I took the day off work today, and the weather looked okay so I jumped on my bicycle after lunch and cycled up into Gatineau Park. I was heading for a location suggested by Tom, he calls it the ‘Super Secret Location‘ (#6). The ride to the operating location was 13km in length and hard work once I was in the park, lots of climbs.
I set up just off trail #26 not far from trail #5. There was a nice cleared area with some tall trees.
I tied a rock to the end of some string and threw it over a couple of tall trees (around 40′ up in the air). I pulled an 84′ wire through the tress with the string, ending up with an inverted-L W3EDP-esque antenna. I connected two counterpose wires (16′ and 32′) and I was able to support these at 8′ over the ground in small trees.
As I was finishing the antenna, my cellphone bleeped with news that a couple of Summits On The Air (SOTA) summits were on the air: Dave WN1E was on Mount Greylock W1/MB-001. He was on 20m CW. Chuck K4QS on North Marshall Mountain W4/SH-009 and
Batman JP and Robin VA2SG/P & VE2DRO were on Mont Blanche (White Mountain) VE2/SG-011.
All three of them started on 20m and I tuned to 20m to see if I could hear them. I thought that I could hear Chuck bur after listening for a while I realized that I was hearing other stations working Chuck, not Chuck himself. I could not hear the other stations at all 😥 I spent an hour listening for them to QSY to 40m and hoping that propagation would shift.
Finally at 1900Z, I heard Chuck on 40m but the there was extreme interference from lightning (QRN) and his signal was light around RST 449 with QSB so I could only get little snatches of his callsign. I called him when I thought he was asking for callers and I passed my signal report. I heard RST 339 in response, Yay!! My ‘chase’ was successful. A couple of times I called Chuck back and repeated my exchange just to be sure, sorry for the QRM Chuck, but the QRN was wicked.
At 1945Z I head a station calling CQ QRP on 40m (7.034 MHz) so I decided to take a break from SOTA chasing. It was Bob WK1N, he was on the air with 5W into a G5RV. He had a honking FB signal, RST 589 and I could hear him under the QRN. We had a short QSO and compared notes about our QRP equipment before Bob had to leave. Great to work a fellow QRP op !!
On the way back, I found a geocache and left an Algonquin Park pin in it.
The return trip brought my total kilometers cycled to a round 30.
All in all, a great day. I had originally planned to activate VE2/LR-002 Mont Tremblant today but when I got home and checked the weather radar I realized that was where all the lightning was – right over the summit. Good call to do a SOTA chase today instead!!