|Lava Butte Summit|
For the February Polar Bear / FYOB combined event, Tim N7KOM, and I wanted to get out and do another joint activation. Since we both had limited time a quick approach summit would give us the best opportunity to make the most of the day so we choose to return to Lava Butte. We activate Lava Butte together back in April of 2022 on our first meeting and outing. He documented the adventure in this youtube video.
Tim picked me up and we drove the short 10 minutes from my house to the base of the butte, pulling off US 97 just at the base of the access road, saving us about 1/4 mile of walking on pavement. We made quick work of the 1.2M paved walk to the top. Upon arrival at the summit we decided that I would take up a working position on the deck of the fire lookout, while Tim setup his station at the base of the lookout. He would setup his K6ARK EFHW in an inverted L configuration, whilst I setup my same antenna in Inverted V, but first we did a quick 2M call on 146.58 and each had our required 4 contacts in less than 10 minutes.
|N7KOM Working 2M FM|
We decided that I would start on 10M and he on 40M working around each other in case of interference. 10 and 15 meters were both ripe with contacts as soon as I spotted myself. I wanted to do the entire activation CW but being a bit rusty, I turned my WPM down to 13. Having only worked 10M voice and never worked 15M in the field, I was surprised by who I was hearing. NC, AL, ME, TN, MS and one VK5 station… that’s Australia!!! Needless to say it was a busy 45 minutes on the higher bands. I attempted to work 17M but with Tim on 20, there was enough interference that I decided to jump down to 40M and work the locals. I worked an S2S with WU7H, WW7D and got N7LFO plus a couple of Canadian stations.
|W7MTB Working 15M Pileup|
Tim brought a small cup of Sake along to take the bite out of the cold. While it was 43 F, there was a brisk breeze out of the SE, and it was hitting me directly on the side as I had to change my position when I extended my wire to 40M. I could tell I was getting brain fried after an hour of operating and decided it was time to call QRT, drink the sake and begin tearing down.
|ICOM IC-705 and Sake, the Japanese know what’s Up|
Tim was in the middle of a huge pileup so I took shelter behind the lookout to let him work through the herd. He wanted to work S2S with WU7H and WW7D on 30m but had to wait for their pileups to cool down first. Once he got them both in the log he packed his Elecraft KX2, K6ARK paddles and EFHW up and we trotted down the hill for an after action beer and burger at The Brown Owl in what is now called the Box Factory plaza in the Old Mill of Bend.
|Tim, N7KOM, working 20M Pileup|
Later, after a nap and some down time with our doggos, I tallied my day: 4 2M FM, 5, 10M CW, 7 15M CW and 7 40M CW, for a total of 23 contacts; not too bad for a guy who spent the past six weeks studying for the Extra exam, not practicing copying CW.
|Alternate Winter Parking|
Lava Butte is an easy walk up in just about any season. It can be accessed via US 97 S, about 4 miles south of Bend, OR. There is a parking lot that is usually open all winter but unmaintained. Optionally, there is a pull out on the side of the highway I’ve circled on the map avoe.