SOTA-rama in the Ozarks

SOTA-RAMA in the Ozarks

April 4-7, 2013

If you thought there were lots of W0M-Missouri SOTA activations in the Eureka Springs Escarpment Region (ES) of Missouri plus a lot of activations in the Buffalo River Region of AR over the week-end, there's a good reason for it.  A goodly number of SOTA enthusiasts from MO, AR, NM, and KS gathered in Branson, MO to attend the 10th Anniversary of OzarkCon 2013, the excellent QRP conference sponsored by the Four State QRP Group (MO, AR, KS, OK).  SOTA had a good presence in the vendor exhibit area with two tables filled with pictures of SOTA adventures and lots of handouts for visitors.  KD5ZZK, W4RK, and W0MNA had a lot of interest shown in their exhibit and I wouldn't be surprised if we had quite a few new SOTA enthusiasts joining the fun in the near future.

Of course, having four (4) MO summits nearby plus quite a few AR summits just over the state line didn't hurt either.  I'm still waiting for tallies of numbers of QSOs from activators, but here is a summary of the separate qualifying activations that occurred from Thursday through Sunday with a nice mix of CW and SSB.  Several of us even got in some VHF Summit-to-Summit contacts.

W0M/ES-001 (Webster County HP) - NM5S, K5SSR, KD5ZZK, N0SA, W4RK

W0M/ES-002 (Romance Lookout) - KD5ZZK, K5SSR, NM5S

W0M/ES-003 (Pilot Knob) - W0MNA, W0AO, N0EVH, N0SA, W4RK

W0M/ES-004 (PT 1270) - W0MNA, W0AO, N0EVH, N0SA, KD5ZZK

W5A/BR-015 (Irons Mtn) - KD5ZZK

W5A/BR-016 (Sugarloaf Mtn) - KD5ZZK

W5A/BR-012 (Whitney Mtn) - KD5ZZK, NM5S, K5SSR

W5O/SO-026 (Hi Early Mtn) - K5SSR, NM5S

I'm sure KD5ZZK probably snuck one in there that I missed, but that is still a nice collection of Activators and Summits.  From my count, that makes 25 separate activations of 8 different summits.  Bear in mind that these activators also attended most of the excellent presentations at OzarkCon and manned the SOTA booth throughout.

Thanks to the 4 State QRP Group for wonderful hospitality and for giving us SOTA hams a good excuse to get together in Branson for some great fellowship with QRPers and doing what we love most: taking those QRP radios up to the summit and giving Chasers a lot of points.  SOTA and QRP makes a good combination.

Now check out photos below of some of the action:

Larry Naumann, N0SA, displayed his very practical setup for using his KX3 and N0SA ESP paddles attached to a compact lapboard for activations.  Note the clip on the right hand side for log sheets.  The paddles feature a quick release to make packing easier.  The KX3 gets securely attached with knurled thumbscrews mating the KX3 to a clever hinge mounted on the lapboard.  The thumbscrews use the stock mounting holes, already in the KX3, intended for the Elecraft KXPD3 paddles.  By the way, the ESP paddles are handcrafted by N0SA in his own shop.  Although Larry is not trying for volume production, he might be talked into building a set for you if you're willing to wait.  There was a lot of interest among OzarkCon attendees.  As a satisfied owner, I can attest to the quality of Larry's craftsmanship.


Here is a part of one of the SOTA display tables at OzarkCon 2013.  Our two tables generated a lot of interest and plenty of questions.  OzarkCon being a QRp event makes for a great combination with SOTA.


W0M - Missouri's Two Most Prolific Activators:

L to R:  Andrew Norman, KD5ZZK, W5A-Arkansas Association Manager,  and

              Larry Naumann, N0SA, long time experienced hiker in the Saint Francois Mountains Region of                 W0M-Missouri

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Larry, N0SA (red T-shirt) and Gary, W0MNA (cap) explain why the KX3 is a good choice for SOTA operations.  Lots of interest among OzarkCon 2013 attendees.

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Benchmark at Webster County High Point (W0M/ES-001) in the Seymour Wildlife Area.  This is the highest summit in the Eureka Springs Escarpment (ES) Region.

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Footings remaining from the USFS observation tower on the summit at Webster County High Point.  W4RK used one of these for his operating position for his KX3


Benchmark on the summit at Pilot Knob (W0M/ES-003), pretty well preserved after 52 years.  Located just a few feet from the old USFS tower footings.

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View from the Pilot Knob summit, down in all directions.  Thanks to no leaf cover yet, Table Rock Lake is visible in the distance.

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W4RK packs up for the descent from Pilot Knob after a successful activation with 30 contacts in the log on CW on 40, 20, 15 meters, plus 2 meter FM.  The KX3 was used for HF and the Yaesu VX-7R for a VHF Summit-to-Summit with Andrew, KD5ZZK who was on W0M/ES-004 (PT 1270).  There were also HF Summmit-to-Summits with K6ILM in California on 15 and 20 meters plus contacts with the UK and Germany on 15 meters.

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Photos courtesy W4RK (iPhone 5)

And now, check out SOTA-rama in the Ozarks through the lens of Gary, W0MNA, a very active SOTA enthusiast from Leavenworth Kansas, as both a Chaser and Activator.

Gary, W0MNA, snaps a picture of his hardy crew at the trailhead just before the ascent of Pilot Knob on Thursday -  L to R: Martha, W0ERI (Gary's XYL), John, N0EVH,  and Bob, W0AO.  This group activated both Pilot Knob and PT 1270, making many Chasers happy with SOTA points on both HF and VHF.


Gary, W0MNA, setting up to make some RF on Pilot Knob.

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John, N0EVH, tunes for a weak one in the comfort of his "home away from home" on Pilot Knob.


Bob, W0AO, making 17 meter SSB QSOs on Pilot Knob.  Bob's sixteen QSO's included DX stations OT4A and DJ5AV.  Good work Bob!

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View from the summit of PT 1270 (W0M/ES-004).  Since PT 1270 is approximately 3 miles North of Pilot Knob, it is noticeably closer to Table Rock Lake when compared with  W4RK's view in the same direction from Pilot Knob.


John, N0EVH, does some straight-key CW on PT 1270 with his KX3.


Prior six (6) photos courtesy of Gary Auchard, W0MNA.

© Bill Gerth 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016