With a big time lapse since my last activation it was time to play some radio. So we loaded up the car and headed for Tucson, AZ. In a couple hours of driving we were through Tucson and was heading up the Catalina mountains toward the summit of Mt. Lemmon. My cousin Jesse was in charge of taking pictures as we made our way up the Sky Island Scenic Byway.
I didn't know there could be such scenery. Driving from Tucson to the top of Mt. Lemmon takes one through 7 different climate zones, the equivalent of driving from Mexico to Canada. Close to the top we pulled over at a picnic area and had sandwiches, etc that my wife Donna-KB0JOK had made for us.
Since I had put out a SOTA alert before we left, we hurriedly finished up, as I/we were way behind time. Once at the parking lot, Jesse and I packed the radio station & accessories and hiked along the fence of the Steward Observatory.
To get to the summit which is to the north of the observatory property, so we had to hike up and down some steep hills with virtually no trail. The only trail was stepped down grass made from others. In short order we made it to the summit. Once at the summit we had nice views to the north and a nice take off angle for radio signals. We setup the vertical with elevated radials and attached it to a pole in the ground. Another pole close by had electrical outlets, but unknown if it had power.
After calling CQ SOTA for sometime on 20M SSB, NS7P-Phil answered. NS7P always seems to be there. Next contact was AD7FC on Timberwolf Mountain, my first Summit to Summit! After making several more contacts, I switched to CW and worked Fred-KT5X in New Mexico. At this point my hands were freezing and we broke down the station and headed back for the car and a nice drive back down the mountain. As I was making contacts, Jesse walked around taking pictures. One could see the famous Biosphere from where we were.
Many thanks for the contacts!
73 Jon N7AZ