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Author: Stuart, KB1HQS

Gear Review: Steripen Ultra

While attending college in Texas, I decided to go hiking in the Hill Country during August with temperatures in the 90’s with high humidity. I underestimated how much water I needed, and ended up eight miles from school severely dehydrated. Since that teaching moment, water has been a high priority for me.   Full Disclosure as Required by the FTC: The SteriPEN Ultra, as shown in this gear review, was provided to me by Hydro-Photon Inc., makers of SteriPEN.   The Science Behind It: SteriPEN Ultra uses UV (Ultra Violet radiation) to deactivate the DNA in harmful organisms found in untreated water. Contrary to popular opinion,...

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Trip Report: Grafton Notch State Park: Newry, Maine Part 2

Date: September 27-28th, 2014 This was the second  trip up to Old Speck mountain for an overnight trip to activate the peak for Summits on the Air (SOTA).  Read about the first trip here. The first time was unsuccessful due to the weather. While I did hike up the peak and camp out at Old Speck pond, I was unable to reach anyone via radio at the summit. Wx: Sunny, high in the low 80’s. Unusually warm weather for Maine in early fall. ** Date: September 27-28th, 2014 This was the second  trip up to Old Speck mountain for an overnight trip to activate the peak for Summits on the Air (SOTA).  Read about the first trip here. The first time was unsuccessful due to the weather. While I did hike up the peak and camp out at Old Speck pond, I was unable to reach anyone via radio at the summit. Wx: Sunny, high in the low 80’s. Unusually warm weather for Maine in early fall. ** Source:Gmap4 Goal/Purpose: To hike to the summit of Old Speck Mountain, camp overnight and attempt a Summit on the Air contact (SOTA) radio contact. Mileage hiked: ~ 9 miles Nights out: 1 Gear: Due to the warm temperatures (low 80’s), shorts and t-shirts with trailrunners were worn.  Pack weight ~22#’s, and included extra radio gear. *** No major gear malfunctions. I did forget the proper charging cable for...

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Grafton Notch State Park: Newry, Maine Part 1

** Date: June 14-15th, 2014 Wx: Windy and rainy with highs in the 60’s. With a recent low pressure system moving through, I was hedging my bets that it would pass overnight and I would wake to dry warm temperatures. It didn’t quite work out that way.   **  Location: Grafton Notch State Park Newry, Maine Old Speck Summit 4,170 ft (1,270 m) (SOTA: W/AM-004) **   Goal/Purpose: To hike to the summit of Old Speck Mountain, camp overnight at Speck Pond (the highest pond in Maine) and attempt an amateur radio Summit on the Air contact (SOTA). Route:Start at the trailhead on Route 26, hike up to Old Speck and down to Speck Pond campsite for the night. The following morning hike back up to Old Speck and attempt radio contact for SOTA.   ** Mileage hiked: ~9 miles Old Speck makes for a challenging climb up to 4,000 feet. Typical for Maine, it’s up or down with no switchbacks, and all roots, rocks and mud. Yep, that is the trail shown below. *** Nights out: 1 Gear: Due to the rain and still mild temperatures (especially at 4,000 feet), I packed semi-winter gear including thermal underwear and a hat. I didn’t pack my rain pants and gloves thinking I wouldn’t need them which I came to regret the next morning. That night at Speck Pond campsite, I slept in a 35 degree synthetic LL Bean...

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Trip Report: Bigelow Mountains: Stratton, Maine

  Date: June 2nd and 3rd, 2014 Wx: Sunny with good visibility. High’s in the 60’s. Excellent early spring weather for hiking. Location: Bigelow Mountain Range.  Stratton, Maine West Peak Summit  4,145 ft (263m)  (SOTA: W1/AM-003) Goal/Purpose: To hike to the summit of West Peak, camp overnight at Horns Pond and attempt my first amateur radio Summit on the Air contact (SOTA). Route: Start at the trailhead on Route 16, hike up to Fire Wardens trail to the Horns Pond Campsite for the night. Next morning, hike to West Peak and attempt radio contact for SOTA. Descend to the trailhead.   Source: Maine Trail Finder...

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