After the great fun on Saturday, Tyler and I decided to pull in Dave, AC7FF, and hit Pinal Peak for a SOTA activation.
Pinal Peak W7A/AW-009, is one of the taller peaks in Arizona, and as an added bonus, you can drive to the summit. Take the 60 to Globe, then after a few turns end up on a dirt Forest Service road that will take you 10 miles to the peak as you wander left and right through the mountainside. A great drive.
The rules of SOTA state that you cannot use your mobile setup for your SOTA station, but nothing says you cannot haul all your gear to the top, setup away from the car and operate, which is what Dave, Tyler and I did. I ended up spending most of my time on 2 meters, working stations with ease from my Arrow antenna, connected to the Kenwood TH-D72 hand held. This is a great combination. A bit heavy for an HT however, well worth it for the features that it packs inside.
On this peak I setup for HF including a table, folding chair and tool boxes of goodies. The benefits of a drive up location! I soon realized that I didn’t pack my band pass filters, and having three folks in close proximity on three different HF bands wasn’t working real well. So, I abandoned HF after working three or four stations and stayed on 2 meters, which netted the stations I needed easily. In fact, I had my 4 stations complete before Tyler and Dave had even finished up their antenna setups. The weather on Pinal was great and as you can see in the image, we had quite a view as well.
Tyler and Dave grabbed several S2S contacts here on HF, chasing CW signals as well as grabbing several stations that were part of the 13 Colonies special event stations. A few hours later we were driving back down into the valley, with the heat climbing as we descended off the peak.
If you are looking to setup on Pinal, we found a nice turn off near the peak that faced west. Trees were 20-30′ tall and had plenty of room to hang wires in the tree. Any higher towards the peak you could drive right up to the various repeaters, however a lot of RF floating around up there. This is an easy drive for a car. A small motorhome could do it, however, turning around could be problematic. A truck or 4×4 would make it with ease, just watch your blind corners on the drive up and down, as there was a fair amount of quad traffic on the route.