First February SOTA activation

February is a good time for SOTA in Arkansas.  The leaves are off the trees, so you actually have some views from the summits, the chiggers and ticks are dormant, the poison ivy is gone for the winter and the temperatures are often in the 50s and 60s.

Yesterday, February 2, was a good example.  The high in the afternoon was 62, so it looked like a good day to head for the hills.

I did the two easiest and closest summits to my house -- Crystal Mountain (W5A/OA-008)  and Oak Mountain (W5A/OA-006).  They are a few miles apart on a well maintained -- for Arkansas -- National Forest Road and both require a quarter-mile hike or so. I had done both summits in 2017 and 2018, but decided to knock the pair of them out early this year. It was also good practice in doing multiple summits in a day. 

Crystal Mountain has a jeep road going up, and often has other people or Jeeps at the top.  After I got set up, a young family came hiking up.  I spoke to the father for a minute and explained what I was doing. He was intrigued.  I had just been spotted, so calls started coming in.  I was on CW, without the headphones.  The guy was watching intrigued.  I worked VE2JCW so I told him I had just talked to someone in Quebec.  The next contact was from California.  I told him.  He was amazed I could work both coasts with my little radio on my lap and a piece of wire strung up in the trees. "That's the magic," I told him. 

I made 68 contacts -- 38 from the first summit and 30 from the second.  A great day.

I'm getting good at balancing the KX-2 on my knee. 

Looking back at Crystal Mountain from a few miles away near Oak Mountain.