Schoodic Mountain, Maine
Schoodic Mountain (W1/EM-016) is a small local summit near Bar Harbor, Maine that offers amazing views of Mount Desert Island and Downeast Maine. Choosing the time to visit this summit is important as high black fly season can be absolutely brutal. The last time I activated this summit was a hellish landscape of winged insects seeking my blood.
Summit Name: Schoodic, (W1/EM-016)
Location: Donnel Pond Public Lands, Maine
Latitude/Longitude: 44.57361, -68.1467
Date: June 12th, 2021
County: Hancock County
Weather: Sunny, 64 degrees
On a Scale of 1 to 5
Entering the Donnell Pond Public Land, I noticed new signs had been installed since last I had visited. Before it was kind of a wild guess if you were in the right place or not. I decided to re-activate this site as it was a nice bald summit with great views and a perfect spot for the 2021 ARRL June VHF contest. With a little wind and a lot of sunshine at the summit, this was making out to be a really good day to get on the air.
Since it was the VHF contest, I decided to drag several bags worth of radio gear to the summit. In fact, in all the hiking and SOTA activations that I have ever done, this was probably the most gear that I have ever dragged up a summit. It was kind of ridiculous.
Yaesu FT-90 Mobile VHF/UHF radio: I quickly found out that this radio would only receive and not transmit. So much for my idea of a 50W radio for long contacts.
Elecraft KX3: I had recently installed the 2m all mode board in my KX3 and was looking forward to trying it out during a VHF contest. That would have been possible if I had remembered the SMA to BNC adapter. The KX3 2m connection is a SMA which is kind of annoying. Nevertheless, no KX3 VHF for me on this trip.
Yaesu FT1DR: My old HT workhorse that I have been carrying for years.
Packtenna End Fed
Arrow Antenna: I brought along a small tripod to mount my arrow antenna as my original plan of 50W and holding the antenna wouldn’t work, I used a water bottle as a counterweight to keep it from falling over in the wind.
Packtenna 6m dipole: This was the first time I used this antenna and need a way to measure out the correct dipole length while portable. I measured out the proper elements lengths at home and used a piece of string with a knot that I could use as an impromptu measuring device. This saved me from having to carry a measuring tape while portable.
I managed to squeeze out one contact on this antenna but otherwise the band seemed really quiet.
In taking down the mast I realized the BNC connector that I had soldered to the board was completely loose. Later at home when I went to fix this issue I could not get it to solder and remain attached to the board. Perhaps it was bad RF connector?
Regardless of the issue, I would like to carry this antenna again and change out the elements to collapsible tent poles as the OEM expandable elements are pretty fragile. That and the fact I keep loosing the knurled nuts that hold them in place. I have an idea that will involve 3D printing that should solve this issue.
Packtenna 2m Dipole: Brought this antenna but really didn’t use it. Relied more on my Arrrow antenna.
I started out on 2 meters and had a really hard time making contacts. In years past, 2m simplex in coastal Maine has always been super busy. In the last two years or so that hasn’t been the case. Not sure why that it is these days.
I did make one awesome long distance contact into the Canadian Maritimes. There must have been some tropo ducting going on as I have never had such contacts in that direction before. I also spoke to my good friend, Tom (W1NOV) up near Bangor who has been a regular contact every time I come up to Maine to operate.
Lastly I tried to work the ISS satellite pass but ran out of power on my HT just as it was coming overhead. I also didn’t have an extra HT needed to make it a duplex setup. The satellite struggle continues.
Overall, it was a nice day for a hike and activation.
Nice view of Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park.
On the Air:
2 & 6 Meters
FM & SSB
Sign up for my free newsletter
All the latest information on portable operating in the amateur radio world.