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Grant Hill is a minor summit with a road to the peak. It isn’t overly hard to walk and is covered with bike trails. Even so, it is still a nice place to get away from the bustle of normal life and just enjoy a few moments of nature. Normally I would only do a summit once a year as points are only available once per year. So it was a bit odd to be returning to Grant so soon, as we were here in February. But we had a particular reason to return, or at least Ralph did.
On our visit in February Ralph used his throwing rope to pull his antenna over a tall patch of brush. It worked well unfortunately on our next adventure he discovered he was missing the rope. Thinking back he felt he had left it on Grant so for the next several months as we did other summits he repeatedly reminded me how he missed that rope. I’m not sure if it was particularly designed for the task but it certainly had some sentimental value. It had become an ongoing recital and it was time to find it before desperation set in - mine that is.
So we planned to activate the summit the week prior to today, when other SOTA members were activating summits for a big summit-to-summit party. Unfortunately, Ralph had forgotten about a trip to the states he had planned with his daughter. So, the activation was delayed a week. At least this week-end there was a SOTA chap activating Sumas Mountain in Washington and who had never worked a Canadian station before, so I planned to be there for him.
Ralph came by my house and we left at 9:30, a quick stop for coffee and we were off for the summit, no need for gas as we were using my wife’s electric car. The drive to the summit took around 50 minutes and we quickly closed in on the locked gate. We slid into a parking spot and loaded up with our packs. The gate is around 900m from the road end and about 100m below the top elevation, not overly hard but still a steep walk. We started up the road and soon reached the end with the Telus buildings and towers. We turned west along the trail to the high point where we operated last and there we stopped our packs and planned our setup.
First things though, Ralph was determined to look for the long-lost rope. He was wandering all over the area where he had used it to no avail. I decided to help, and I wandered over to the big log where we had set up the radios. I peered over it to the ground between the log and all the brush. I immediately spotted a partially coiled up greening rope laying on the ground. I called Ralph over and he quickly picked up and cradled his long-lost throwing rope. Looking over every inch for any damage. Even the combo lock weight he used with it was in decent shape. It was back home and though a bit green, after a wash it should be in good shape. Ralph immediately put it to work in pulling up the antenna for today’s activation.
I set up my 2m yagi and made a few calls, it was very quiet for a while but then I worked a fellow sota member activating Mount Jeffrey on Vancouver Island. Soon I had a few more in my log. Meanwhile Ralph was using his KX1 making some CW contacts. He was having a harder time being heard today. One of the other tests were planned was to use my KX2 with the 100watt amp to see how it did. We set up the KX2 and amp with Ralph’s battery initially and set the power to 30 watts. He did much better at being heard. I was still waiting for the chap to reach the summit on Sumas so my battery was in use. Once I had KJ7EHA in the log I shutdown my 2m radio and added my battery to the power amp, we raised the power to 75w and I made some 20m SSB contacts on the east coast, it sure works better than at 12 watts.
The higher power made a considerable improvement for both of us and makes 20m SSB possible out here. Now to find a way to get it to higher summits with longer steeper trails! Once I had completed my 20m SSB contacts we packed up the gear and set off for home. The nice thing about that location is the number of mountain bikers coming by. The area we were in is a rest point for them as they get organized for the ride down. That gave them time to ask about what we were doing, several were quite interested. So even though I got no points for the day, I did get some S2S points and we proved out the value higher power for our SOTA situation. But even more importantly, we found Ralph’s throw rope. Now I can hike with him in peace again.