Summits on the Air – Taum Sauk Mountain W0M/SF-001, Buford Mountain W0M/SF-002, and Bell Mountain W0M/SF-005

In August 2013 I went on a camping trip to the St. Francois Mountains of southeast Missouri where I Activated my first three Summits on the Air (SOTA) summits.

Taum Sauk Mountain – W0M/SF-001 – 540 meters

20130812_110120Taum Sauk Mountain was a good choice for my first SOTA activation because it was very easy to get to. A drive up the mountain took me to the parking area and the trail head. After a short walk on the paved trail I was on the summit, which is heavily wooded. There aren’t any nice views to enjoy while on the air, however, there is a nice overlook area along the road to the summit, which provides some great views.

I set up my K1 on a bench conveniently provided at the summit, tossed my endfed antenna up into the trees, and put out my first SOTA CQ. KK1W was the first to answer giving me a 439 report. After about an hour I had 13 QSOs in the log with reports ranging from 229 through 559. Early on I suspected that my antenna setup might need some adjusting, but didn’t make any changes because of some thunder off in the distance.

My complete log for this activation:

20 meters – KK1W, N7AMA, K7JFD, N1WPU, KH2TJ, N7UN, NS7P*, KG3W, N7WM, K8TE

40 meters – WA2USA

30 meters – KG3W, AE4FZ

*Summit to Summit (S2S) QSO with NS7P who was on Rocky Top W7O/WV-020 in Oregon


The Parking Area


The Trail Head


The Summit

The Summit Marker


Buford Mountain – W0M/SF-002 – 530 meters

20130813_122110My second activation was Buford Mountain, which was a little more of a challenge to reach. From the parking lot there is an approximately 1/2 mile hike uphill along a gravel road followed by another 1/2 mile hike up a steep and very rocky trail. The summit is mostly wooded with some exposed rocky areas. I set up in an area that had some trees cut down which provided a nice place to sit and plenty of room to stretch out my antenna.

N4EX was the first to answer my CQ and gave me a 449 report. Reports for the 24 QSOs made during this activation ranged from 229 thorugh 599.

The complete log for this activation:

40 meters – N4EX, N0EVH, W0ERI, W0MNA, NE4TN, K8LEN, N4MJ, W9UX, AA7EQ,          W4WNT, K5DEZ, KK1W, AE4NZ

30 meters – KG7E, KG3W, KD5KC, NS7P, NM5SW

20 meters – K5WI, NS7P, W7SE, W0CCA, W7RV, K5DEZ, W7USA


The Rocky Trail20130813_114701

The Summit Shack


 Bell Mountain – W0M/SF-005 – 519 meters

20130814_145740Of the three summits activated on this trip, Bell Mountain was the highlight. It provided a nice hike and great views of the surrounding area. The hike was easier than the hike up Buford Mountain, not as rocky or steep, but it was much longer at 3.8 miles each way.

I set up on a rock in the shade and made 21 QSOs in under an hour with the first being with K0JQZ who gave me a 559 report. Reports ranged from 339 through 599.

The complete log for this activation:

20 meters – K0JQZ*, NS7P*, KT5X, N6KZ, W7CNL, W7RV, KT5X, N4EX, NE4TN, N7AMA, K7JFD, KE5AKL,KH2TJ, KG3W, NA6MG*, N7UN

30 meters – K4PIC, N9KW, W9UX, WA2USA, W9FHA

*S2S QSOs – K0JQZ on W0/FR-063 Mount Herman in Colorado, NS7P on W7O/CM-080 Indian Ridge in Oregon, and NA6MG on W6/CT158 Fernando 2 Benchmark in California


Shack in the shade – I was nice and cool in the shade, but the radio was too hot in the sun, so I provided it some shade by leaning my log folder over it.



View from the summit