After an aggravating day at the J O B, I decided on an impromptu SOTA attempt with my newly built Penntek TR-35. I spent part of my morning building a Google map of an area near Sunriver, OR for a future Moto-SOTA adventure. Most of the summits in the area are drive/ride-ups but there are two that require a short hike, Pistol Butte and Bates Butte. I’ve been up Bates Butte on foot and mountain bike before, so I decided to try Pistol Butte.
|Pistol Butte from the West|
Its about a 3 mile drive on good gravel/dirt after turning off the pavement off South Century Drive ~ 10 miles SW of Sunriver. The access road is rough so I parked the van at the intersection of FS-600 (43.82181, -121.55954) and walked up the road. The road goes up quickly but wasn’t too steep until the last 200 yards or so, where it pitched up dramatically and I was happy I brought my hiking poles. I think the road could be done with a Jeep or motorcycle, I saw evidence of moto and UTV tracks. There is a really nice camp spot just below the summit, where the pitch increases, if so inclined.
|Parking spot and access track|
Once at the top I found a nice spot to setup on the west facing side of what appears to be the remnants of an old fire lookout. Temperatures were in the low 70’s but there was a light breeze so I donned my jacket and sat down to try my hand on 20M. Using the built in memory on the TR-35, I keyed my CQ a couple of times until I had it just right and let’r rip. Crickets. More CQ. More Crickets. After about 35 minutes of nothing hearing anything, I decided to try 40M before packing up and heading out. That is when I noticed the ticks all over the place. I guess the wet spring was good for them, I’m not used to seeing so many ticks in our part of the world and was glad I was wearing long pants, a hat and shirt sleeves (not to self to do a thorough look-see when I get home).
After about 10 minutes of calling CQ on 7.061 I started to get a few responses. Between my nervousness and some QRM, I had to ask for lots of repeats but I managed to confidently copy several QSO’s. I had planned to pack up and 6:45PM to be sure to have light enough to get down and home in time for dinner. I was still short one QSO for the points so I hit the memory key one last time at 6:44:30 and started to pack up my chair. NT6E came back and after only one ..–.. I had my final QSO so it was time to pull the antenna down and get back to the van.