My second last day of SOTA’ing in the US was in West Virginia. My plan was to go to four summits near the Highlands Scenic Highway.
Red Spruce Knob W8V/PH-007
The first summit of the day can be accessed from the Highlands Scenic Highway via a walking trail that comes in from the north. There is a car parking lot for this purpose at the north end of the ridge leading to the summit. The walk is about 3/4 of a mile. It initially climbs and then levels off for a while before a mild climb to the summit.
I operated from the high point, which is in the middle of a loop made by the walking trail:
Activity was a bit quieter than previous activations. I spent a fair amount of time CQing.
Gay Knob W8V/PH-017
The next summit was a previously unactivated summit, Gay Knob. There is a unpaved road heading off from near the junction of WV150 and US219. This road is closed to public vehicles, but is fine for foot traffic. I headed along this to just after entering the forest underneath the summit, and then left the road, walking off-trail approaching the summit from the south west. I whistled a lot to let any bears in the area know I was around. I didn’t see any.
Activity on this summit was more animated than on the previous one, and it was nice to pick up a summit 2 summit with Dennis wa2usa on w8m/lp-009.
I then proceeded back along the Highlands Scenic Highway. Lots of good views from this road:
Kennison Mountains HP W8V/PH-021
The third summit of the day was the previously unactivated Kennison Mountains. I used Pub Rd 232 to approach it. It gets within 3/4 of a mile. From there, I proceeded along Frosty Gap Rd, but this did not follow the alignment on the USGS map that I was using. I left it and proceeded up through the pines until I was well within the activation zone and then operated on a small clearing. The pines meant that the forest was much more closed in here.
Activity was picking up more towards levels that I experienced previously on this trip, no significantly long time spent CQing.
Black Mountain W8V/PH-013
The final summit of the day was Black Mountian. I retraced my steps along the Highlands Scenic Highway to approach this summit. The road gets within about 800 feet. It’s a pretty straight-foward walk off trail northeast to the summit from where I parked, which is one of the small parking areas – made almost like provision for a future road to lead off from. There are many of these along the track. The actually is a trail leading off from where I parked, but away west from the summit.
This was again a straight-foward activation. My jury-rigging from the previous day was holding up well. Another thing performing well were the NiZn batteries. I was charging these up every day, but I must have been using only a fraction of their operating cycle. They still developed 1.75V per cell at the end of each day. The wattage developed by the KX1 is still about 75% of what it is with a 12.5V external source, so these are a great internal rechargeable option. I note also that KX3 can take 8 AA cells. Using eight of these NiZn batteries would develop about 14.5V fully charged.
With that, it was time to finish the day and prepare for the final day of my US trip, which would be four summits in Virginia.
Regards, Wayne VK3WAM