For the 2013 NASOTA weekend, I decided to try an unactivated summit near wine country, since we were already vacationing here for the in-laws 70th birthday. Mt St Helena is accessible by trail or fire road. There was a mountain bike in the garage of our rental house so I decided to also do my first bicycle SOTA! The bike was too small for me and needed some minor maintenance, but it did get me to the summit and back safely.
The first mile and a half is on a small trail, and is a difficult ride. It’s possible to start directly onto the dirt access road, but you’ll have more elevation gain and distance. I was able to ride most of the trail through here, with a few lifts over large rock areas.
Once you pop out onto the dirt road, it’s just plain climbing. The corners have some loose volcanic dust/sand, so be careful on those.
As I neared the summit, I got to witness a very cool dirt devil
The summit, and 2 nearby, are covered with antenna farms. I set up directly next to a microwave repeater, and my 2m radio was popping every 30s or so. I decided 2m was way to obnoxious to listen to, so I shut that radio off and never tried the band from there. I was able to make a couple of 20m contacts, but I had S9 noise on my KX3 and gave up pretty quickly. I was following other activators on SOTAgoat, and couldn’t hear anybody on 20m. 40m had much lower noise, and I managed a couple of contacts there. I had my first every 17m contact with KJ6NHF on W7N/WC-001.
And elevation profile showing over 2000′ of gain in 5 miles:
And finally, the summit log:
The rest of the photos can be seen at: photos.mainelife.net