W2LI SOTA Activation and ARRL VHF Contest Wrap Up

On September 10th, 2016, club members Rob-K2RWF, Craig-KD2INN, and AJ-AJ2I traveled to the Catskill mountains to activate a Summit On The Air (SOTA) mountain - Utsayantha Mountain in Deleware County, NY. SOTA rules stipulate that you must hike the last 75 feet of elevation with all equipment needed. Since this was a short distance, and we had a road to hike up, we brought a fair amount of equipment. 

Once at the top, we quickly set up an HF station and got to work on 20 meters. Our elevation was at 3200 feet, with a spectacular view of the Catskill mountain range. HF operations began at about 9:30 AM, and were conducted  on an IC7100 with a simple homebrew end-fed antenna and 9:1 unun matchbox. Power was supplied from a 36 amp hour deep cycle battery, and we ran at about 100 watts. 

Contacts were made quickly with favorable reports from stations across the continental US and into Europe. States worked included NC, IL, MI, PA, VA, OR, WA, AL, AZ, IN, KS, NM, FL, MO, LA, OK, TN, and TX. DX included DL1BUG and IZ1GMJ. 35 contacts were made in about 3 1/2 hours of operating time. 

As you can see from the pictures, there were multiple towers at this location, with many low band, VHF, and UHF antennas. This ended up causing significant intermod issues with our radios on VHF and up; an obvious concern for the ARRL September VHF contest starting at 2 pm. After attempting to use a Diamond duplexer as a band pass filter with no success, the decision was made at about 1 PM to pack up and head to a more friendly environment for the contest. 

We drove back towards Albany county, and set up at the top of a hill with a great view to our east, at about 1800 feet elevation. We had excellent line of sight access into most of New England, NY, and Connecticut. KD2INN's truck provided an excellent base of operation, and by 2:45 PM we were on the air for the contest. Craig whipped up a 6 meter Moxon during the week, which worked very well for us. We used Arrow antennas for VHF and UHF, horizontally polarized for USB contacts. 

We operated the contest until about 6:45 PM, making over 40 contacts into 8 different grid squares. Our farthest contact at over 300 miles was into FN54, working KT1R on 2 meters SSB. the VHF bands weren't in very good condition, working stations that were line of sight only. There was no 6 meter Es to note. All in all, we made 40 contacts on 6 meters, 2 meters, and 70 centimeters before packing up and heading off to dinner. 

All in all, it was a fun weekend, filled with good friendship and fun amateur radio discussion and activities. We've now caught the VHF+ bug, and I personally look forward to constructing higher gain antennas for 2 meters and 70 centimeters for the June VHF contest.  73, Rob - K2RWF

All in all, it was a fun weekend, filled with good friendship and fun amateur radio discussion and activities. We've now caught the VHF+ bug, and I personally look forward to constructing higher gain antennas for 2 meters and 70 centimeters for the June VHF contest. 

73,

Rob - K2RWF