After a long wait and much hard work by N7UN (Guy) and K6EL (Elliott), Hawai'i Summits On The Air (SOTA) became a reality yesterday (1 Sept, 0000Z). I met K6EL in person for the first time Friday downtown at his hotel in Waikiki and had lunch. We discussed our activation plans and he gave me some last minute advice as this was going to be my first activation. Thankfully, I did not feel like too much like a rookie thanks to Elliott's support.
My eldest son, Kiegan (8), asked to come along. I almost said no as I was too focused on getting on the air and had forgot that this is supposed to be fun too. He quickly talked me into it and the two of us were off to climb Koko Crater trail to activate KH6/OH-021. This was the second time we have climbed this peak together. We had a great father-son day. He helped pull his dad (figuratively) up the hill with his coaxing. This was the first hiking with a substantial backpack and boy am I reconsidering trading out the 9 Ah sealed lead-acid battery for something lighter. It took us 45 minutes to reach the 1208' summit; respectable considering my 35 lb pack and the temperature close to 90F. The Koko Crater trail is a beast. Think Stair Master on steroids. The old supply tram rail provides the 1000+ steps needed to reach the top. However, it can prove somewhat dangerous descending if your legs are tired. There are many tripping hazards on the way up and down. Kiegan actually did a somersault (not on purpose) about half way down; he was okay but definitely more dusty than before.
At the top we got to work setting up. Kiegan again was a great help and seemed to enjoy helping Dad hook up all the connections. I made a quick contact with KQ0C (working the Colorado QSO party) to test out the HF setup before 0-hour and to K6EL across the way on Diamond Head (KH6/OH-025). When 1 September arrived at 1400 (HST) we had great support from several local HAMs to ensure we each had our four required contacts. The view from the top is spectacular. There are several old structures at the top to aid putting up an antenna. The downside is that is was pretty dusty with the trade winds blowing on the summit at a substantial clip. We were both powder coated by the time we were through.
Lessons Learned: If your signal report drops suddenly along with your receive level, check to see if your telescopic mast has not collapsed inside itself a length or two or three... a quick corrective adjustment could have resulted in several more QSO's.
Here is a list of the contacts I made. Thanks to everyone who helped get on KH6 Summits On The Air!
KH6/OH-021 "Kohelepelepe"; 1028' prominence.
0000 K6EL (S2S)
0030 KU6J (S2S)
0039 K7JDF (S2S)
|My son keeping watch atop Koko Crater|
|The view over Koko crater looking ENE|
|Kiegan "playing" operator|