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I have always thought that operating from Burnaby mountain to be less inviting than any other summit. It just seems that an easy drive up and 100m walk doesn’t make for a legitimate SOTA summit. But it is there and one does get a point for it. So, after avoiding it for years I finally visited it two years ago and now again. I suppose one could park further down the hill and walk up but I am a strong believer in - if it can be driven than do so and walk only what can’t be – doing anything else seems plain silly.
Well back to today’s hike, weather was decent for the day and so we were hopeful it would be dry at the park on the summit. Ralph came by around 10:30am and we set out for coffee and the summit. Following the map, we made straight for the small park, selected a nearby parking spot and claimed it for a few hours. Then it was two trips between the car and park bench to transfer our equipment and we were ready to set up. Ralph was using his Buddipole on HF, I had my usual 2m setup along with a 12foot mast and tripod. I also brought my new 9AH Bioenno battery so I could operate at 50 watts.
I quickly got my yagi assembled on the mast and my radio attached and then I stopped to watch Ralph still in the early stages of getting the Buddipole setup. I put out my first call and immediately was responded to by VE7HI, fellow club member Ken, who is also the associations top chaser. I went on to complete another 13 contacts. Meanwhile, Ralph was finally on the air and making a CW contacts though he felt it was tough going for some reason. Once I had more than enough in the log I stopped for some lunch and enjoyed the scenery of the park. I also fielded some questions from a few curious bystanders. They always seem to ask just how far away I was reaching. The one challenge for 2m from up there is dealing with multi-pathing and shadows due to the concrete jungle springing up all around the park. Turning the yagi a few degrees changed signals from illegible to full quieting. So perhaps that is the challenge of this summit. Reaching the north shore seemed to require a yagi pointed south rather than north-west!
Ralph eventually got his needed number and he stopped for lunch. Once he was done, I borrowed his Buddipole for my KX2 with the 100-watt amp to try some 20m SSB. I was able to make a pair of contacts in California, I heard a number of eastern stations but they were busy with pile-ups and contesting so I didn’t take the time to break-in. It was nice using the 100-watt setup as it made for much easier HF contacts. This was my first test of the high-power HF configuration as it will be my standard set up once I get to hiking some summits beyond the Fraser Valley.
So, despite the easy access, the summit still has a few challenges. It is certainly a lovely spot and even has a view of Georgia Strait! The small park has tables and lovely trees to make it a pleasant spot to eat lunch and play radio. I suppose I will return next year for an early season outing and just enjoy being outside and talking with fellow hams.