Victoria Day SOTA from Mont Tremblant VE2/LR-002

By , May 19, 2014 9:11 pm

This was the first SOTA summit hike of 2014 for me.    It was also the last summit I’ve activated last year and in fact the last time I aired my KX3, the recorded messages didn’t even need updating (CQ CQ SOTA from VA3SIE/P, Mont Treblant Quebec”    :-)

We hit the hiking trail around 8am and we hiked up leisurely up the Johannsen trail.   It was a beautiful day, warm and sunny.   There was some snow at higher altitudes which made the hike quite challenging – very muddy where the snow had melted, a bit slippery.

APRS Track

APRS Track

The true summit of the Mont Tremblant massif is the Johannsen Peak.  At 968m, it’s an 8 point summit (just 32m short of a 10 pointer).  The hiking trail (Johannsen Trail) to the summit is a 7km trek at a steady 10% incline.  The trail crosses a few streams which have constructed bridges over and a few boggy regions which have also been bridged with planks or branches.  The summit at the top is a cleared area with a summit marker.  There are tall trees all around the clearing.

Just like past July we chose to hike back along the ridge line of the massif to the top of the ski trails along the Summits Trail.  This trail dips down around 100m and then back up to some smaller peaks affording one or two nice view points.  There is no view at Johannsen and only one brief view point about  of the way up the climb.  This trail is 5km in length, dips down to 780m at points but ends up just 50m or so below the elevation of the Johannsen Peak.

By the time we completed all this hiking we chose to ride the cable car back down the mountain to the ski village.

VE2/LR-002 Trail Map

VE2/LR-002 Trail Map

This activation was not without its challenges!    I had not brought any phone with me so had no way of self-spotting.   I would have to rely on chasers spotting me.    The first location I put the antenna was bad, I’m not exactly sure why but the antenna just wouldn’t tune.    So I pulled all the wire/string down, re-oriented the antenna in a different direction.    I got on the air ~1 hour after my posted activation time.

I only had 60 minutes on the summit before we needed to hustle back along the ridge to meet the gondola which was closing at 4:30pm (we thought).    I spent 20 minutes calling CQ on 14.342 with no takers.   With only 40 minutes left, I switched over to 40m and located the trans provincial net.   I completed a QSO with the net controller VE3SAO,  so that’s one of my four required QSOs in the book.   I spent another 15 minutes calling CQ again with no results, so I tuned the band and heard a mobile station K8HGY calling CQ.   Rich gave me a 3×3 report but that was my second QSO on the books.

I spent the remaining time calling CQ on 40m and 60m but with no takers.    As it was time to pack up I tuned over 40m and heard KB1LV in Vermont chatting with KC2DIA in New York.   I broke into the conversation and they were kind enough to exchange signal reports with me to complete my four QSOs.

Yay!

It was a fun day, lovely weather for a hoke, no mosquitoes or blackfly yet and a cool breeze… lovely!

Here are some photos, click to view larger version.

Not Far to Go

Not Far to Go

Snow

Snow

SOTA Yay

SOTA Yay

On the Trail

On the Trail

Martin

Martin

Fariba

Fariba

Fiddleheads

Fiddleheads

On Trail

On Trail

On Trail

On Trail

Start Hike

Start Hike

Bzz de VA3SIE/P … QRP fun in the skeeter hunt 2013

By , August 12, 2013 12:46 am
Martin sitting at park bench sending CW

Park Bench BZZ

The 2013 running of the NJQRP Skeeter Hunt was today.  This QRP sprint-style contest has multipliers for home brewed equipment and operating portable.  There is also a bonus for operating from a body of water.

I own two HF portable radios.  My Elecraft KX3 was shipped factory built and is all mode, all band.  My Elecraft KX1 on the other hand arrived in bags of components and I had to solder the components onto the board, wind the toroids, etc.   It was a tricky radio to put together as it is so small…   you actually have to bend some of the capacitors over so that they make room for other components sticking out of daughter boards.  

The KX1 only does four bands 80m, 40m, 30m and 20m and one mode – CW.  The contest also has a CW-only category.  So my KX1 was the radio of choice today as it is also ultra-portable.

APRS Route to Bate Island

APRS Route to Bate Island

I thought about where to operate near a body of water.  I decided to operate from Bate Island.  This island sits in the middle of the Ottawa river half-way between the provinces of Quebec and Ontario.  It is in Ontario though barely.  The island has picnic benches and tall trees on it, perfect for portable radio.  My bicycle is equipped for APRS.  I packed the KX1 and a dipole into my bicycle and set off for the island.  It’s around a 30 minute ride from home.  The National Capital Commission shut down the parkway on Sunday mornings so it was a fantastic ride to the island on car-free roads!!!

Martin at Park Bench on Bate Island

Martin at Park Bench on Bate Island

Upon arrival at 12:50pm local time, I wasted no time throwing up the dipole.   This is an 88′ doublet made from #26AWG teflon coated, silver plated wire fed with 300Ω TV twinlead.   Setup consists of throwing a fishing weight connected to bright yellow string over one tree, then over another.  The string is tied to the ends of the doublet.  I then pull the wires tight and tie the strings off on low branches while leaving a little for tree movement.  

I have 50′ of twinlead attached and if the trees are a little short or if I deliberately do not throw the weight very high to limit the risk of hitting other park users, parked cars or a highway bridge running over the center of the park (as was the case today!) I am left with some spare feedline.  I try to drape it over bushes or otherwise keep it from running across the ground for any significant length.  Today I taped it to the top of my bicycle 2m antenna to keep it off the ground.

I was on the air by 1:15pm, 15 minutes into the contest.  It’s been a while since I last used my KX1 and it was a real pleasure to use it again.   The KX1 does not produce very strong audio on 20m well at lest mine doesn’t.  I really had to strain to hear most of the stations.   The band however was in great shape.  I was hearing stations all across the US.  AB9CA and KX0R were consistently strong throughout the day.  I worked those two stations and 3 others in the first half hour of operating.  I was able to contact stations in Wisconsin, Alabama, Colorado and New Jersey on 20m.

Martin Bike & Feedline

Martin Bike & Feedline

I was scanning from 14.060 to 14.064 hunting skeeters.   Every time I would go past 14.060 I would hear a strong contest station just below the QRP watering hole on 20m.  I recalled that there were more points for contacting DX stations so I threw out my callsign and TF/LX1NO heard me from Iceland…  cool.   I really like the extra gain from the 88′ doublet on 20m where it acts as an extended double-zepp.

I jumped down to 40m for a bit and made contact with skeeter #1 KX9X in CT who had a blasting strong signal.  Both Sean and W3BBO were consistently string, buzzing around 7.040 all afternoon.  I also made contact with a station calling CQ SOTA on 7.033MHz.  Dave had a very strong signal also from his summit in NJ.  Highlights on 40m included WQ4RP making a massive effort to complete our QSO (he just keep asking me to repeat my call and exchange, maybe 15 times!! until we got the QSO done – *Thanks*)   and also working VE2DDZ in QC.  Malcolm is also an active SOTA activator rounding out the first hour.  After this 40m jaunt I had added Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, North Carolina and Quebec.

Dipole feed point

Feed Point

I flipped the switch back up to 20m and almost immediately stumbled across Bob VA3RKM.  Bob had set up his KX3 portable station just a little farther up the Ottawa River from me.  Bob had a nice strong signal on 20m :-)  I managed to work a few new states on 20m in the second hour.   Missouri, Pennsylvania, Nebraska, Georgia, Alabama, Florida and even Pennsylvania and of course Ontario rounding out the second hour.

 

For the 3rd hour I popped back down to 40m and started calling CQ.   I got a call from Bob just up the river and added Ontario to my 40m states/provinces.   My wife dropped by at that point with lunch.   A couple of sandwiches from an Italian deli and espresso to go.  Yay!!  I took a break from the radio to enjoy lunch.   I rounded the 3rd hour out with another couple of contacts on 20m (no new states) and some 40m contacts adding New York State.   I also made another couple of contacts with stations in Quebec and Ontario.   Further afield this time.

The final hour had me calling CQ more and soaking up a few more contacts in addition to some rays…  Just as the contest was about to end I tuned across the 40m band and encountered Larry W2LJ.  I was very happy to be able to squeeze Larry into my log as it have me the opportunity to say a big 73 and THANKS for organizing this contest.

Martin standing beside park bench at Bate Island, river in background

Martin at Bate Island

Here is my log summary:

Martin – VA3SIE/P – ON
Skeeter #52 – CW Only 
Skeeter QSOs – 27
Non-Skeeter QSOs – 5
DX QSOs – 1
S/P/Cs – 18
Station Class Multiplier X4
Claiming Bonus – Yes

 Claimed Score:

(27 × 2) + (5 × 1) + (1 × 3) =  62 QSO Points × 18 S/P/Cs = 1116 × 4 (Portable, Kit mult) = 4464 + 500 (Body of Water bonus) = 4,964.

 

QRP Portable from Cedar Lake, Algonquin Park

By , August 5, 2013 1:15 am
Martin playing radio at a park bench, Cedar lake in the background

Playing radio by the lake side

Back in the middle of winter, when the snow was deep and the nights were short, Fariba and I discussed where we should camp this summer.  

One of the trips we booked was to the Brent campground on Cedar Lake in Algonquin Park.  

A fellow radio ham and QRP aficionado, Scott, had told me about Cedar Lake.   He had made a youtube video of his trip there 2 years ago.  This camp ground is reached by driving 3½ hours up past Petawawa and Deep River and then driving for another hour on a gravel forest road.  

The campground does not have electricity (other than generators) or phone/cellular service.   It does not have shower facilities nor flush toilets.  It does however offer campsites which are very large and secluded (in comparison with other Ontario Parks).  Our site (#28) and the site next to it were the only sites on that part of the lake shore and there was a beach at the sites for accessing the lake with the canoe.   The vault toilets were only a short walk from the site.

Canoe paddles up against park bench with KX3 radio, jerky and camping stuff, lake in background

The campsite, KX3 and paddles.

We arrived at 7pm on Friday evening and quickly set up our tent and grabbed dinner (3 bean chilli) because we knew rain was in the forecast;   we had driven though some fairly intense thunder showers on the way to the park.   Rain started out light as we cleaned up after dinner and sat by the fire.   By 10pm it had gotten a bit heavier.   Throughout the night, the rain intensified and was accompanied by thunder and a few strokes of lightning.   Our new car camping tent (A Eureka Bon Echo Tour 500) withstood the rain very well, we remained dry and comfortable.

 

I also took the time to set up an HF antenna before the rain started.  A W3EDP-esque inverted-L with an 84′ driven element up 31′ using a jackite pole and the remaining 53′ horizontal across the top of the camp site.  Along with breakfast (Mary Jane’s Farm Outpost Outrageous Outback Oatmeal and Nescafe 3-in-one cooked over an LPG stove and a banana) I tuned in the Ontario Amateur Service Net (ONTARS) on 3.755MHz SSB.  I checked in using 12W and started chatting with the net controller.  The KX3 speech compressor really makes the most of the 12W signal and using a Heil microphone helps to produce punchy audio.  I received very good signal reports on Saturday morning.

Martin playing radio, tent in background

CQ on SSB from VA3SIE/P

Another station (who was VERY strong – 59+30dB) popped in and asked:  “Did someone just check in from Cedar Lake in Algonquin Park?”   well…    by coincidence it was Scott, the same fella who had told me about Cedar Lake last year and he was out camping on one of the islands in the middle of the lake!   I hadn’t checked our local QRP club reflector recently so I did not know that our trips would crossed paths.  

It was a very pleasant surprise indeed.  

I was able to share a weather report which I had grabbed on my way through the park office the previous evening and after we finished chatting, the net controller provided us both with a freshly updated weather report right there and then.  Thanks for letting us monopolize the net frequency and for the weather reports, ONTARS!!

Fariba and I spent the day canoeing on the lake, collecting firewood for kindling.  We did not venture far because the weather forecast called for higher winds and isolated showers…  we didn’t want to get stranded.  Once we got back to the campsite, I fired up the radio again and spent the remainder of the afternoon enjoying back country QRP (zero noise floor!).  The bands were in fantastic shape, 15m was wide open, 12m was also active though that was the limit.   One highlight of the afternoon operating was making 20m CW contact with a Summits-On-The-Air station, KX7L was on Mt. Gold in Western Washington State.  We exchanged 569/579 reports.

In the evening, we popped the cork on a lovely bottle of Châteauneuf-du-Pape and as we were preparing dinner, I checked in with ONTARS again then listened along…  We received a visit from Larry and Sky, two of the Park staff who were doing a firewood run and while I was chatting to them about ham radio, I heard Scott check in to the net.   It was fun to demonstrate QRP radio to the park staff by making contact with Scott  8-).  We moved off the net frequency and reduced power to 1W with my KX3, Scott dialed his all the way back to 300mW and we still had a 5×9 contact  :mrgreen:    Scott confirmed that the winds were very strong, indeed near gale force in the Southern part of the lake.   I’m glad we never ventured far.   It was fun catching up…

I checked into another couple of 80m nets later in the eveing.   I caught the tail end of the sandbox round table net on 3.733MHz SSB and then the 3730 net on 3.730MHz SSB.  Waves of light sprinkles of rain started up around 10pm and after the 3rd time packing up the KX3 and then unpacking it again, I gave up and hit the hay.  

On sunday morning, over breakfast (Warm granola with raspberries and milk to which I added dried blueberries) I checked in to ONTARS again and the net controller passed along a rather surprising weather forecast.  The forecast overnight temperature was +4°C.  We did not encounter Scott on the ONTARS net on Sunday morning, probably just missed each other.  At any rate, we decided not to stay for the last night because we did not bring very much in the way of cold weather gear.  We were not expecting this kind of cold.  A huge THANK YOU to the ONTARS net for being there and providing us with weather updates.

We took the tent apart, drying it out in the sunshine, had lunch at the camp ground and then drove back to Ottawa.   On the way we stopped at the Brent Impact Crater to visit and also to log the earth cache.

Plus Four

Plus Four

 

Photo Gallery

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SOTA from Mont Tremblant VE2/LR-002

By , July 25, 2013 4:11 pm
Martin & Fariba at the start of the hike

Hiking up Mont Tremblant

This past weekend (Saturday July), Fariba and I participated in the VE2 Summits On The Air Mega Activation 2013 event.  This was a gathering of SOTA enthusiasts, camping in Mont Ste. Anne near Quebec City.  That’s a 5 hour drive from Ottawa.  Due to the fact that we could not leave work until 5pm on Friday, we chose instead to drive 90 minutes to Mont Tremblant in the Laurentian Mountains instead.  

So we put another VE2 summit (VE2/LR-002) on the air along with the other summits:

 
    15:00 VA3SIE/VE2/P on VE2/LR-002 7.032-cw,7.285-ssb,14.063-cw,14.342-ssb
  *MEGA* Activation of VE2 Summits – http://goo.gl/bpxNY (Posted by VA3SIE)
     15:30 VA2FDT/P on VE2/QC-008 7.032-cw,14.062-cw
  +/- 1h (Posted by VA2FDT)
     16:00 VA2OTA on VE2/QC-003 14.064-cw,10.120-cw,7.028-cw,146.52-fm
  VE2Megactivation – aprs.fi VA2SG-7 – Pse work all of us tnx (Posted by VA2SG)
     16:00 VE2PID on VE2/ES-018 14.062-cw,10.120-cw,7.032-cw,146.52-fm
  With Jean VE2JCW SOTA Megactivation (Posted by VE2PID)
     16:00 VE2JCW on VE2/ES-018 14.060-cw
  es others bands (Posted by VE2JCW)
     16:00 VA2VL/P on VE2/QC-147 14.062-cw,14.285-ssb,7.032-cw,7.285-s
  Mégactivation, also on 2m fm and cw (Posted by VA2VL)
     16:00 VE2 & CO on VE2/QC-??? 14.062-cw,14.345-usb,7.200-lsb,7-032-cw
  Some activators did not post alerts. Watch for them also ;-) (Posted by VA2SG)
     16:00 VA2RAC on VE2/QC-003 7.280-ssb18.130-ssb21.285-ssb
  Special callsings from Radio Amateur of Canada OP:Gil VA2CG (Posted by VA2CG)
     17:00 VE3EMB on VE2/QC-003 14.285-usb,146.52-fm
  M E G A C T I V A T I O N V E 2 S O T A (APRS VE3EMB) (Posted by VE3EMB)
     17:00 VA2IEI/P on VE2/QC-184 7.280-ssb,14.342-ssb
  MEGACTIVATION VE2 pour novice (Posted by VA2IEI)
     18:00 VE2PBZ on VE2/QC-003 14.285-usb,146.520-fm
  Megactivation VE2SOTA.ORG ; VE2PBZ-7 on APRS.FI (Posted by VE2PBZ)

The true summit of the Mont Tremblant massif is the Johannsen Peak.  At 968m, it’s an 8 point summit (just 32m short of a 10 pointer).  The hiking trail (Johannsen Trail) to the summit is a 7km trek at a steady 10% incline.  The trail crosses a few streams which SEPAQ have constructed bridges over and a few boggy regions which have also been bridged with planks or branches.  The summit at the top is a cleared area with a summit marker.  There are tall trees all around the clearing.

I purchased a day access pass from SEPAQ before leaving home.

For a change of scenery we chose to hike back along the ridge line of the massif to the top of the ski trails along the Summits Trail.  This trail dips down around 100m and then back up to some smaller peaks affording one or two nice view points.  There is no view at Johannsen and only one brief view point about  of the way up the climb.  This trail is 5km in length, dips down to 780m at points but ends up just 50m or so below the elevation of the Johannsen Peak.

By the time we completed all this hiking we chose to ride the cable car back down the mountain to the ski village.

VE2/LR-002 Trail Map

VE2/LR-002 Trail Map

 

I was using my Yaesu VX-8r to monitor repeater VE2RBH near a summit in the OU region (Riopon, QC –  Summit Le Grand Pic VE2/OU-005).  That repeater is 69km from Mont Tremblant and once I was about 1/3 of the way up the trail I was able to use it fairly consistently.  I made contact with Roger VE3NPO who loves close to my home QTH.  Roger was in his cottage and without power.  A powerful storm had swept through the region the previous day.  The storm had whipped up tornados and produced heavy rain and damaging hail.

I was also beaconing APRS.  Once I got up around 1/2 of the way to the summit, digipeaters on summits Mont Ste. Marie VE2/OU-001 (105km distant) and Mont Laurier VE2/LR-001 (94km distant) were able to pick up my packets and re-broadcast them to local digigates and my track started showing up on the internet via APRS-IS.  Patrick ON4CDJ and likely others were following my track on sites like APRS.fi and watching my progress.  During the activation I also received APRS messages from JP VA2SG advising me of heavy rain and Fred DL9MDI encouraging me to SOTA Fever.

ON4CDJ tweeted that he was following my hike via APRS

Tweet from ON4CDJ

I guess the rain which JP mentioned was the storm which has blown through this region on Friday… it was moving East.  The weather at Mont Tremblant was great.  It was a little cool on the hike up which was welcome and the weather was a mixture of sun and intermittent clouds, brightening up to consistent sunshine for the hike back down.  Sunday was a scorching hot day which I spent by the pool-side in our hotel at the base of the mountain, glad we never activated on Sunday, too hot.

APRS Messages

APRS Messages

 

Setup

VA3SIE at the summit of Mont Tremblant sitting on a chair with KX3 on lap

Summit Mont Tremblant

At the summit, I set up an 84′ inverted-L antenna made from #26AWG silver plated teflon coated wire by throwing the antenna wire over a tall pine on one side of the clearing and attaching string to the end of the wire and throwing it across the clearing over another tall tree.  I use fishing weights for this.  The inverted-L went up vertically from my operating location around 30′ and then horizontal for the remaining 54′.  There were two other hikes who arrived and were amused by my efforts (took a few attempts to get the wire placed optimally).  One of the hikers asked to take a photo with us.   I set up two counterpoise wires running back into the bush behind my operating position around 5 feet off the ground.  One 31′ wire for 40m and one 16′ wire for 20m.

I set up a small camp chair at the bottom of the antenna wire and brought out my Elecraft KX3 radio and connected it to the antenna using a banana plug to BNC converted (pomona).  I hooked up the battery (a rugged lithium iron unit from buddipole), morse paddles and finally a Heil BM-10-5 headset which has fantastic audio and is very light.  I was all set to go by 1545Z.

 

40m SSB

Signpost at the Summit

Signpost at the Summit

I tuned first on 40m SSB to 7.285MHz to see if I could hear any other mega activation stations.  Tuning around and I bumped into adventurer Denis VA2IEI very weak on 7.280MHz.  Denis was on VE2/QC-147 (Cap Gribane).  I called Denis a few times and he was able to pick me up.  We had just completed exchanging our signal reports and summit references when an extremely loud carrier appeared right on frequency.  It was a carrier of an AM amateur station who had not bothered to check for the presence of other operators on his carrier frequency.  Not to worry though, the first contact was in the bag.   And it was a Summit-to-Summit contact!!

I did note a spot for VA2VL/P on the same mountain (20m) but I did not hear him. 

Sat 15:46 VA2VL/P on VE2/QC-147 14.0624 cw
  *CQ CQ at 17 wpm. S/N=18 dB at NY3A {Via RBNGate} (Posted by KU6J)

I spotted myself using my blackberry and then I remained on 40m SSB for 15 minutes working a variety of chaser stations.  The SOTA Jerks popped up out of the ether as NE1SJ, they had mounted an expedition to Mt. Greylock and they were looking for mega-activation stations.  Fantastic, another Summit-to-Summit contact on 40m SSB.  It was great to work Frandy N1FJ and Jim KK1W from Mont Tremblant.

 

20m SSB

View from the Summit Trail

View from the Summit Trail

I shifted gears up to 20m SSB next.  I parked myself on 14.280MHz, checked that the frequency was clear and then set the KX3 to calling CQ.  The KX3 will record a CQ call from the microphone and then play it out at intervals.   What a nifty feature!!   Once the KX3 was hard at work, I spotted myself again using the blackberry.  I have enjoyed viewing pictures and reading accounts of some of the activations achieved by these same chasers who I was working from Mont Tremblant.  So it was a real pleasure to recall images while I was chatting away.

I suspect that I have made contact with Phil NS7P, Rich N4EX and Dennis WA2USA on pretty much every SOTA activation I have done in North America.   They are all super sloths (more than 10,000 chaser points).   To put that into perspective this contact earned each of them 8 additional points.  N4EX is a double super sloth (more than 2 X 10,000 points) Everyone was keen to work mega-activation stations so I was pleased that I made the effort to hike Mont Tremblant.  Thanks Guys!

I hope this blog article gives Dennis WA2USA all the information he needs about Mont Tremblant.   Dennis looks forward to activating Mont Tremblant in future.

I particularly enjoyed my contact with John N0EVH.  I have made many morse code contacts with John as part of the Polar Bear Moonlight Madness Events (PBMME) in the past using my KX1.   So it was interesting to finally be able to put a voice to the fist and share an SSB contact.   :mrgreen:

A quick check of sotawatch at 1615Z after completing a bunch of 20m SSB and I noted that VE2DDZ had started operationing on 20m SSB also just a few kHz down the band.  I tuned down but could not hear him.  I guess the distance between us was too short. 

Sat 16:16 VE2DDZ on VE2/QC-003 14.277 ssb
  *Spot[VE2DDZ]: QRV now (Posted by SMS_NA)

 

20m CW

Fariba on the Hike

Fariba on the Hike

At this point I switched over to 20m CW.  I have been having some trouble with the KX3 paddle so apologies to the chasers for my bad fist.   Pierre VE2PID told me that Elecraft are offering a free kit of parts to rectify the problem which I just ordered online… thanks Pierre!  My first 20m CW contact was with John N0EVH again.  John’s CW signal was much stronger than his SSB signal.  Physics in Action!  I may have copied the next call incorrectly, W5IHI?   Apologies if I messed that up.

20m gave me a string of additional contacts including  newly minted Super-sloth Jack W7CNL who entered super-slothdom on this very weekend and the old goat Steve WG0AT.  There were some concurrent activations being spotted in the US (K0JQZ on W0/SR-064N4SR on W4T/CA-013N0PCL on W6/SD-011).  I did tune over for a Summit-to-Summit attempt with those stations but the propagation Gods frowned upon my attempts.

 

40m CW

Martin on the Hike

Martin on the Hike

I tuned back over to 40m and this time CW.  I received a call from Pierre VE2PID at 1645Z.  I had thought that Pierre might be on a summit, he had alerted a plan to activate J.S.Bourque VE2/ES-018 with Jean VE2JCW.  After I got back and checked the reflector, I discovered that Pierre had postponed his activation and that Jean VE2JCW station had suffered some storm damage.  Yikes!   Hope it wasn’t too bad, Jean!  Pierre described our contact as un contacté très péniblement.  A very painful contact.  

This brings home to me just how powerful the KX3’s filtering is.  Pierre’s signal on my end was a strong 599 signal and easily readable.  I had the DSP noise blanker, noise reduction and a tight filter dialled in to counteract the atmospheric noise from the passing storm.  Pierre was using his (brought out from a well earned retirement) KX1.   I rememeber what thunderstorm QRN sounded like on the KX1  8-)    

I plan to use my KX1 next weekend.   It should be stormy :lol:

Also on 40m CW I had another Summit-to-Summit contact with NE1SJ on Mt. Greylock W1/MB-001.  I enjoyed a CW contact with Phil VE1WT because he checked in again on SSB later in the afternoon, so like N0EVH before him, I had a chance to put a voice to the fist.  Another QRP Polar bear in this bunch was Scotty KG3W.   I was also pleased to make contact with a station in my home QTH of Ottawa, Ontario.  It was Dave VE3KLX, a member of my local QRP chapter.  Fantastic!

I rounded the afternoon’s radio operations off with a stint on 40m SSB.  Apart from a surprise visit by VE1WT, I have to also say thanks for KJ4ZFK who worked hard against the QRN to complete the final QSO of the afternoon.

 

Hike Down

Hike Down

Hike Down

We decided to exit via the cable car because there is a beautiful 5km hike along the ridge line along the top of the massif.  The ‘Summit Trail’ dips down into 3 X 100m cols (and climbs)  separating 2 summits both of which have nice views.  There is no view at Johannsen peak.   We could not get a straight answer about when the cable car ceased operation.  Some folks told us it may not be running at all.  Some told us it would take the last passenger at 4pm.  A few said 4:30pm.  We timed our packup of the station and our hike along the ridge to reach the cable car at 4pm to be on the safe side.

When we got to the cable car, out of breath because we really rushed the last half of the hike, we discovered that it closes at 6:30pm that evening due to a private function in the ski station.   It’s a shame we didn’t know that ahead of time because as we were hiking along, I got a tweet from Szabi VA2FDT that he had waited out a big rain shower and was just setting up his station at Mont Val-Belair VE2/QC-008.   I also started seeing some spots from the mega activation VA2OTA at Mont Ste. Anne VE2/QC-002 as well.  Oh well never mind, next time I’ll telephone the cable car station from Johannsen to make sure.

The summit trail hike was fun and energetic (as we thought we were on a schedule).  The trail climbs up almost (within 50m) to the same height as the true summit at the cable car station, so it was fairly taxing (I got big leg cramps that night).   All in all it was a very successful activation.  30 contacts including a couple of Summit-to-Summits.   More importantly, another VE2 summit on the air during the mega activation and a chance to re-connect with the SOTA community.   As I lounged by the pool in the hotel at the base of the mountain on Sunday with a warm beer in my hand, I realize how much fun it was.

Activation Video

 

Or watch full screen in High Definition:   High Definition

 

 

My Log

Date:20/Jul/2013 Summit:VE2/LR-002 (Mont Tremblant) Call Used:VA3SIE/VE2/P Points: 8 Bonus: 0 

Time Call Band Mode Notes
15:48z VA2IEI 7MHz SSB Summit-to-Summit VE2/QC-147 (Cap Gribane)
15:56z N4LA 7MHz SSB Thank Todd
15:56z N1EU 7MHz SSB Thanks Barry
15:56z KK1W 7MHz SSB Summit-to-Summit W1/MB-001 (Mount Greylock)
15:58z NE1SJ 7MHz SSB Summit-to-Summit W1/MB-001 (Mount Greylock)
16:06z NS7P 14MHz SSB Cheers Phil
16:07z ND0C 14MHz SSB Thanks Randy
16:10z N0EVH 14MHz SSB Cheers John
16:11z WA2USA 14MHz SSB Thanks Dennis
16:12z N4EX 14MHz SSB Thanks Rich
16:13z W6UB 14MHz SSB Cheers Larry
16:13z N4EMG 14MHz SSB Thanks for persisting, Ed!
16:28z N0EVH 14MHz CW CW as well as SSB. Cool. Thanks John
16:30z W5IHI 14MHz CW Correct call?
16:30z W7CNL 14MHz CW Thanks Jack
16:32z NO2D 14MHz CW Cheers Pete
16:33z K4EAY 14MHz CW Thanks Carl
16:35z AA4AI 14MHz CW Cheers Bob
16:38z WG0AT 14MHz CW Thanks Steve. Go GOATS!
16:39z W7RV 14MHz CW Cheers Tom
16:45z VE2PID 7MHz CW Thanks for persisting, Pierre
16:50z NE1SJ 7MHz CW Summit-to-Summit W1/MB-001 (Mount Greylock)
16:57z KG3W 7MHz CW Thanks Scott
17:00z K2YGM 7MHz CW Cheers Bob, ur 3W FB
17:02z VE1WT 7MHz CW Thanks Phil
17:02z VE3KLX 7MHz CW Cheers Dave
17:08z N1AW 7MHz SSB Thanks
17:09z VE1WT 7MHz SSB Nice SSB thanks!
17:10z NE4TN 7MHz SSB Thanks Walt
17:16z KJ4ZFK 7MHz SSB Thanks for hanging in there, John!

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