My Arizona SOTA adventure was made possible by 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 there. My route was the 10 Freeway from California to Tucson. I picked North Mountain W7A/AW-060 as a nice hike up for my brief stay in Phoenix. I was lucky to get parking at the trail head at 6am as there were many work out people and dog walkers there already. One common thread from all the advice was that I should activate very early or very late due to the intense heat at this time of the year. If I could have waited until June I could have gotten bonus points for these 😦
From my hotel in Phoenix I merely dropped the parking coordinates 33.589067, -112.065142 into my smart phone which guided me to the parking lot. The summit (33.58560180, -112.0723037) is at 641 m/2103 feet. It is a steady uphill walk of 0.8 miles and a 362 feet of elevation gain.
Cell service on my T-Mobile was excellent for SMS texting, data service, and voice service. SPOT’s could readily have been posted this way.
APRS2SOTA was probably very good at this site, 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 the Iridium satellite system provided most SPOT’s for this activation. Additionally, there were several helpful Chasers who kept me on clearer frequencies and helped SPOT me.
There is a really nice use 144.410 FM in Phoenix. Reportedly it has been used for years by the Six Meter weak signal ops to coordinate DX in the area. With the lack of a sunspot cycle it is used mostly now for SOTA and HF DX spots. Since many of the old time 6M guys are also into SOTA it was a delight to operate there. I did try 146.52 just to make sure I did not leave out anyone. For third day in a row propagation was hostile. Due to my limited schedule I only worked 40, 20, and 15 meters SSB. You can see from my log that some of these bands were just dead.
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 (you Really need it for this one). 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: 14/May/2015 Summit: W7A/AW-060 North Mountain Call Used: KB6CIO
|14:22z||W7RV||144MHz||FM||144.41 55/55 110 miles in Flagstaff|
|14:59z||NS7P||14MHz||SSB||59/33 Phil OR|
|15:07z||N7ESI||14MHz||SSB||33/– Dave WA|
|15:12z||W6LDX||21MHz||SSB||21.385 33/43 Tom in a park Mesa AZ battery powered|