Oct 14

W4T/SU-005 Roan High Knob

Summit: W4T/SU-005 Roan High Knob
Date: October 14, 2013
Weather: Temp in the 50s, calm breeze, misty, and mostly cloudy

Radio Equipment:
Kenwood TH-F6A triband HT
2m/70cm portable beam (Courtesy of KG4HNY)

Contacts: 2m-7
Hiking Path: AT from Carvers Gap to summit

Rocks along trail
Obama’s “shutdown”

On the afternoon of October 14, 2013, I successfully activated W4T/SU-005 Holston High Knob. I arrived at Carvers Gap around 3 pm EDT. Due to the government shutdown, the access road from Carvers Gap/TN-143 up the mountain was closed. Thus, I parked at Carvers Gap next to the Appalachian Trail.

I began my ascent at approximately 3:15 pm EDT. I accessed the AT by heading uphill directly behind a bathroom located at the end of a parking lot. The path to the AT is not marked and can be confusing for first timers. I recommend directly accessing the AT, which crosses TN-143 just a few feet north of the parking area.

This section of the AT contains a lot of ballast rocks. Caution is advised, as these rocks enhance the risk of slipping and receiving an ankle injury. The trail is not very steep but it does feature multiple switchbacks.

On my way up, I ran into a couple hiking with their dog. They had seen pat at the summit and I briefly explained the basics of Summits of the Air to them.

After hiking for nearly 45 minutes, I turned onto a side trail that leads to Roan High Knob. Only .10 mile along this trail sits a shelter. To get to the summit, you must pass the shelter, continuing to ascend a gentle slope until reaching a very large rock. Atop this rock is the USGS bench mark.

Upon arrival at the summit, I met Pat KI4SVM. After assembling Curtis’ beam antenna, Pat not only lent me a piece of coax but also acted as my “antenna mast”, holding the antenna as I called CQ. Making contacts was difficult, even with the beam. Surely enough, I made the necessary four contacts plus two more while perched on top of the rock on Roan High Knob.

Before Pat and I descended the mountain, we spoke to some AT hikers at the shelter. We had a nice conversation about amateur radio. We both made it back to the parking lot shortly before 7:00 pm.


Oct 13

W4T/RV-001 Holston High Point

Summit: W4T/RV-001 – Holston High Point

Date: October 13, 2013

Weather: Mostly cloudy, calm breeze

Radio Equipment:
Kenwood TH-F6A triband HT
Portable 2m beam

2m-12 (S2S-2)

Hiking Path: Very short hike around gated fence

Difficulty:  Easy


On October 13, 2013, Erik WX4ET and I successfully activated Holston High Point atop Holston Mountain. Accessing the summit was fairly easy, by driving up Panhandle Rd. which turns into a forest road that goes straight to the top of Holston. The road is paved in places but it is largely gravel. There are several dips and ruts along the road. I hit one of them a little too fast, nearly sending Erik airborne.

Initially, we ended up driving past the summit. According to the SOTA map, the summit is located at the VORTAC facility which sits on the northern side of the road. It has a chain link fence around front with two signs, one forbidding weapons, the other stating that visitors are subject to search. There were no signs forbidding trespassing. You cannot see the VORTAC itself from the road, but the fence is visible.

After parking at the gravel road that leads to the fence, Erik and I hiked around the fence, which comes to an abrupt end a few feet north of the gate. We made our way up to the VORTAC. After encountering a snake, we decided to set up along the gravel path that leads to the middle of the VORTAC. Visibility was nil and at times we could not even see the VORTAC that we were sitting next to.

After making our contacts, we got back to my truck and took a little drive further up the road, viewing the slew of antenna masts that occupy the top of Holston Mountain. Damn near running out gas, we successfully made it to the bottom of the mountain and found a gas station, which are few and far between past Elizabethton.