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SOTA – Hello Quebec!

25 Feb

As I started filling my pack last night with all my gear. Little did I know what I would expect today. Would I a make a QSO to the East coast again on 5 Watts or would I just make it around town? As I hiked up further to my destination I looked for a spot that had no hikers, no mountain bikers and or dogs. It was tough. All I know in just 25 years the Santa Monica mountains went from a quick get away from LA to everyone is out here. Everyone equals sudo-hikers in their matching workout outfits on their mobile phones, sudo-hikers with their dogs off leash taking the entire trail.

However I degrees ….

So as I got to my destination, I remember the forecast for today on the bands.
SOTA Solar Weather
It stated that the 10 meter band was supposed to be poor. As a result, I didn’t hold my breath for today. I thought no matter what happens today at least I was able to take a quite hike in the mountains and just relax. However as you will soon see it was not the case.


As I unpacked and setup my gear I took my time this time so that I can get the most efficient antenna.
Deliberately I did not announce myself on SOTA watch so that I wouldn’t feel pressured not to miss any chasers. Now that I look back, it appears my attention to my antenna paid off today. Moreover, I made sure to give attention to the guy wires to be sure my antenna would stay in place due to the high winds that we had. Unfortunately the best SWR I could muster was a 1.9 While I know that is a lot of loss and some hams would say that is sacrilege to even transmit at that level. For me it was good enough since I don’t take this to seriously… I am just having fun and seeing what type of contacts I can make when running QRP.

So once everything was said and done I had my QRP station all setup…
I knew were everything was and I was ready to get on the air. As I self spotted myself on SOTA Watch I called out a CQ and within a couple minutes N4EX returned my call. Just like that either A) my CQ’s were organically built a pile-up or SOTA Watch self spot was starting to point stations my way. I gotta say it was great but I am still trying to understand why a pile starts. It’s not like I am doing any different or special… but then maybe again I am.
As things were starting to heat up and I could hear stations reaching out it suddenly happened! CRASH BAM OH SH*T. I was suddenly off the air in the middle of a QSO! As I started to bring the mast back up…. I mean my painters pole. I saw it, it was a broken Buddipole long whip! Then with out a second thought I ran to my gear and pulled out a spare whip and then within a few minutes (I think) I was back on the air.

However just prior to the breaking of my Buddiepole whip as title of this entry says. Out of the blue here came VE2BCH! With just 5 watts of power I was able to reach and make a QSO all the way to Quebec Canda! I still can’t believe it I made a DX on 5 watts! I can understand a DX to Baja Mexico… or Montreal, Canada… however this was all the way to the east in Canada! I gotta say this is my big fish story. Although in this case this fish didn’t get away. Don’t get me wrong it took some effort to work this station but dang it! I did it!!

So what’s next? If I can make a DX with Quebec, Canada using a 14 foot painters pole, buddipole (rotating arms and long whips), FT-817 with little knowledge of how this is all working. I think the next step is to make a 3 beam buddiepole antenna and pre-messure out all the whips to make some more DX calls on my next SOTA attempt. Oh ya, I need to get some more elevation… I can’t wait until spring so that the higher summits will be easier to reach. Since I have not been hiking for a while trying to up the local mountains in snow is a little beyond me.