About a week and a half ago, I received an email from Etienne K7ATN, asking me if would be able to participate in an event he organized called the Portland Urban S2S Party. In a nutshell, this was an effort to get activators on as many of the "urban" SOTA summits in the Portland area so that we could all work each other on 2 meter FM simplex. That sounded like a lot of fun, and as it turned out, the nearest peak to me (Cooper Mountain W7O/WV-099) was unclaimed. It also worked out nicely that this is a very easy summit to access due to the fact it is essentially in a suburb and would require only a short hike.
(I injured my left knee/quadricep with a tear a bit over a year ago, and I'm currently in physical therapy to work on improving it. I can walk, but ascending and descending anything is difficult for me. Fortunately, I can now do a bit of easier hiking)
The event time was set for 26 April 2014 at 2000 UTC. I grabbed my dusty IC-T7H with quarter-wave whip, notepad, and waterproof windbreaker and made the short 15 minute drive to the road near the summit. That was easy to find thanks to a nicely documented summit report from K7ATN.
The footpath between the houses was easy enough for me, but the final ascent to the recommended operating spot was a bit tough because of how wet the ground was. In the above photo it looks like there is lots of wild grass, but the roots were very shallow, as every step up the hill resulted in a bit of a muddy slide backwards. However, I managed to slowly make my way up the hill without injuring myself further and found a dry spot under a tree to set up shop.
I arrived a bit early, so I turned on the HT and heard K7ATN on the designated frequency holding some QSOs. A quick call to Etienne confirmed that I was getting out OK, so I sat down and waited for the net to start.
At 2000, K7ATN kicked off the net and had a total of 13 check-ins from local summits. I was able to hear everyone else except for the station on Mary's Peak, which wasn't a total surprise, as that summit was directly south of my QTH, while I was on the north side of Cooper Mountain. Below is a map of the summit-to-summit QSOs that I made in the event.
I'll let K7ATN's summary speak for the results, but I had a great time getting out for my first real SOTA activation, even if it was a bit of weaksauce in the adventure department. It was great to get back out and do a bit of hiking and ham radio in the outdoors. Thanks to Etienne for the invitation and the rest of the participants and chasers for a damn fine afternoon of SOTA fun.