Long Trail SOTA

Posted on June 26, 2017 by Chris Lumens in long-trail.

Part of the purpose of my Long Trail backpacking trip this year is to use my radio on a lot of summits. It’s partially a regular backpacking trip and partially a SOTA expedition. If you’re not interested in amateur radio from mountains, this is probably going to be a pretty boring post. You might want to move on.

The Gear

Here’s all the radio gear I will be carrying for activating all these summits:

Overall, that’s a total of 770 grams if I don’t count the rope and notebook. It doesn’t get much lighter than that.

The Summits

I am planning on hiking from the Canadian border at least to Appalachian Gap, hopefully slightly farther to Mount Ellen. There are eighteen activatable summits along this section. Most are on the trail, a few are accessible via side trails, and a few are bushwhacks. I might do some of the bushwhack peaks if I have time and the weather cooperates and I feel like extra credit. Here they all are:

The Plan

UPDATED: There are contests both weekends I’ll be out, so I am probably going to stick to 30 meters, where contests are not allowed. I’ll be near the QRP calling frequency of 10.110. However, my antenna will also do 20 meters so I might be around 14.062 on there. I’ll likely be on 20 meters during the week.

Assuming I have cell phone signal, I’m going to try to file alerts for each activation one day in advance. That way, I’ll get picked up by the Reverse Beacon Network and get spotted automatically. That seems to be the best way to draw attention.

I’ll be trying to cover at least twelve miles a day on the trail, so the activations are a side activity. I need to keep them as short as possible. I’m hoping to spend no more than 45 minutes on each one, including setup and tear down. The first several activations will take longer to set up but after a few days I should be pretty fast. So, expect me to be on the air about 15 minutes at first, and about 20 minutes once I get it all figured out. One reason I’m going to stick to 20 meters only is so I don’t waste time changing the antenna and finding another spot to operate.


I won’t be able to upload my SOTA logs until after I get done on August 13, of course. If this goes as well as I hope, I should make a couple hundred contacts. It’ll take me a couple days to upload them all.

I could also upload to LOTW if there’s interest, given that I’ll be in a couple different counties in Vermont and they might be rare. But that will be a lot of work so I haven’t decided if I will or not.

Finally, I’m thinking about printing up special QSL cards afterwards. I’ll send them out to local stations directly and DX stations via the bureau. It’ll take a couple months for these to get printed, filled out, and mailed.