On a Scale of 1 to 5
On The Air:
Number of QSO's
This hike was #6 out of my 7 days of SOTA Activations. Due to the Park Loop being closed, I had to get creative in finding access to Pemetic Mountain.
My solution was to park at the head of Eagle Lake road and hike in to the trailhead. This would add several miles to my trip but worth it overall.
Prior to Acadia becoming a national park, a lot of the land was owned by John D. Rockefeller Jr. (Standard Oil fame). He preferred to ride by motor free byways so he had over forty five miles of carriage roads built. He later donated the land to the US government. These carriage roads still exist today.
My plan was to hike on the carriage trail along Eagle lake to the trailhead. Signs were posted no access on the carriage trails but a ranger who was nearby said as long as we were walking and not riding a bike, it was oaky.
I had summited Pemetic before many years ago and it was an abslute pain in the ass. At the time my wife and trail dog were with me. Trail dog had hiked some serious climbs with me in the past (Mt Washington, etc) and managed okay. This hike however he was really struggling. We almost didn’t make it to the top that time.
This activation I chose a more gradual route…nope it still sucked.
While my time to activate was forecasted around 1800z, I was trying to make the summit at 1700z so I could make a 2m simplex contact with Jason, W5IPA who would be flying nearby at that time.
I was about .25 miles from the summit at 1645z so I scurried as fast as I could to the top and set up my J-pole and HT. I started calling but got no response. I later found out he was in the area much sooner than expected so I missed him.
While on 2 meters, I spoke with Andrew, N1WMR who was nearby. He ended up being the only VHF contact that I made. I did briefly hear someone from Machias call but couldn’t make out his call sign.
After eating some lunch, I set up my Packtenna antenna. Options were sort of limited for getting my antenna up. Sometimes you just have to work with what you have on hand.
As I was setting up I noticied the bugs (Maine black flies) were organizing and starting to come out in full force. Bugs in Maine usually go away after the beginning of June. Unluckily for me, it was the end of May.
I got on 20 meters and made a ton of contacts while slapping my face, arms and legs trying not to get eaten alive. While conditions were decent, the distraction of being bitten repeately made it hard to copy and log calls.
My plans were to do CW on 20,30 and 40 meters and some digital (PSK31 and FT8) since I had dragged along my iPad and rasperry pi computer.
This was not going to happen.
I tried to work everyone I could on 20m and then proceded to throw everything into my backpack as quickly as possible. While hiking the bugs really don’t bother you, but when stationary it’s game on.
I made my way back to the car pretty tired. Overall distance was 8 miles half of that on flat gravel carriage roads. A good day and a good hike.