My 2017 goals worked out well, so I’ll be continuing the program again this year by posting my Amateur Radio Goals for 2018.
1. 1000 SOTA Activator Points – Mountain Goat
I am starting the year with 608 total activator points. Last year I earned 396 of those. Now that I have another year of experience and familiarity with the local peaks etc., I aim to earn 392 more points this year. This is a real stretch, this year I have some competing time demands with training for a trail race and leading a Philmont Trek with our Boy Scout troop. I don’t have quite the free time I did last year when I racked up 396 point so I’ll be curious to see how this develops. However, that is the goal: Mountain Goat by end of 2018.
2. Copy and Send CW Comfortably at 25 WPM
I dropped the ball on this one last year so back for the second year: I would like to become 100% comfortable at 25 wpm. I can handle contest speeds well over 30 wpm since they follow a particular pattern, but I have yet to get comfortable with rag chew style CW much over 18 wpm. I still loose track when folks start getting “conversational.”
I remember while activating Mount Baden Powell W6/CT-004 someone (not a normal SOTA chaser) was asking a question and I totally lost track and everything just turned to dots and dashes. I had to have him repeat the question two or three times and I remember that when I finally got it and sent the response, he came back to me with “now ur hearing.” Not sure why that sticks in my head, but I hated the feeling of loosing track.
3. Activate at Least One Stretch Peak
Each year I like to activate what I consider a “stretch peak,” one that is a real challenge to get to and/or to summit. In years past these have included Mt. Kaweah, Iron Mountain (Big Iron), Mt. Whitney, and a number of remote unactivated peaks. These have all been great adventures and I have a few more in mind for this year.
4. Integrate Trail Running into my SOTA Activating
I think that I’ll make progress towards achieving Goal #1 by integrating trail running with my SOTA activating. Now that I have done a number of the area peaks a few times, I’m familiar with the trails, access points, where to park, and general conditions. That will make it much easier and less stressful to do them again as trail runs this year. I am also planning on converting a running pack to accommodate my radio gear. The big hold up is that I enjoy hiking with others, and so far my hiking companions have absolutely no interest in running. As a result, I might be making a lot more solo activations this year working towards my goal.
5. Trail Running – 50K
You might ask what this has to do with SOTA? Last year, I decided to give trail running a shot as a way to improve my fitness for hiking, backpacking, and SOTA activating. As has happened with other trail runner / ultra runners, it became a bit of an addiction.
I trained for and completed a 25K (15.5 mile) race – the first formal running event of my life. This year I’d like to complete a 50K (31 mile) trail race as I close in on my 50th birthday this December. The added bonus is that if I can pull it off, a 50K puts me among the ranks of “Ultra Runners.” Anything over the traditional marathon length of 26.2. miles is considered an “Ultra” distance. The radio benefit is the increased fitness, which will contribute to my ability to get up and down those SOTA summits.
I’m looking forward to working on these goals, and can’t wait to see how I do.