To get in on the last of the winter hiking, I went on a dual activation of Black Dome and Blackhead mountains.

Title Image Great Winter Views!

The Summits: Black Dome and Blackhead

Black Dome is a 10-point summit in the Catskills, close to Hunter Mountain and Katterskill HP. Black Dome offers a 6-mile trail near Wyndham, Ny.

Blackhead is another 10-point mountain less than a mile away from Black Dome and only 12m shorter. It seems less popular than Black Dome but with a name like blackhead…

From here on, to conserve expensive letters I will refer to the two as “Dome” and “Head”. I realize this may still be confusing. Remember the “head” is below the “dome,” if that makes sense.

This website always has great options for hikes. In all reality, I used Caltopo to find trails and get an elevation profile - more on that below.

Descent View

NOTE: These summits have good views close to the top, but the summits are rather disappointing. You can see “Head” from “Dome” too: View2 Head from Dome


I tested out my new end-fed at the top, and had great success. I chucked it as far as it could possibly go and still needed some more length. I’m wondering if a SOTA slingshot would be helpful in the future.

Summit Operating N2WU at the Summmit of Dome

  1. The N2WU Case-X2
  2. N2WU Key
  3. N2WU EFHW
  4. CW Notebook and pen
  5. APRS-Enabled TM-D72A
  6. Kahtoola Microspikes
  7. Every warm layer I could possibly find

Total weight - 10-15 lbs. I was pretty warm, considering it was 20-30 degrees warmer than I’m used to (0 degrees -> 22 degrees).

Mast Operating on Head


Trail Start of hiking

The hike, like I said before, was pretty self-explanatory and thankfully safe. I recommend the microspikes, snowshoes, or anything to help with the uphill 8% grade. You get sweeping views the Northern Catskills area at the top:


The actual trail can be shown here: Trail

And its elevation: Trail

The backside of the mountain is surprisingly steep and clear enough for some body glissading. Once again, a feature film from N2WU youtube:



I put an early SOTA Alert for about 1hr 30 mins up. I was actually only about 10 minutes late to the contact.

I don’t know if it was the new EFHW antenna, but I had a great time operating. I only spent maybe 15 minutes total operating after a combined 5 minutes of setup and teardown.

Whenever anyone asks what SOTA is like, I will always direct them to the video below. It’s such a peaceful, serene, beautiful environment. And then you can hear CW oscillating nonstop.


Contact List - Dome

Callsign Band Time Location
W0MNA 20M CW 1541 Kansas
KU4R 20M CW 1541 North Carolina
W0ERI 20M CW 1542 Kansas
K2JB 20M CW 1542 North Carolina
WB6POT 20M CW 1542 California
ND0C 20M CW 1543 Minnesota
W5GDW 20M CW 1543 North Carolina
K4ML 20M CW 1546 North Carolina

Contact List - Head

Oddly enough, I got my 4 contacts and the band went completely dead. I wasn’t sure what it was, but I got a S2S and two activations so I packed up without complaint.

Callsign Band Time Location
KT5X 20M CW 1649 Arizona
WB2FUV 20M CW 1650 S2S in the Catskills!
F4WBN 20M CW 1651 France
W9MRH 20M CW 1652 Indiana

Here’s the Google Earth (missing France). North Carolina loved me! Contacts


The Catskills is one of the best places to hike period. In the winter, you have build-in slides to use at the cost of a harder trudge uphill. The serenity granted by the mountains makes it a great dual-point activation with a winter bonus. Serenity