Hello and welcome to my newest amateur radio blog. Unlike my main amateur radio blog, the SOTA Activities of KD0BIK blog (this blog site) will be pretty much dedicated to just my Summits On The Air activities. Also, if the call sign looks familiar. Yes I’m the same KD0BIK who hosts the Practical Amateur Radio Podcast. Haven’t heard of PARP? Please check it out by visiting MyAmateurRadio.com.
Why SOTA and why NOW? Two very good questions. First, please allow me to go back to the future for a minute. The time was the early 80’s and my uncle (K5SOR) and I visited the mountains of Colorado. I was in high school (graduated in 1985) and while I didn’t know yet what I wanted to do in life, I had hoped I might one day be able to do it in Colorado.
A lot of water ran under that bridge until sometime in 1998 when the stars, moon, planets and meeting the right people (and getting the right industry experience) allowed me to move to Denver, Colorado. When I moved out here I had every intention of heading to the mountains each and every chance I could get to hike, backpack, ski and just anything else I could do in the cool, thin Rocky Mountain air.
For the first couple of years I was very much true to my dreams. Growing up in Texas, I had never learned to snow ski. At the age of 33-34 years old I taught myself to ski. During the winter of 1999-2000, I managed some 40+ ski days. Over the next year or two age and my weight began to take a toll on my knees and feet. Unfortunately, I had to hang the skis up. Also during those early days after moving to Colorado I did hike and backpack often. It was a lot of fun seeing the backcountry of Colorado.
Fast forward some thirteen years. It is rare if my wife and I make it up to the mountains once a year. The last time we were both in the mountains was several months ago. We drove up to the Breckenridge, Colorado area and enjoyed a picnic. Yes, we are both very busy with our careers but I know she and I both enjoy escaping the city if only for a few hours at a time.
While I’ve only been a licensed amateur since 2007, amateur radio has been a part of my life since my earliest memories. Getting my license was something I had always wanted to do and I finally got serious about it and earned my ticket in August 2007. I upgraded to the general class in January 2008 and then extra in August 2011.
As I blogged about my first SOTA QSO, I only knew a small amount about the SOTA program. In 2008 I participated in the Colorado 14er. I drove out to a park south of Denver where I had line of sight to many of the Front Range 14’ers and worked about a half dozen stations on V/UHF. It was a lot of fun and I suppose really without knowing it I had started chasing summits. However, as I stated in the above mentioned blog post, I was bitten by the SOTA bug only recently.
I spent the week after my first SOTA QSO chasing other SOTA activations from the comfort of my basement ham shack. To date, I have worked seven SOTA activations and have a total of 22 chaser points. I enjoy chasing SOTA activations, but also equally believe I will enjoy activating as well. I suppose this is the why of SOTA.
Why NOW? As I’ve previously mentioned, my goal for moving to Colorado was to spend time in the backcountry. This was a hobby which I really enjoyed and I can’t think of a better pairing than to match it up with amateur radio. This is where Summits On The Air comes into play.
My short-term goal is to try to activate my first summit for SOTA in the next week or two. With winter fast approaching, some (if not most) summits and the trails getting there will get snowed in. I’m not saying that I’m a fair weather hiker, but I’m also planning on keeping it safe. I plan to focus on summits near to Denver and in the 7,500 – 10,000’ range. With over 200 qualifying summits just in the Denver Front Range area, I’ll have plenty to keep me busy for a long time.
So please check back often to see what I’ve been up to around the activities of SOTA. While it may prove difficult, I plan to restrict myself to just one activation a month for now (of course weather permitting). Over the next few days I plan to put together my gear lists and document other parts of what I plan to make part of my SOTA activities. As is the case with both my other amateur radio blog and my podcast, I do enjoy the aspect of being an Elmer and will be certain to pass along what I learn in the process.
Until next time…
73 de KD0BIK (Jerry)