Mt Hollyburn SOTA Adventure
Club members Ralph (VE7OM), Jim (VE7BCJ) and Eric (VA7NX) set out to activate Mt. Hollyburn in Cypress Bowl in the Summits-on-the-air program. The day was mostly cloudy but the clouds were much thicker on the mountain and when we arrived at the trailhead we were encased in mist. Well it wasn't raining and the fog seemed to add to the adventure so we decided to head on out and started the ascent to the summit. We met only a few on the trail as we made our way to the top but all that we did meet were in good spirits so we continued the slog to the top.
Once on the summit we had a short rest to regain our breath and then Ralph proceeded to stretch out his collapsible mast and string his wire vertical antenna into the air. He leaned it against a small gnarley tree that we used as a support last time here. Once the line was up we attached Eric's KX2 to te antenna and tried matching it. At first it seemed to have a struggle achiving a match but once Ralph had finished raising the two counterpoises we were able to get a usable match. I tried a few SSB calls but the band seemed quite dead, so we switched to CW. Ralph plugged his KX2 key into the KX2 though it fit it didn't have a way of securing it so it was too loose to use. So out came the trusty KX1 and Ralph was soon making 20m CW contacts, the first with another SOTA station on a summit in California.
While Ralph was working CW, Eric set up his 2m beam and attached his handheld and was soon making contacts from the valley below. He was also able to snag a SOTA Chaser parked on the Olympic Peninsula 150km distant. As the contacts were being made the clouds decided to join the fun and started to release some rain. Jim brought out his small umbrella and helped keep the operators a bit drier. The rain stopped after a few minutes but things had a good layer of water on them now so the rocks were somewhat more slippery then when we arrived. Eric packed up once he had 8 2m contacts in the log and Ralph managed 10 before running dry. So the summit was successfully activated again in the program. Hollyburn is an easier hike and as such likely the most popular of the local summits for SOTA. The views are normally quite amazing from the peak but today we had only grey cloud, a shame as Jim had never been here before.
additional photos and story are available here: http://www.scenicart.ca/content/mt-hollyburn-cloud