I am glad to report my fifth successful SOTA activation of Red Hill W2-GC/115. In this post I will detail my summit up, my activation, and future plans. Lace up and continue reading!

Title Image View from the top!

The “Summit:” Red Hill

Red Hill is a beautiful hill in the southernmost part of the Catskills Park. It is a 4 mile round-trip loop, but you can cut it down to 1.2 if you park closer to the tower.

This was actually my first trip into the Greater Catskills Range. It is about an hour drive from my QTH and worth every minute.


I have the new and improved N2WU SOTA Dipole, so my setup was much cleaner. It only took about 15 minutes to set up:

  1. An Elecraft KX2 with standard CW paddle
  2. A 5.2 Ah lithium-ion battery
  3. My favorite antenna tuner
  4. The N2WU SOTA Dipole
  5. A topographic Map with compass
  6. 1L water, warm clothes, and gloves
  7. A notebook/pen for CW
  8. A spool of kite string
  9. 6, 8oz. Fishing lures

Total weight - about 4lbs. Instead of my usual paracord, I opted for kite string and fishing lures. The lures are just heavy enough and the kite string lightweight enough to easily throw and return. I never got it tangled around a tree, like I did constantly with paracord. The string broke a few times, but it let me easily add weight until the lures equaled the center conductor.

Equipment Gear shown at the top


Antenna Branch

The route is an easy 4-mile round trip. The sign at the bottom boasts a “1200ft” climb, but I doubt that.

Just park at the address listed here and follow the summit up. The blue markers are about every 15 feet.

You can’t see much at the summit, but climbing the tower held quite a view

View View of the Catskills at the top. I didn’t take many pictures.


This was the first trial for my N2WU SOTA dipole. I tuned it to 40M initially and got 1.2:1 plugged directly into the dipole. 40M actually wasn’t the best today, but 20M worked great. Here’s my contact list and a KML generated with advice by Steve K2GOG using the ADIF-KML program.

Callsign Band Time Location
N4QS 20M 1602Z Kentucky
F4WBN 20M 1622Z France!
KF7WI 20M 1625Z Washington
NW7C 20M 1627Z Washington
WB6POT 20M 1630Z California

US Contacts

Worldwide Contacts

For some reason, my battery only went to 5W max. So I operated with -3dB than I am used to, and went from California to France. I would say the dipole was pretty effective. I operated on 14.026 for the first contact, but got washed out quick - it took 20 minutes for my next contact. I landed on 14.056 and operated a lengthy pileup. After the YL looked a little disinterested, I had to pack up despite the contacts.


This was my first testrun of the new dipole, casting procedure, and Google Earth logging. I would say it all turned out pretty well. I am looking to do more activations in the Catskills, with a surprise SOTA outing next weekend.

Overall this was a great activation and I hope to do many more inching towards my 1,000 pt goal.