emergency I will use the “Ham Radio Wilderness Protocol on 146.52 FM”. I monitor that frequency when I have full batteries. On low battery I would follow the protocol. You can Google these things. I hope more Ham’s pass this information along.
Date: 13/May/2015 Summit: W7A/AW-001 Mount Lemmon Call Used: KB6CIO
|14:17z||W7RV||144MHz||FM||144.41 59/52 Flagstaff 110 miles|
|14:30z||K9LCT||144MHz||FM||59/59 20 miles Fountain Hills AZ Tony|
|14:32z||KG7IRJ||144MHz||FM||59/59 Paul Broadway and Campbell|
|14:42z||K6HPX||7MHz||SSB||7.185 55/59 at home|
|14:44z||AA7DK||7MHz||SSB||44/56 Dennis Flagstaff|
|14:56z||W4DOW||14MHz||SSB||14.285 33/44 VI|
|14:57z||W0MNA||14MHz||SSB||44/33 Gary KS|
|14:58z||W0ERI||14MHz||SSB||44/33 Martha KS|
|14:59z||NS7P||14MHz||SSB||55/56 Phil OR|
|15:01z||W7CNL||14MHz||SSB||55/57 Boise ID will invite KF7URE Lee to an event at his place|
|15:04z||W4MPS||14MHz||SSB||14.342 59/55 NC Marc|
|15:14z||NO8V||14MHz||SSB||33/53 John MI. Good Operator!|
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Date: 13/May/2015 Summit: W7A/AW-003 Bigelow Mount Call Used: KB6CIO
|17:09z||N1IDN||144MHz||FM||S2S W7A/PE-018 He was about to go back down. Hiked up 1hr 40min. 55/59 Mike|
|17:30z||W6JMP||7MHz||SSB||14.285 Gene near Sacramento 55/55|
|17:41z||AE9F||14MHz||SSB||44/44 San Francisco|
|17:50z||WA9HED||14MHz||SSB||59/56 Lee WI|
|18:11z||N4EX||21MHz||SSB||21.385 59/56 NC|
PICTURES FROM Lemmon
PICTURES FROM Bigelow