Pikes Peak

Pikes Peak

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Diamond Head (KH6/OH-025) SOTA Activation

    I had debated about going up Diamond Head (DH); Waikiki's signature landmark, ever since we started Summits On The Air (SOTA) for Hawaii on 1 Sept 2013. I finally had the opportunity on the 13 Oct when fellow SOTA travelers K5XY (Alex) and K7NIT (Rachael) contacted me about their separate vacation plans to O'ahu. We made plans to make S2S contacts between three summits that Sunday at noon. Alex climbed up KH6/OH-21, Rachel ascended KH6/OH-028 (her second summit of the day), and I headed up KH6/OH-025 (Diamond Head) with my middle son Coen, who was 5 1/2 years old.
Coen patiently drawing as I did my Ham thing.
  Now I said that I had debated DH a moment ago. Why not ascend such a quintessential landmark in the name of SOTA? Namely...tourists. DH has to be the busiest trail on O'ahu. They (tourists) trek to DH like some sort of bizarre pilgrimage. Or rather, moths to the flame. I wonder if some are just dropped off at the trail head accidentally by their tour buses. I say accidentally because there are all types of people on the trail, from all walks (hikes?) of life. Young, old, dangerously out of shape, to college students running up and down. It is a cultural kaleidoscope of adventurers, accented by a myriad of languages heard along the trail. Diversity also noted by the choice of footwear not suitable for this hike. At the summit, one feels akin to the likes of sardines as we all aspire to admire Waikiki from the lookout's small footprint.
Honolulu from Diamond Head Summit. KH7AL photo.
    Due to the sheer number of people at the summit, I thought it prudent to activate HF from lower down, but still within, the activation zone. If I had not brought my son along, I would have likely disregarded the signage and jumped the railing at the summit for the better operating location just to the north. There is a metal tri-pod structure mounted to the top of the concrete lookout; just perfect for affixing an antenna to. You can just see the structure on the right of the above picture.

    I decided to setup out of the main pathway of hikers on one of the stairway landing lookouts. I was chuckling to myself as I could sense the urge of the on-lookers wanting ask, "What are you doing?" In the spirit of SOTA I obliged several folks who mustered up the courage to ask and I gave them the official story. Most of them said something like, "Oh, wow," but the look on most of their faces was more to the effect of, "Ham radio...Why not use a phone or the internet?"

    I completed the successful hike by helping another, unknown hiker when I found their ATM card lying on the ground at the trail head. I called the bank, had them call the owner; who was still on the way up, and arranged to have them pick up their card with the park's parking attendants. His description relayed to my by the bank attendant, "Blue Hawaiian shirt, white slacks, and blue Spider-man shoes." I wish I were making this up. With our good deed done, Coen and I followed that with a stop at a nearby Zippy's for lunch and a strawberry milkshake. Mission accomplished. Next up, west O'ahu summits.

Thanks to the following people that helped me scratch out another activation:
NS7P     21:16Z 14 MHZ
W7RV   21:17Z 14 MHZ
W7CNL 21:40Z 18 MHz
K5XY    21:50Z 144 MHz (S2S)
KH6RT  22:05Z 144 MHz
K7NIT   22:09Z 144 MHz (S2S)

73 and safe hiking,