Ham Radio

Activating W4T/SU-099 & W4T/SU-079

For a while I’ve been wanting to get back in to Summits on the Air. When I first got into Ham radio I did two fun activations and then got into lots of other aspects of the hobby. Such is life, everything comes full circle and most times one winds up back at the start in some form or another

SOTA is appealing to those who enjoy some adventure and hardship with their radio activities. The nice trade off is that one only has to make contact with 4 unique chasers to get credit for activating the mountain and in theory, the higher you go, the easier making the contacts should be.

Around here in the valley between the Cumberland Plateau and the Appalachian Mountains, there is no shortage of summits or Ham operators. This makes getting contacts pretty simple even with just a hand held and slim jim antenna or a beam antenna if you want some gain. HF can be fun to capitalize on those summit to summits but hardly necessary. Personally, I live in a fairly low area where VHF/UHF simplex is almost non existent. HF comes easy at home, so at a summit my preference is to drag my VHF/UHF gear along and light up FM, SSB, and sometimes digital modes. There is nothing else like making ground wave contacts over long distances with 2m and 70cm. It can be just as, if not more confusing and quirky as HF conditions.

I’ve been wanting to go up to the Cherokee National Forest and play radio for a while now. There are vast open areas of forest and no civilization for miles. This means no RFI and that feeling that you’re truly on your own. After some research, it was obvious that activating both Chilhowee Mountain and Oswald Dome was the most efficient way to get the most out of the trip.

Here are some pictures from my Chilhowee Mountain Activation…..

After a sporty drive on the forestry service road I activated Oswald Dome…..

I stopped at a few places on the way down too…….