Back from Mont Morissette

Well the day was a FANTASTIC SUCCESS…

Jose picked me up at 0900 (right on time) and we left Ottawa after picking up a couple of sub sandwiches for lunch at about 0930.  We managed to make it out of Ottawa (they call it rush hour but nothing moves) and were on the highway heading north.  We made a courtesy stop near Wakefield QC and then continued on our way north.  After Wakefield the road reverts back to windy two lane highway that slows down every time you find a small village…


The oncoming lumber trucks also keep you on your toes…escelator


We arrived at the site around noon and quickly set up…


I was using my Yaesu FT 817, LDG QRP Autotuner and the antenna of the day way my 10-20-40m Par End Fed QRP antenna with a double ended male connector attaching the balun directly to the back of the tuner.

Mont_Morissette_VA3QV_StationPicture courtesy VA3PCJ

I guess its shown  in this picture, sorry its not the best…but you can see the wire of the antenna coming up from behind the radio and tuner.  No coax in this setup what so ever.


There was no actual feedline in my setup.  No coax = no line loss from coax…  This only works if you run the antenna as a sloper or a vertical.  Today we were a sloper configuration set up right beside the summits marker.



It seems VA3PCJ has a better camera than me…

Above- the Summit Marker and below- my APRS display showing co-ordinates and altitude


Sorry… the pic ain’t the best but you can make out the Altitude (if you squint) in the bottom right…


Can’t get any higher than that unless you were in the fire tower (locked up) beside me…

There is a chance that the newer tower will be used as a lookout in the near future.  It would be 80 feet above the ground which would make it real close to 1400 feet AGL and it will be open to the public.

Jose VA3PCJ (Operating as VE3DTI for the event) (its his other call and much easier than VA3PCJ in CW) was using his Alex Loop antenna (portable mag loop- not cheap, but highly recommended) and his super sounding Elecraft KX3.


Picture courtesy VE3PCJ

I managed to make contacts from coast to coast…  Newfoundland to Oregon on 20m ssb

1625utc–  The first contact of the day was on 14.285usb with VO1OK in Newfoundland.  This was a QRP to QRP contact with my FT 817 talking to his KX3.  According to my mapping program this was a distance of approx 860 miles.


Right after that I contacted AE4FZ in North Carolina, at distance of approx 800 miles and Charles spotted me on the cluster and then the fun really started….


In quick succession KA2AXQ in South Carolina (850 miles),  K9EZ in North Carolina, K8TE in New Mexico.  Bill is approx 1750 miles from Mont Morissette..  N4EX in North Carolina, NS7P Phil in Oregon at a distance of approx 2260 miles, NE4TN in the state of Tennessee (750 miles)

The pile up kept on running and I then worked:

W7CNL Jack in Idaho at distance of just under 2000 miles, followed by WX4ET from Tennesee. (747miles)  Next on the contact list was WB5USB in New Mexico at a distance of 1760 miles.  George is an avid SOTA Type and it was good to make the contact…

That ended the pile up and was it ever a busy 20 minutes for me…  11 contacts all on 20 meters…  Not contesting speeds but faster than anything I had to work with in quite a while…


Picture courtesy VA3PCJ

I took a few minutes to catch my breath ( and eat lunch) and then I switched over to 40m (as VE3DTI wanted to try CW on 20m).  40 was not as good for me but I did manage to find VE3GNA on 7.235.  Glenn was participating in a NTS Net and I was able to jump in and say hi to him just as the net closed.  Contact number 12 was in the log…

I then decided to try the VHF Bands in the hope that an Ottawa Station might have tried 2m or 6m ssb…  After lots of calling I decided that it would not be VHF Day…

I then QSY’d over to 17m and heard lots of strong European stations but I could not break the pile ups they were causing…

At this point I was thinking that perhaps my day was done…  40 had died out for me… 20 as well and I could not get heard on 17…  As a last try… I went over to 15m and spun the dial…  I heard a couple of really strong stations but they all admitted in their qsos that they were running 1.5kw and the like so I knew I could not break any pile ups with 5w…  I could hear them…. But radio is not always a 2 way street…


Picture courtesy VA3PCJ

I decided to pick a clear frequency and just call SQ SOTA and see if anything would happen…  Well I’m glad I did because lucky number 13 turned out to be a great rag chew with KE4LJH Steve in Oklahoma.  This 15m QSO was at a distance of  1400 miles.  We had a great chat about antennas as I explained the needs of a portable operator (easy to put up etc) and I also was able to explain to him how to see where I was by going to and looking up my callsign VA3QV-7  We were able to chat for about 10 minutes before the band started to shift on us…

Shortly after that we decided to tear down and head back to Ottawa…  We were about 2 hours out given the evening traffic and it had been a long but rewarding day….


You can see our APRS Track on the way up and back.  My rig was running 5w into a mini mag mount and set to auto beacon every 5 minutses… You can see that a few packets were dropped but… The starting point, The turnaround point and the finish made it onto the map so you can see the trip

Below-The CW log courtesy of VE3DTI(VA3PCJ operator) was just as great. Look it over for yourself…


Here is my CW harvest yesterday…
KG3W PA 40m
ON(1), BC(1), MA(1), NC(2), PA(1), TN(1), AZ(2), NM(3), AL(1) & TX(1)
These are all already in the SOTA database, LoTW, eQSL, Hamlog, ClubLog and
Not bad for 5W and the Alexloop. As key I mostly used the PPK (the shrunk “evolution” of the German Junkers key_).
Its interesting to take a look at where we both chatted… both of us got east coast contacts (Mass and Newfoundland).  Both of us got West Coast Contacts (BC and Oregon)  We also both made contacts in the South West (New Mexico) and along the Eastern Seaboard.  Times of contacts varied slightly but for the most part we were proving what you could do with 5w of power in whatever mode you wanted to use…

He did make a couple more contacts than I did but then thats to be expected as CW does go out a bit further than SSB…

One of the VE3DTI contacts that deserves a meniton though:


Michel VE3EMB took the time during his lunch hour at work to take his KX3 and Buddistick up to the roof at his buillding, set up and actually complete a 40m (KX3 to KX3 QRP CW contact) with us…  This was our only  Ottawa contact.  Its always a special treat to be able to use Amateur Radio to call home no matter where we are… Thanks and Congrats Michel…

Its been a long time since our single day log count was so high…  It was fun handing out the SOTA Designation of VE2-OU-014 to as many people that I did…


Nice of them to remind us “City Slickers”

The place is so fantastic I would consider making it a few day trip…  Drive down on day 1 and get set up and operate 40m and 80m the first evening.  Drive back to a local motel and have supper… Day 2 spend the day there and operate 10-40m daytime and then back to the Motel for supper…  Day 3 pack up and go back to the summit… Operate the VHF bands (2m-6m and 70cm from the Lookout Tower (FN16) and then drive back to Ottawa for the evening.  It really could turn into a social event where I play radio as well. 

Who knows what next year holds but… You could do worse… 

From what I have heard and seen though the place is pretty popular on the weekends.  If you plan to visit on the weekends try and think a bit about your antennas as we don’t want some body driving an ATV or a family hiking to find your radials by accident…

But I highly recommend it as a Amateur Radio Operating Location that is Fantastic to operate from… Just respect the environment and the other users…  If you need information on the area… —>Check out this website<—   or –> this website<— for more information.



In closing I would like to thank the good people of the Blue Sea Lake area and those who look after the Park at Mont Morissette.  The locals we talked to were very friendly and helpful.  The site was clean and well maintained… Even the outhouse was clean and neat.  Thats got to be about the worst volunteer job you can imagine!!!.


Not Fancy but it works… and appreciated…


We are already planning our next trip up…


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2 Responses to “Back from Mont Morissette”

  1. VE3CLQ Bill Says:

    Glad you had a good time Bob…..listened for you all afternoon and never found you.

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