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QSL: LoTW or direct

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XML Subscriber Lookups: 8441

I have also operated as JS6TQS, JD1/JS6TQS, HL9BJB, 9V1/W6BJB, W6BJB/4, W6BJB/5, and KH6/W6BJB.

QSL Policy:​  I prefer QSL via LoTW.  If you're kind enough to send me your QSL, I'll gladly send one back - no envelope or postage required.  If you'd rather just receive a QSL from me, I request $2.00 via PayPal via ClubLog OQRS directions (Gunfighter26(at)yahoo.com).  I prefer not to use the bureau, but can certainly receive QSLs sent that way.

Find me at WIRES-X room 21402 or D-STAR REF012A

My IRLP Node: 7522

My EchoLink Node: 700999

How I Got Started

I happen to be an avid sailor.  While reading Chapman's, I noticed a section in there about how during long trips away from land, you could listen with an SSB radio, but you could only transmit if you had an amateur radio license.  At that point, the idea started to brew in the back of my mind that perhaps it would be good to get a license at some point.  Then, I drove past the Ham Radio Outlet in San Diego, and I decided to look into it a little more.  Long story short, I first got licensed in September 2015, and I earned my Amateur Extra license in March 2016.


My goal with this page is to pass on information that I've discovered through many hours of hunting that might be useful to other hams.  I'll try to focus on places I've operated and hints to successful operating there.  My standard rig for SOTA activations is an Elecraft KX2 and AlexLoop (or various other wires or SOTABeams antennas).  For digital or contest work, I usually use an Elecraft KX3, Buddipole Deluxe, and HP laptop with DXLab and/or N1MM+.  For power I use Bioenno Power LiFePO batteries.  If you use your laptop a lot for logging, invest in a DC version of your power cord that you can power with a battery.  Oh, and my lovely and talented ham support crew, Debbie.  She's an amazing sport to go with me on all of these expeditions, not to mention her encouragement to try that hard to reach station one more time before spinning the dial.


British Virgin Islands

A reciprocal permit is required.  I received a permit in fall 2015, so this information is current as of then.  You have to contact Mr. Darren Woodley, Spectrum Management & Standards Officer, Telecommunications Regulatory Commission at +1-284-468-4165 or dwoodley@trc.vg.  Email a copy of your license and some of their paperwork so that they can charge you for the reciprocal license.  They will in turn mail (or email if you ask them) your permit to you.  My callsign ended up as VP2V/W6BJB.  At the time I wasn't into HF, but I heard there's a net down there on 20m or 40m.  Can't remember which.  There's also a daily weather net that goes at 0650 each morning.  It's run by a gentleman on one of the USVI.  Need to insert the details of which repeater it's held on.


Republic of Korea

I went to Korea for a military exercise and decided to bring my HT and my FT-857.  Being in the military, I was able to receive an operating permit from the spectrum manager, 1st Signal Brigade, on USAG Yongsan.  I'll add more contact information later.  There is an 8th Army order that specifies the operating privileges you'll have and shows you the paperwork you need to complete, some of which requires your commander's endorsement.  Since I was only there for a short period of time, the spectrum manager granted me a permit without the commander's endorsement, since it wasn't necessarily applicable.  It appears there are differences between an operator permit and a station permit.  From what I understand, you'll need both permits unless you're using someone else's radio.  My callsign ended up as HL9BJB.  If you're not in the military, I believe you'll have to work through the Korea Amateur Radio League (KARL) to get a license.  I found a great spot on base where I was able to work Germany, Australia, Philippines, and the US.


Monterey, CA

We drove out to Alisomar State Beach in Pacific Grove.  There are bunch of rest stop areas along the road, Sunset Drive.  It's a world class view, and a great opening toward the west.


Napa, CA

There's a great little ledge on the side of Mount Veeder just off Oakville Grade Road.  From this spot we stumbled upon the CQ WPX contest in March 2016.  It's got an amazing opening to the east and I was able to work Finland, Russia, the Caribbean, and South America from here.  CM88sk, 38.421955N 122.421974W.  Enjoy!


Cabrillo National Monument, San Diego, CA

Another great view and a great place to score an activation for NPOTA.  If you loop all the way through the parking lot like you're going to leave the park, it's usualy empty down there and a great spot to set up.  Be careful though, you'll need to keep everything in your car.  The park rangers don't want you even setting up a table outside your car unless you have a permit that costs $100 to apply for.  Don't even think about setting up a tripod.


Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, Los Angeles/Ventura Counties, CA

Unfortunately when we went up here the weather was foggy and misty, so we didn't get to enjoy the view.  Circle X Ranch is a great area and was recommended by the park rangers.  There's a parking lot with plenty of room to set up at the trailhead for Sandstone Peak.  We didn't hike to the top of Sandstone Peak because we were in the clouds and wouldn't have been able to see anything.  Since it was misting, I had to set up inside the entrance to the bathroom.  Hey, I came all this way!  DM04mc, 34.111034N 118.926849W.


Santa Monica Mountains NRA and Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail, Ventura County, CA

Just on the back side of the mountain ridge to the north of Sandstone Peak, you can find a spot where the Juan Bautista de Anza NHT comes through the Santa Monica Mountains NRA and get a 2fer for NPOTA.  As of 2 May 16 it's not listed in the TQSL config file, but ARRL is working on that.  There's an erroneous listing that has the right park code but not the right park name.  In any case, a very large parking lot where you can set up right next to the trail.  DM04md, 34.154995N 118.973625W.


Double Peak Park, San Marcos, CA

An amazing view all the way from Dana Point to the Los Coronados Islands.  Talk to Rene who runs the park and actually lives in the little house at the top.  Park closes at sunset.  If you're going to take up some real estate with your setup, call him the day before and see if there are any weddings or anything else going on up there that might interfere.  I've set up on both the western end of the park and on the eastern end above the ampitheater.  I participated in the 2016 Rookie Roundup (SSB phone) from here.


Channel Islands National Park

We went to Santa Cruz Island.  You'll pay about $60 for a ferry ticket from Island Packers.  The park visitor center is just down the road from where you catch your ferry in Ventura Harbor, so you can swing in there to get your passport stamped.  If the ferry crew tells you it's going to be a little rough, go on the lower level of the boat and sit facing forward.  Trust me.  We took the ferry to Prisoner's Harbor because the pier at Scorpion Ranch has damage (April 2016) and they do their landings there by dinghy.  Not wanting to mess with a dinghy landing while carrying all of the radio gear, Prisoner's was the best choice.  There's an awesome lookout no more than a half mile away from the pier.  Follow the trail to the left as your back is to the water, and you'll soon find the lookout with a lone picnic bench in it.  DM04da, 34.018723N 119.677124W.


San Onofre Peak (SOTA)

This on is on Camp Pendleton, so having access to the base is a must.


Joshua Tree National Park (NPOTA)/Ryan Mountain (SOTA)

​Definitely a great view and a fairly easy hike up to the top of Ryan Mountain.


Sundance Peak (SOTA)/Rocky Mountain National Park (NPOTA)

​We hit this one over Memorial Day weekend in 2016.  It's a quick hike up to the summit, but even in May there was still plenty of snow on the ground.  The elevation was about 12,500' and you could definitely feel it.  The weather changed rapidly, going from partly cloudy to snowing on us a little bit.  A quick activation because the Ham Support Crew got pretty cold, but it was definitely worth the trip.


Triunfo Lookout (SOTA)/Santa Monica Mountains NRA (NPOTA)

Operated here for the ARRL June VHF Contest.  Thanks to Scott (WA9STI) for suggesting this as a good alternative to Sandstone Peak since there's much more room here to set up and it's much quieter.


Stonewall Peak (SOTA)

One of four peaks in the Cuyamaca Mountains area in east county San Diego.  It's a really neat trip right at the top, following a railing up the rocks to the small summit.  Set up the radio just a bit down from there on some rocks and had a good SOTA activation while the kids played in the rocks.  Thanks to Paul (W6PNG) for sending me his blog on this peak, which encouraged me to head up there.  Eventually I'll get back out there for the other peaks.


Amateur Radio Satellites

I've been working SO-50 and AO-85 when I can.  I use my FT1D along with an Arrow satellite antenna.  It's not the Cadillac setup where I can hear myself coming back on the repeater, but it seems to get the job done.  The toughest problem I have is being able to log my contacts while I've got a radio in one hand and an antenna in the other.  One of these days I'll get into the SSB satellites, but right now I enjoy being able to walk outside with my HT and portable antenna, log a couple of contacts, and then head back in the house.


That's it for now.  I'll continue to add more places and info as I learn!  Feel free to email me if you have any questions.


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8562093 Last modified: 2018-01-06 05:56:14, 11964 bytes

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