This weekend the Cadet Amateur Radio Club, W2KGY, successfully activated Spy Rock W2/GC-075 in Black Rock State Forest. I’ll detail our route, operating, logs, and future operations.

Title Image View from the top

The Summit: Spy Rock

Spy Rock stands overlooking Cornwall, West Point, and the Highlands area. It is the perfect summit for our club and actually a key part in the Revolutionary War according to some sources. It is only about 2.5 miles west of West Point.

The summit doesn’t hold many views, but is a nice, quiet, flat peak. There are several trees perfect for dipoles. Remember, please call ahead before you take a group up.

We were also able to see the incredible Mt. Beacon Repeater from the top:



I am still using the new and improved N2WU SOTA Dipole. It was a fairly quick and extremely productive setup.

  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 - the summit was fairly tame in weather.
  7. A notebook/pen for CW
  8. A spool of kite string
  9. 6, 8oz. Fishing lures
  10. 30ft. of RG-58 with BNC male

Total weight - about 4lbs. I improved my slinging steps to get the dipole up:

  1. Tie 1-2 lures to the end of the kite string
  2. Spool out 40 feet and keep organized
  3. Chuck it into a tree you have access to
  4. On the lure side, make a slip knot and attach a carabiner
  5. Clip the carabiner to the dipole
  6. Plug in the RG-58 to the dipole
  7. Remove the lure if you can
  8. Pull the spool side taut and secure on the ground, keeping the dipole ends separated
  9. Secure your dipole ends to ropes, then the ground

In addition, Stephen KJ5HY brought up his own equipment:

  1. Elecraft KX3 with a Sealed Lead-Acid Battery (SLAB)
  2. NVIS Antenna for 40/80M
  3. Buddipole for 20/40M

We had some problems with tuning the two antennas. Thankfully, the ZM tuner saved the day (as always).

Dipole Dipole at the top



SOTA is always better with friends. I brought three other hams up the summit with me: Stephen KJ5HY; Porter, KN6OLH; and Cavan, KC0SAX, and Jason KC3DCR. We started from Round Pond in the West Point Training Area and hiked from the back of Black Rock State Forest up to Spy Rock for a distance of about 2 miles.

APRS Route

APRS Route for our excursion.

KC0SAX at Spy Rock KC0SAX at Spy Rock

KN6OLH KN6OLH tightening a dipole length.


I love sunspot cycle 25. I had more contacts here than my W7 excursion. I have to thank the SOTA Spotting system. I was also able to use the APRS-SOTA Spotting System but got an immediate pileup using SOTA-Watch only.

I operated CW, but Stephen and Cavan operated SSB with 3W and 10W respectively. Here’s my contact list and a KML generated with advice by Steve K2GOG using the ADIF-KML program.

Nolan N2WU Contacts

Callsign Band Time Location
WB9HDH 20M CW 1335z Wisconsin
K4MF 20M CW 1347z South Carolina
W0MNA 20M CW 1348z Kansas
W0ERI 20M CW 1349Z Kansas
W50DS 20M CW 1350Z Oklahoma
K0AT 20M CW 1330Z Wyoming

Cavan KC0SAX Contacts

Callsign Band Time Location
N9GSU 20M SSB 1419z Indiana
W0YU 20M SSB 1433z Iowa
KE0FTD 20M SSB 1447z Iowa
AA0SR 20M SSB 1449z Iowa

Stephen KJ5HY Contacts

Callsign Band Time Location
WB6POT 20M SSB 1420z California
W5ODS 20M SSB 1428z Oklahoma
W2JMU 40M SSB 1440z New York
KD2UDE 40M SSB 1445z New York

Contact Map Google Earth Contacts


This was one of my favorite activations even if just for one point. I’ll be refining my equipment even more in the coming months, so expect me to squeeze a couple more activations out before the year ends.