barnard mountain SOTA

Backbone Mountain, WV

Backbone Mountain (W8V/PH-058) is located near Thomas, West Virginia and is a walk up summit right off the road. Several communications towers are the top and there is plenty of parking at the base.

I was on the road heading to Ohio so this site was a perfect place to stop for a quick activation.

Summit Information:

Summit Name: Backbone Mtn, (W8V/PH-058)

Location: Thomas, WV

Latitude/Longitude: 39.1475,-79.5706

Date: March 26rd, 2021

Parking: Free


Points: 8 + 3 (Winter Bonus)

County: Tucker County

Grid: FM09fd

Weather: Partly cloudy, 54 degrees

Permit: No

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Sugarloaf Mountain




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I had attempted this super easy walk site before during the winter and failed miserably.

Two months later the temperatures were much more amendable. Before getting to the site, we stopped in nearby Thomas, West Virginia. Yep that is right…I have my own town in WV. While it is a small town, it gets a lot of tourist traffic from DC and surrounding areas.

The notable thing about this town (along with my last name) is the restaurant, Farm Up Table. My wife and I were walking around town and needed lunch before heading out to Backbone summit so we stopped at Farm Up Table and got lunch to go.

At Backbone is a nice parking lot that overlooks the valley and is the perfect place to eat lunch. I got a Cuban sandwich and I honestly have to say it was one of the most incredible sandwiches I have ever consumed. Now I may not be a sandwich connoisseur however I have eaten enough of them to know when one is amazing. For the record, I did live in Key West, FL for several years where I ate my fair share of Cuban sandwiches.

After stuffing my grocery hole, I threw on my pack and headed the whole .10 mile to the summit. My wife offered to drive up to the top but I am a purist. That and the fact I needed to walk off lunch.  My wife joined and was quickly pressed into service as a temporary antenna mast holder.  I managed four CW contacts on 40 meters and called it for the day. We still had a lot of driving ahead of us and this was more to complete the summit than anything.
The summit itself is pretty boring with minimal views. 2M simplex seemed sparse both times I visited. There is also a lot of commercial RF activity which caused issues as well.

I wouldn’t make a special trip for this summit unless you were in the area. Then again, a Cuban sandwich and an easy walk up 8 pointer might be worth the trip.

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