Sunday, February 18, 2018

SOTA - Thurston Peak

I’m really enjoying my SOTA (amateur radio’s “Summits on the Air”) activations. My first official activation was last week on Frary Peak, the highest point on Antelope Island. Every since moving to Davis County, I’ve had my eye on the toughest peak here, Thurston Peak. This weekend my wife hosted a wedding shower, so I had the chance to escape the house and head up.

Thurston Peak lies to the north of Francis Peak, site of an air radar installation. To get to Thurston, the easiest approach is from Francis Peak, north just a bit along the ridge line. Having gotten a look at the ridge line, however, I’m thinking that hike is no cakewalk. The ridge line is rugged, gaining and losing decent altitude at every lesser peak. In the winter, the road to Francis is closed due to snow. Many winters sees this road as a popular snowmobile destination, but this winter in Utah has been almost snowless - the snow line this weekend was right around 7500 feet or higher. I have to admit, if there were more snow I might have asked for a lift to Francis so I could tackle both peaks!

The morning started early, with a 5:45 am “BOG” trail time (boots on the ground). Knowing I’d be crossing a snow field, I had to pack a fair amount of gear - snowshoes, hiking poles, and an ice axe. Unlike most trips, I used every piece fo gear I brought.

The trail begins at the Fern Hollow trail head, which is reached by taking SR 89 to the Cherry Street intersection. From the parking lot, head east up the trail. Some people take the direct route straight up the hill, but I prefer to follow the trail east, on the south side of the hill, and then back up from the east side of the ridge. Regardless of the approach, eventually you end up on an east-west ridge due east of Antelope Drive, which is the north ridge of the "Middle Fork Hobbs Creek" canyon. I hope you enjoy the view, because you’re on this ridge for a long time!

Looking down from the ridge

As you climb, the ridges just keep coming. There are three or four of them, progressively more north of each other. The going is tough - you’ll climb roughly 4000 feet in less than 3 “horizontal” miles.

I call this the "Lunch Counter". Great view for a snack and a rest.

Eventually you'll clear the ridge and end up solid on the west face of the north south ridgeline. At this point, you've got options: continue due east to pick up elevation, or start to head south/southeast to draw closer to Francis Peak. On my trek this weekend, I made a slight route finding error, heading south around the final ridge. This put me at the base of a narrow, steep avalanche chute. The snow conditions were tough in this chute--alternating between crusted and soft, so I ended up breaking through the crust every other step. It was quite exposed, so I retreated west as I climbed up out of it. It cost a fair amount of time and a lot of energy. Lesson: don't head south until you've cleared the final peak on the Hobbs Creek Middle Fork ridge.

Wind-loaded snow conditions

As I write this blog, we're receiving 6" to 12" of snow in the valley, so the snow conditions yesterday are irrelevant. But crossing south along the face just below the ridge line was consistent: wind-loaded, crusty, cupped snow. Ideal for climbing, although at times I felt a bit over-exposed. I was climbing on MSR snowshoes with an alpine ice axe. I think I'd have been more comfortable either in crampons or roped up with a buddy.

Close up of crusted, wind-loaded, cupped face.

I routed several hundred feet below the ridge, for maybe a mile or two from the middle fork Hobbs creek to the Thurston Peak ridge proper. Thank heaven for glacier glasses, too. Once the sun broke over the ridge, it was bright and nearly directly head on.

First Glimpse of Summit

After traversing south below the main ridge, the last effort to the summit is a pretty big hump due east up the Thurston Peak ridge. I selected this route because the actual north-south ridge looked pretty rugged and I wasn't sure of the snow conditions. On the return route, I stayed closer to the ridge line because the entire traverse to the south I felt really exposed, and it just got worse climbing that last hump to the summit. The ridgeline route cut off a good 15 min on the way back.

This is what feels like to summit

This is what it takes to get there (and back). I promise - my battery died the moment I walked in the door. No extra steps counted.

Plaque explaining who Thomas Jefferson Thurston was

360-degree view

My SOTA Setup

I learned my last hike when I hit Frary Peak that, as excited as I might be to "play radio," it's important to take care of myself first. Frary is a forgiving hike, frequented by lots of hikers. Thurston? I reckon to be one of a handful who summit this peak all winter. There was no room for mistakes like failing to hydrate, eat, or put on extra clothes.

This video shows why taking care is important - the wind was blowing at a good 20 mph. The wind chill factor was enough that exposed skin was frosted in seconds.

Setting up the KX3

One guy line for the Buddistick

I buried the hiking stick in snow, and set the ice ax in front of it for stability. With the wind blowing as it was, only two guy lines were necessary.

SOTA base station - KX3, Thermarest chair with closed-cell foam.


Buddistick set up, leaning against the wind. The Ogden Valley is in the background. The backpack was a wind shelter.

I'm learning SOTA activations go fast. As soon as I set up, I called CQ and was picked up by my buddy WB6YOK (whose QTH is about a mile due south of Thurston. I couldn't self-spot on the SOTA app, so Chuck spotted me. After that, I had 11 solid QSOs in 20 minutes, and then activity just dropped to nothing. My activator log:

18:08zW5ODS14MHzSSB58 into OK
18:10zN4EX14MHzSSB44 into NC
18:11zWD9F14MHzSSB55 into IL
18:12zWA2USA14MHzSSB55 into IN
18:17zKD0YOB14MHzSSB57 into MN
18:18zK8HU14MHzSSB59 into VA
18:18zAK5SD14MHzSSB45 into TX
18:19zWB0KIU14MHzSSB56 into IA
18:20zAB5V14MHzSSB47 into TX - Randy
18:21zK0LAF14MHzSSB33 into MO

Signals were varied, but this is my second SOTA activation and both times have had strong signals into the East, with VA being the best signal of the day. It was great chatting with Randy AB5V in Magnolia, TX who is a SOTA activator himself. I had several SOTA chasers on this activation, which is great.

With the bands settling quickly, I packed up and made my way out quickly. A couple mountaineering quips serve me well on each climb. First, as my friend and climbing partner Fredito KE7JVA says, there are old climbers, there are bold climbers, but there are no old, bold climbers. Caution is the mother of safe arrivals. Second is that the majority of mountaineering incidents happen on the way home. Climbers often forget they need as much energy to get down safely as it takes to get up to the summit. Once I was packed up, I took a moment to center myself. On the way up, I decided I wanted to return a different route, due to the excessive exposure. Had I been wearing crampons, it would have been a different story and I'd have gone back the same way. Rather, I decided to head north up the ridge, climbing down a steep rock section, skirting a nearby summit by traversing to the west through trees, then heading across the snowfield. I stayed much higher on the return route, eventually meeting up with the ridgeline prior to heading west into the Middle Fork Hobbs Creek drainage.

One mistake I made on this trip was to switch from my extra large Nalgene bottle to my CamelBak. They have the same capacity, but the CamelBak tube froze up at the summit, and I had to hike for a solid hour before I could thaw it enough to drink. By then, I felt the dehydration.

The hike home is just a repeat of the hike up - step by step, watch the ice, watch the mud. As I age, my knees get sore on the way down, so it's all about tender steps. It underscores the need to travel light.

A hike like this is roughly the equivalent of hiking from Paradise to Camp Muir, Mt. Rainer's staging site for a final summit attempt. Each time I pull off a hike of this magnitude, I say the same thing: "never again, not for several years," but sitting in my armchair writing this blog, I'm already thinking about what the next peak will be.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

SOTA - Frary Peak

Had an awesome afternoon activating Frary Peak (W7U/NU-073, or DN30vx). This peak is located on Antelope Island, in the southeast corner of the Great Salt Lake, in the "Antelope Island" state park. As a Utah state park pass holder, all I had to pay was $2 to drive across the causeway, so it was a cheap way to spend an afternoon.

It being so early in the year, the peak is usually covered in snow and the upper parking lot was closed, so that added about 1/2 mile each way to what's generally a 3.3 mile hike/climb, with 2100 feet of elevation gain. The trail's been rerouted since I last summited, and I really like the new route. It's a lot safer - it passes south along the west side of the summit, just below the actual summit. Then it switchbacks north. So much easier on the knees.

Starting off the climb. It was in the lower 40's with a stiff wind. All the exertion of carrying a heavy pack allowed me to hike in warm pants and a light long-sleeve tech shirt.

The approach is from the north and generally follows the ridge, with some pretty stunning views of the Great Salt Lake, as well as the Wasatch range.

Just in case you weren't paying attention, this is a trail. ;)

Looking west off the lower trail. The rise in the distance is "Elephant Rock"

Looking to the NW across the Great Salt Lake

Again to the NW over the Great Salt Lake.

After a fairly strenuous hike, you traverse about 200' below the summit, headed south on the west side of the summit. This traverse is mostly new - it used to end with basically scrambling straight up, which was pretty intimidating. A local ham who loves the island worked hard to get some Boy Scout crews together to redo the trail. It's very nice now.

Finally, you're there! This is the original survey marker from 1892. There's a round marker in the rocks just to the south of this.

Without further ado, in temps around 30 with a slight breeze (enough to evaporate any warmth in a hurry) I went about setting up my SOTA station.

KX3, with 12v 5ah SLA battery - ugh, so heavy. Picking up a 14.4v 4 AH LIPO RC battery soon, I hope. What I love about the KX3 is that it's half the weight of my old FT817, can output as much as 15 watts, and has a tuner built in. Right there it's saved me a ton of weight!

I haven't taken the time to build my SOTA antenna (half wave wire antenna with a matching box at the end), so I lugged my Buddistick up with me this time. I've only made a couple contacts on this in the past, in spite of owning it for 4-5 years and trying valiantly! I wasn't sure what to think of it today, but it came through right along with the KX3!

This SOTA trip is a big deal to me. It's been (honestly) years since I last made a contact on HF. I've sold all my older gear, and bought an Elecraft KX3 which I recently built. After a week of hammering away on HF bands here and there, I'd started to wonder whether it was my antenna, my coax, or actually my radio but I've not had a single contact. Judging by my logbook today, I do believe I can narrow it down to my coax.

I logged 18 QSOs (threw out two because the call signs aren't showing up in the FCC database - I must have misheard the operators). Great day's work - including an amazing QSO with Heriberto in Puerto Rico, as well as KB3RHR in Pennsylvania.

23:30zKG5PJG14MHzSSB59 to Stillwater OK
23:30zWA5OBV14MHzSSB10w 59 to Phil in Stillwater OK
23:30zWB6YOK14MHzSSB4 miles LOL
23:35zKB3RHR14MHzSSB55 into PA
23:45zKP4EYT14MHzSSBPuerto Rico - 57
23:45zW0ERI14MHzSSB55 KS
23:45zW5AHA14MHzSSB58 into Tipulo MS birthplace of Elvis
23:45zKD0MQO14MHzSSB3x3 into Missouri
23:45zK5UQE14MHzSSB57 into LA
23:45zKI4TN14MHzSSB1x1 hard to copy

Quick summary and a 360 shot from Frary:

All good things must come to an end. I packed up quickly as soon as the action died down (didn't even bother with 40 meters). The hike down was just as rewarding as the hike up. I've been struggling with knee problems since September, but I've been climbing a lot of local trails lately and the work is paying off - the soft tissue is getting strong, and the hike down didn't really cause much pain at all.

Looking west, about halfway down.

These are the peaks just above my house - there are 5 SOTA peaks right here, hoping to activate them all this summer.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Getting (Back) Into HF Radio

In 2009, I earned my amateur radio "technician" license. This allowed me to operate two-way radio on VHF and UHF bands (as well as one HF band). That was awesome, because I was leading a small group of scouts and leaders on a 50-mile hike through Utah's Uinta mountain range, and in most places the only way to communicate was by radio (no cell coverage, and at one point we'd be 25 miles away from anything, in all directions).

After the hike, I was enthralled. I volunteered to provide communications support for a late-fall endurance race, and met my radio mentor WB6YOK, Chuck. He opened the world of HF radio to me, showing me how it works and letting me operate from his 'shack' in his home. He taught me how to operate in voice as well as digital modes. In 2010 I upgraded to a "General" class license so I could operate on HF frequencies, and I soon bought myself a 100 watt mobile rig capable of HF, VHF and UHF operation.

Fast forward one divorce and four years later. I remarried and moved into my wife's house about 30 miles south of where I had been living. Our house was in a treeless neighborhood, and she balked a bit at my simple 8' VHF antenna. There was no way to convince her to let me install an HF antenna. My interest in radio remained, but the opportunity to operate dimmed.

It is now nearly 2018. We recently relocated (ironically about 10 miles north of where I was originally). We have a home in established trees, where the right HF antenna can be easily obscured and therefore not detract from the home's aesthetics. I've decided to become "radio active" again and start operating. This blog series will be dedicated to applying the lessons I've learned both times I've gotten into HF operations. It's meant as a "don't make the same mistakes I made" guide, to help newer operators save time, money, and frustration.

For me, amateur radio is about two things: 1) it's about the project, and 2) it's about the contacts. I enjoy researching and planning a project, because I learn a lot and I like to tinker. I've been able to tackle several projects, such as:

  • installing a voice compression module into a microphone, to improve my radio's ability to transmit legibly.
  • building a CW (Morse code) radio that fits into an Altoids tin
  • Building an antenna tuner for my low-power radio
  • Building a Hendricks PFR3 CW radio (my favorite project to-date, even though it took 3 years)
  • Building several antennas, from simple wire antennas to a backcountry 2m dipole
As I said, projects increase my knowledge. I am a kinetic learner, too, so any project pretty much ensures a better understanding of the subject.

I also enjoy making contacts, very much. Whether it's voice on 40 meters or digital PSK on some other band, it is thrilling to me to talk with people around the world, without using any infrastructure. I'm independent of the Internet, phone or other communications networks (and the associated costs). My biggest issue with HF so far has been that, if you could do something a wrong way, I did it. My logbook is very thin, with only about 12 contacts logged. I didn't feel I was giving much up when I stopped pursuing HF radio, quite honestly. But now it's time to go back and redo things, and do it right, so when I power up my radio I can be relatively confident I'll have a successful conversation (or more).

Successful HF radio is a factor of several things:
  • Antenna
  • Radio
  • Output power
  • Band conditions
  • Patience
  • Luck
My biggest mistakes starting out were primarily due to using inefficient antennas, radios with insufficient receivers, and low-power radios. Band conditions are beyond our control as operators, but understanding the bands, their conditions, and related solar cycles is a big deal and helps the operator prepare, thereby increasing contacts as well.

So throughout this blog series, I'll address each of these (some multiple times).

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

OLD Trip Report: Hiking the Wave

In December 2015, my wife and I both put in for the lottery for passes to hike The Wave (, a geological formation in Arizona (approached from Utah--so we kinda claim it as ours). We won the lottery for a date in April, and this is as detailed of a trip report as I can come up with. I found as I was preparing for the trip that there's not a lot of great info

Getting There

There are several steps to "getting there" to hike The Wave:
  1. You need a pass to get in. The area is so incredibly photogenic and such an amazing geological formation that people would overrun it if it wasn't controlled. Therefore the Bureau of Land Management limits entry to 20 hikers per day - 10 by a quarterly lottery and 10 by a daily lottery at their office. We tried for nearly two years to get in - your mileage may vary.
  2. Once you have passes, you need to actually get to the Wave. The trailhead is about 9 miles down an "unimproved" gravel road, which is about 40 miles east of Kanab Utah. If you're into camping, there are unimproved camp sites all along the road, and at the Utah/Arizona border there is a formal campground. If you're into hot water and a comfy bed, Kanab is your closest option (unless you're coming from the East, in which case Page may be an option). Kanab is Utah's most recently "discovered" city and, as such, has several new hotels as of 2016, to fit even the most demanding guest. We stayed at the Comfort Inn and Suites and loved it - great people, great rooms, good rates.
  3. Get ready for danger. The Wave is a 100% exposed hike - there isn't significant elevation gain (maybe 400 feet total) but it is exposed and, for the most part, on red and orange slick rock. We hiked in 60 degree weather and I still drained a 70-ounce CamelBak. Bring:
    1. Water (and lots of it)
    2. A wide-brimmed hat (it's not about the looks, cowgirl)
    3. Sunscreen (and lots of it)
    4. Sunglasses (the darker, the better)
  4. The trail isn't significantly rugged. I hiked it in low-top hiking shoes and never had an issue. Most of the trail is on slick rock or in sand.
  5. Find a high-clearance vehicle. The road is unimproved - we were there in the "rainy" season, and approached the day after heavy rain had fallen. It was badly rutted. As it tuns out, a variety of two-wheel drive passenger cars ultimately made it to the trailhead (including a Honda Accord). I didn't want to chance it, so we ended up renting a four-wheel drive vehicle (Jeep Cherokee) from a Kanab-based rental company (Express Rent-A-Car $150 a day was a bit high for what we got (a Cherokee with 98,000 miles - and you felt every one of those miles) but it was competitive with the alternative (renting from St. George and driving back and forth). Nonetheless it got us where we wanted to go, without incurring (or worrying about incurring) damage to our car. I suppose in the dry season, especially a few weeks after the last rain, any car can make it - the ruts will be knocked down and the road should be relatively flat (I wouldn't say "smooth"). But any other time, when rain is in the forecast, better safe than sorry. You'll cross several washes on the way in (a wash is where a stream crosses the road - or the road crosses a stream) which, during heavy rains, will become overrun with water flowing fast enough to sweep a car away.

Finding Your Way

Thanks to Google Maps - here's a map from Salt Lake City:

From Kanab, Utah head east on Route 89. The road will eventually bend left in a long sweeping curve, and shortly thereafter bend right in another long sweeping curve. After a short straightaway, the road takes a sharper left turn - this is where the trailhead cuts off, to the right. Go slow, it's a sharp turn!

House Rock Valley Road follows a canyon of sorts, south from 89 deep into the Vermillion Cliffs park. The drive in is gorgeous, especially after rains have fallen. The topography is green and, well, maybe not lush but pretty amazing for Utah's dry side! The drive itself is worth the trip from Kanab.

After what feels like 100 miles (at least in an old Cherokee), you'll get to a very obvious trailhead complete with BLM pit toilets. Park there on the west side of the road. The trail begins on the east side of the road.

The Approach

The BLM will provide you with an excellent photographic guide - color photos of what you should see as you approach and depart the Wave. DO NOT RELY on this alone - the way back can be confusing and it's easy to get lost! The BLM map includes GPS coordinates - invest in a GPS (don't use your phone, use a real GPS) and punch those coordinates in. This is a map from Topo Maps:

Note that the trail isn't as beeline-straight as the map shows. It wanders, but eventually you'll cross each point.

The trail starts out following a wash. After 1/2 a mile in the wash, it heads up a short, but steep, hill and the adventure truly begins. From here you will climb and descend over sand dunes as well as slick rock hills. 

Sand Ribs (C) 2016 John Overbaugh

The rock formations are absolutely amazing - some look like topographic maps, some look like Jabba the Hutt. No kidding:

You're in for a treat, as you draw nearer and nearer to the Wave, the formations become more and more interesting. Nothing to prepare you for the natural beauty of the Wave, mind you, but still interesting in and of themselves.

It's difficult to tell from the topographic map, but the trail really is up, or down. There's not much flat to it. Combine this with high exposure, then throw high temperatures in (in the summer, it can reach and exceed 120 degrees in the afternoon), and layer on bright, reflective rock and you have a formula for disaster. PAY ATTENTION: people die here. They get dehydrated, disoriented, and lost. The BLM does not patrol the trail--you're at the mercy of other hikers, but if you stray far from the trail, even they can't help. Bring lots of water. Bring too much water, so you can share it with others. Leave the extra tripod or second camera body at home and bring extra water.

Twin Buttes (C) 2016 John Overbaugh

Pay close attention to the photographic guide from the BLM. It's easier to follow on the way in than the way out, and when you're returning you'll be tired. It's important to slow down, pay attention to your surroundings, and find the (few) brown markers the BLM has placed to help you find your way. Taking a little time to route find will save you a ton of time backtracking (no really, believe me - I have hundreds of days in the backcountry and even I had to "re-route" a few times on the way home).

Eventually you'll come down off some slick rock, just below what we called "The Sphinx" (see photo), across a wide sandy wash. Ahead of you is a steep sandy slope that eventually turns into slick rock. Start climbing - the Wave awaits you!

The Sphinx (C) 2016 John Overbaugh

The Wave

OK--what is the wave? It's an amazing maze-like formation cut out of multi-layered, colorful sandstone. It's Y shaped, with the "V" part of the Y facing you as you approach (so the top of the Y is northward). The tail of the Y slopes up a steep wall, to a flat area about 100 feet above the Wave. Keep in mind this 3-d "Y" is cut into a solid mass of sandstone - thus exposing the various colors of each layer in the rock.

Looking south into the intersection of the "Y" shaped wave. (C) 2016 John Overbaugh

The other entrance to the wave is a quick backtrack out of this one. Head out, bear to the left around the hill outside the wave, climb up a few steps and you're entering the smaller top of the "Y". 

The Wave (C) 2016 John Overbaugh

As you can see, the Wave is just incredible. Geological forces stretched the rock, causing curves in the layers (almost like salt water taffy). It doesn't hurt to hike with someone as cute as my wife, either--it just enhances the sights!

After a short distance (25-30 feet) this section intersects with the rest of the "Y"

The Wave (C) 2016 John Overbaugh

Walking around the Wave gives an amazing variety of views and experiences.

Folds of Waves (C) 2016 John Overbaugh

Finally, as you ascend the 'headwall' on the southern end of the Wave, you'll be rewarded with an ever-changing view, with fold after fold of rock:

More Folds of Waves (C) 2016 John Overbaugh

Wavy Landscape (C) 2016 John Overbaugh

Friday, March 17, 2017

Winter Projects

The '16-'17 winter was very good to the Vstrom DL 650. We tackled a number of projects (my son Caleb helped me out on each of them). Kind of short on photos, just because it was a "doers, doing" kind of series of sessions...

Gaffler Stainless Brake Lines

I added some Rox 2" bar risers late last fall, which were stretching my factory brake lines too much for my comfort. So over the winter break, my son came down and we installed shiny new Gaffler stainless steel brake lines. I've never bled brakes before, but hey... I can't be that difficult right? Spoiler: it wasn't.

The process began by draining the brake fluid. If you've read my other posts, you know the store of this bike. It's an '08 DL650, bought in Oct 2015 with 1600 miles on it <fist pump>. I did the second oil change on it, and I've done all the factory maintenance since. Every hose, every seal I've inspected, and every fluid has come out looking brand new, and the front brake fluid was no exception. But they say to change brake fluid about every season, so it'd either been 8 seasons or 3 seasons, depending on how you measure a season.

Draining the fluid isn't difficult. Pull off the master cylinder cover and open the bleed valves on each caliper. I then pulled off the lines themselves and chucked them (and in hindsight realized I might have been able to help a buddy out and offered them up on the Stromtrooper forum--sorry, pal).

I'd ordered 2" extended brake lines from Gaffler, which arrive timely and in good shape. The install was a snap, other than a mistake in routing them (I ran them too low, which interfered with a later project of installing lever guards).

Bleeding brakes is pretty intuitive, once you get the hang of it. There are several good youtube videos to get you started, I particularly liked this one; Lemmy at Revzilla does a great job: 

My son did mess up once, and allowed the reservoir to drain too far, so we had to start all over again, but no big deal. It still took well less than a single bottle of NAPA DOT3 fluid.

Sorry, only got one shot. Gaffler offers several colors, in factory lengths but with the option to go longer, for situations like mine (bar risers) or situations where you're adding clip-ons. It's a good idea to have just about the exact length needed, rather than having a lot of slack. The kits come complete with clips to hold the lines, banjo bolts, and crush washers. You do need to check your service manual to determine the appropriate torque for the banjo bolts (top and bottom).

One note for Strom owners: the factory brake lines have a single line to a T right above the fender but the Gaffler kit is two separate lines, one for each side (and very clearly labeled).

The rest of the time that evening was spent checking the air filter (no small feat on a VStrom), re-routing some wires, etc.

If you're wondering about whether you can tackle this job, just go for it. I can't imagine how someone could get this wrong if they watch a few videos and then pay attention.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Driving Lights

My wife's biggest concern about me riding is the safety aspect - namely that others can't necessarily see (or register that they're seeing) me on the bike. I wear a bright yellow jacket, and add a reflective vest at night, but that's just not quite enough. After setting up my auxiliary power circuit (, I decided to tackle driving lights.

I'm not a cheapskate, but I don't like to spend money where it's not needed. So while my first thought was to spring for a set of Denali driving lights (north of $200), I decided to give something more affordable a try, first. Enter the Lylla headlamp: $26 on The lamp ships with a switch (which I've set aside and saved for another project) and two LED lamps. A few days after I ordered, the lamps arrived. They were, well, larger than I expected!

As always, the first challenge was where to install the lamps. They ship with a bracket, but the default configuration requires the bracket be mounted to a round bar which is perpendicular to the direction of travel. It meant I couldn't use the engine guards, and the generous fairing on the Strom also meant I couldn't use the handlebars. Eventually I realized the fender bolt would be perfect:

With the destination selected, the next step was to slightly modify the bracket--the shoulder on the fender bolt is a tiny bit larger than the hole at the base of the light frame:

The benefit of cheap Chinese metal is that it files quickly.

Once I modified the base of the bracket, it was simple to get installed:

With the frame mounted, it was a simple matter of installing the light and closing up the frame:

 Finally, I wired up everything to a power lead I pulled up from the fuse block in the back, and presto - there was light!