SOTA with AI6XG on Wragg Ridge

Dan AI6XG has been doing SOTA for a couple years, and we were in CWOps Level 2 class together in 2018. He graciously offered to go on a SOTA hike with me, and picked this great spot mapped out by Jeff AA6XA around the Lake Berryessa area. Enjoy watching my struggle as I get into this new facet of ham radio.

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First SOTA

It was a very short hike, but steep. On Dec 8, I hiked with Rex KE6MT up to Point 1272, a.k.a. SOTA peak W6/NC-387. Rex is the W6 Association Manager for SOTA. Here is a video of the trip.

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First QSO on AO-92 Satellite

I received an Arrow II antenna from N9BAV today, a very generous gift after I tweeted that I needed to buy said antenna. After I put it together, I looked on GoSatWatch app to see the next pass of well-known amateur satellites. I immediately recognized that AO-92 was going to pass very well overhead in about 2½ hours. So I prepped my Kenwood TH-D74A with the VHF downlink frequency (145.880MHz) on sub band A, and the UHF uplink (435.340MHz) on sub band B. My previous attempts at satellite with a HT whip antenna and my HVU-8 vertical have met with no success, so I was half expecting this Arrow to… Read More

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Getting Tired of Battery Posts Yet?

I know I am getting tired watching myself talk about batteries. But it’s just fascinating to me to refine the build and power management process of readily available LiFePO4 cells. There are so many kinds! And they keep improving. I guess I have China to thank for that, so much of Maker / electrical components can be found from inexpensive Chinese distributors, making it easier and easier to have your own DIY projects. Anyway, here’s the latest in my series of portable battery builds. I found some really cheap 7Ah cells on Aliexpress, and had to try them out. I don’t want to become “the Battery Guy” since there are… Read More

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Fabricating Gear

As many on Twitter have seen (and are probably already tired of seeing), I got myself a budget 3D Printer. Several of my coworkers would come to work with their “latest print” and it would range from utilitarian to really cool movie prop reproductions. In my mind, this hobby was prohibitively expensive. Last I heard about 3D printers, the entry-level ones ranged in the $1500+ range. And all I was seeing from those early adopters (circa 2013) was plastic bow ties and other such useless figurines; not enough of a motivator to dish out that kind of cash. I carried this mindset even to just this month, where one coworker… Read More

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DIY Portable 12v 15Ah Power Box

It’s been quite a journey since I first received the 3.2v Headway 40152S cells from China in March. Slowly but surely I have been learning more about DIY battery building, from balance management systems, to electric capacity and current calculations, all the way to how to fit things into a case with extensive wiring. There are plenty of YouTube mentors out there building batteries. Now I’m on a craze about Lithium power storage and solar energy, with the hopes of one day building my own home multi-Kwh power wall. In the meantime, I don’t think I’ll ever look at consumer batteries the same way ever again. I will always think,… Read More

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The Other Side of SOTA: Failed Chasing

In today’s episode, I go on my typical Lunch Time on the Air™ (LTOTA) during my lunch hour at work in Rancho Cordova, and I fail at chasing two of my friends activating Summits on the Air (SOTA): – Jose K6HZR activating San Juan Hill (1 pt) W6/CT-230 – Scott N0OI activating Bertha Peak (8 pts) W6/CT-103 Heard voices on Jose’s frequency, but couldn’t verify if it was him. Heard lots of chasers answering Scott, but I guess he couldn’t hear me. In any case, it’s great to know fellow ham friends are out and about, and I’ll try to do my part to help them even if I don’t… Read More

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