Bearwallow, North Carolina
Bearwallow Mountain (W4C/CM-068) is a popular bald summit south of Asheville, NC. The summit hosts the several radio towers and antennas giving the summit a hellish VHF RFI operating situation.
While the views are amazing, HF is probably the preferred mode of operating here.
Summit Name: Bearwallow, (W4C/CM-068)
Location: Asheville, NC
Date: January 16th, 2021
Points: 6 + 3 (Winter Bonus)
County: Henderson County
Weather: Partly cloudy, 32 degrees
On a Scale of 1 to 5
As part of my master SOTA plan of activating a SOTA summit in every state that has one, this was the second SOTA summit on a 8 day road trip through the south and part of the midwest.
We had planned the day to hike Mt Pisgah which sits off the Blue Ridge Parkway. Having done my homework I knew major portions of the BRP were closed due to snow and ice. There was a back way to the summit that I had taken before last time I activated Pisgah which involves a very windy mountain pass. As we made our way up the pass and were about 2 miles from where we would park, we came across a van stuck on the road. The road was a sheet of ice and the road camber made it a deadly combo. I put on my microspikes and walked over the to the van to make sure no one was inside. Whoever was there had left, I guess waiting for a tow truck or warmer weather, which ever came first.
We headed back to Asheville and decided to do one of the backup summits that I had researched prior to the trip. Bearwallow is a popular hike in the area due to the open summit and views. We took a back way to the trailhead and were able to secure a parking spot along the road. We weren’t the only out of state tags parking there.
After getting geared up, we headed to the trailhead. The trail that runs parallel to the tower road was closed due to the weather, so we squeezed through the gate and headed up the road. Halfway up we encountered ice so we used our microspikes. A short while later we reached the summit and I attempted a quick VHF 2m simplex activation but the RFI at the site was probably some of the worst I have encountered. I managed one contact and quickly switched over to HF. At this point the weather had turned to sleet and snow. I found a perfect tree branch to get my antenna up and got on the air. Banged out a bunch of contacts on 20 and 40meters. Sending code was difficult due to my frozen hands. The antenna mast which was being propped up by our packs fell over so my wife pulled antenna mast duty.
In the process, I managed to snap one of the mast sections, though it was still usable. After a while the whole activation became untenable so we packed it up and headed back to the car.
This activation gave me enough points (1001) to reach SOTA Goat. Thanks goes out to all the chasers who contacted me and allowed me to reach this awesome milestone in my SOTA career.
On the Air:
2,20 & 40 Meters
FM & CW
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