Pikes Peak

Pikes Peak

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Pu'u Ohulu Kai (KH6/OH-023) SOTA Activation

Pu'u Ohulu Kai

There are people who talk about doing things, and there are people who actually do. Not trying to sound arrogant but I aspire to be more like the latter and today I accomplished what I said I would do, some time ago. After several years of off-and-on studying, today I had my first CW (Morse code) contacts on my HAM radio. Thankfully, poor band conditions prevented me from finding all but one contact today on SSB, so I was forced to try my hand at CW to make my hike worth while (to get at least four contacts). The stunning views were great but I was there to give this summit a proper first activation.

Getting There

July was my last hike on O'ahu when I activated Ka'ala, and I have spent the past six months on hiatus in South Korea for work. Needless to say, I was happy to be hiking back in 70 degree weather again. I left the house at 5:45 am and headed west bound on H1 towards Waianae. I parked at the Hookele St beach access parking lot in Maili and headed toward Pu'u Ohulu Kai. Not knowing where the common trail head (TH) was, I just headed up the west side of the hill with the intent of catching the ridge line trail. Had I walked two hundred yards up Kaukama Rd. I might have seen the trail marker tape at the base of the ridge. Even easier would have been to walk the 1/4 mile from Farrington Hwy to the common TH; with its gentle switch-backs up the north side of the hill, but where is the fun in that? I took neither of those options and struggled for a while over ankle-buster boulders hidden in the grass, up the steep slope until I finally met up with the ridge line trail, which soon met up with the common route trail.

By 7:10 I had set up my Buddie-pole antenna with the support of a small, sharp, and prickly tree and set my rig up next to it the top of the summit's WWII pill-box. Did I mention the views were stunning? Off the west side of the summit it felt like you could jump off and land in the clear blue waters of the Pacific Ocean (859') below. The sun was just coming over the peaks in the east, time to make some contacts, or so I thought...

The effects from the recent geomagnetic storm were still looming and the band was inundated with noise. After struggling to make the one SSB contact with N7KRN, he pushed me to try CW so I changed frequency, took a deep breath, and before I knew it I had 7 CW contacts.

I owe many thanks to the patient operators who took the time to listen to my poor code and in doing so encouraged me to keep at it. Special thanks to:


73 and safe hiking!

KH6/OH-023 Pu'u Ohulu Kai
Pill boxes on summit

Main trail up (left), ridge-line trail down (right) near summit

Quail (I think)

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