On a Scale of 1 to 5
On The Air:
Number of QSO's
This hike was day 5 of my seven days of SOTA activations.
Champlain summit was a new summit for me. I parked at the Sieur de Mont parking lot and walked 400 feet to the trailhead. From there the trail ascends via stone steps and opens up to some amazing views of the road below.
The summit was empty of people, so I quickly set up my KX3 and Packtenna Random wire atenna. I jammed my antenna mast into the rock crevice and dialed up 20 meters. Scanning across the various bands, conditons sounded rough. Even FT8 was silent. Nevertheless, I spotted myself using the SOTAGoat iOS app and Twitter and started calling CQ SOTA…and called..and called. I heard nothing. I tried 40m with the same results. With no one answering, I switched to 2 meter simplex on both my Ed Fong J-pole and Arrow antenna.
While calling CQ SOTA, I had the Arrow antenna pointed at Cadillac mountain and received a call from K1HF who was in Machias, Maine. I was either getting him off the back side of my Yagi or I was bouncing my signal off of Cadillac mountain. Having experienced this before, I’m going with the backside of the antenna, though bouncing a VHF signal off a mountain would be cool.
Even though I had only managed to snag one contact, since the weather was nice I decided I would stay at the summit until the battery on my HT died. No sooner did I think that, my HT went dead.
I took it as a sign to head back to the car. For a change of scenery I took the Champlain North Ridge Trail which intersects the Park Loop Road. From there it is a short hike back to the car.
Overall, I would consider this hike one of my top 5 favorite hikes. If you are in Acadia, I would do this hike even before Cadillac.
The one downside radio wise is the fact that Cadillac blocks your views (and RF) from the west side. As I descended down the Champlain North Ridge Trail I found some excellent open areas that were still within the activation zone. I would use these areas to activate versus the actual summit. Below is a picture with the coordinates for this location.
I hiked Champlain again and managed to eek out 3 QSO’s on 20m (CW) and 1 on 2m simplex. There was a ton of intereferance from a local NOAA weather station transmitter. If your going to activate in Acadia National Park, I recommend a good 2m bandpass filter.