This was my third summit of the day. I decided to hike this one last minute because SoCal traffic was going to start loading up, and I figured why not hike instead of sit in traffic? I parked in a neighborhood somewhere in Thousand Oaks/ Westlake Village right next to the trailhead. Not entirely sure the name. Also not sure if this is still the Santa Monica Mountains? The path up is well defined and easy to follow. At the top is a single bench. I setup my station here as the sun set and called CQ on 40M, but only two takers. Pulled out the FM HT and called CQ on 2M and had a few local contacts. At this point the dew was setting and everything was getting extremely wet, to the point my paper wasn’t working anymore. Made two additional contacts on 40M then packed the station down and headed back to the car. I took the fire break down instead of the trail the wraps around the back side of the summit. My flashlight died on the way down so I used the white LED on my Yaesu, ha! I should probably pack a spare set of cells next time.
This was my first summit of the day out of three, one point summits in the Santa Monica Mountains. The trailhead is right off Mulholland Highway near Agoura Hills, and after about a mile hike in, you’re at the summit! No shade whatsoever. No rock pile to jam an antenna mast in. I ended up keeping my pole in my backpack and used my trekking pole as a secondary support which worked pretty well. It had been a few weeks since I thought about CW so I was super rusty and couldn’t remember how to send some things; I’m pretty sure I send David the wrong summit ref for our S2S. Worked 10M and 40M. Called out on 2M FM but had no takers. I packed the station up, headed down the hill and over to the next summit, Ladyface.
Ladyface is the second summit I did on a warm January day. The trailhead is easy to find, located just off the 101 on Kanan Rd. I parked on the side of the road and followed Ladyface Peak Trail to the summit. Quite steep in some areas and the road noise from the 101 and Kanan Rd never disappeared. I took the opportunity to rest several times and marvel at the McMansions below, and thought about how many tennis matches are actually played at all the tennis courts in various back yards. At the summit, I found a fiberglass fishing pole. I emailed the last activator asking if they wanted it back, but it wasn’t their pole! I setup my vertical and worked 10M and 40M. Two S2S. Tried 2M FM, but no takers. The weather turned and it got very cold quickly, which I was thankful for as it had been so hot hiking up. I packed the station away and headed down, thinking about how brutal this one would be in the middle of summer, and how I was glad to be doing it in January.
This activation wasn’t really planned. I was actually going on hiking a different summit, however the trailhead had a large “Trail Closed” sign. This didn’t stop anyone though, as I could see several others hiking up and down the switchbacks…. Anyways, I went back to the car and tried to figure out a plan B, which happened to be 2843. The hike starts out on a fire road. Around the one mile mark, split off road and head up a very steep firebreak. Luckily, we got some rain the ground was grippy instead of loose dust. Eventually you pass another road, but continue straight up the steep firebreak. At this point I felt like I was being stalked by a creature, but I never saw anything. Near the top, the hills were green with fresh grass, that reminded me of Windows XP. Once at the summit I setup my HF station, but I forgot to charge the battery! Doh! I was able to activate the summit with a HT only, on 2M, with one S2S. Hiking down, I wish I had a second trekking pole, because it was very steep!
One of my hiking pals rented a house in Wonder Valley for their birthday, so, of course we needed to go hiking somewhere, and since we were right by Joshua Tree National Park, that’s where we went! At the crowded trailhead, we were able to easily find a parking spot. Others were not so lucky and had to turn around. In addition to passenger vehicles, there were a few tour busses, full of people, all headed up a paved walking path to a vista. Luckily, Inspiration point was the opposite direction of the tourists, and after a few minutes of hiking, they were out of sight. At the summit, I mostly worked 10M, with one S2S.
Ontario Peak was my 100th activation in the logbook, but really only my 97th or 98th activation as I’ve stayed on a couple summits past 00:00z a few times and worked chasers a second time so they could get double points. All that being said, I wanted my 100th activation to be a long hike, in addition, I wanted to hike to a summit I’ve never been to. Ontario Peak fit that description, and having hiked Ice House Canyon twice before I knew what I was getting into. Originally I was only going to bring an HT for UHF/ VHF to save weight, but at the last moment the FT817 kit found it’s way into my pack, however, I omitted the antenna mast and Bioenno battery and just brought some twine to support my vertical antenna from a tree, and some AA batteries to run the rig.
The hike up is somewhat popular, and about 6 miles to the summit with a bunch of elevation gain. Once at the top I was surprised to find how small the actual summit is. I ate a burrito and relaxed a bit before calling CQ on my HT. This immediately got me 4 contacts, 1 S2S. Feeling pretty exhausted from the hike up, I wasn’t feeling motivated to set up the HF station. Good trees to support a wire are all kinda off the edge of ridge and likely outside of the activation zone. Since I hauled the equipment up there, I figured I would just lay the vertical over the chaparral and see what happened. I sent a spot on 20m CW and to my surprise, made several contacts. Moving to 30m, the AA batteries in my radio were acting up and the rig shutdown several times while calling CQ, so I gave up. While packing up the rig, I heard 3 S2S stations on 2m. Whoooohoo! After working the S2S stations, I finished packing up for the 6 mile hike back to the trailhead.
This is a rad hike in Yucca Valley. I tried to summit this one earlier in the year when summer bonus points were on the table, but I couldn’t find the trailhead. Returning a few months later after a bit more research, it turned out I was just one hill away from the trailhead the first time. With that sorted, my wife and I started to head up. The trail is pretty obvious, but it’s easy to loose track of it in some areas. Once at the top I setup my vertical and called out on 30M, then 40M, then 20M, self spotting on each band. Made on S2S to Timber Mountain, W6/CT-052, which makes that a complete for me. I look forward to hiking this one again.
Calabasas Peak is the first summit I activated in the Santa Monica Mountains. I parked across the street from the trailhead on Stunt Road and walked up the steep fire road to the summit. Once there, you will find a couple different benchmarks and a sturdy post to hold an antenna mast. There is little to no shade on the hike up, and very little shade at the summit. I drank 2 liters of water on the short 3.5 mile hike, as it was quite hot the day of my activation.
This is a pretty easy two point summit just off Interstate 5 north of Santa Clarita. Park near Templin Highway and find the fire road along the south side of the highway. Follow this up to a locked gate and continue up the hill. Eventually you will come to a saddle, with a light use trail which leads to the summit. Watch out for rattle snakes! Worked 20M, and 40M CW, no S2S.
There is something about the lower elevation summits along highway 14 that I really like, and while I’m not sure exactly what that thing is, 4300 has it. I started this hike from Aliso Canyon Road and followed the transmission line service road under a support tower and started hiking up cross country style as there was no trail. After a false summit, I made it to the top where it was quite windy. I was able to find a place to sit next to a thick bush which provided some relief from the wind, and a burned tree provided good support for the vertical antenna. There was good cell service, so I spotted myself on 30M. While calling CQ, I noticed some strange noises from the receiver, thinking nothing of it, I continued calling but got no replies… I figured I would try another band. Changing bands require a switch to flipped at the feed point, which adds a loading coil for whatever band was selected. To my surprise, the loading coil for 30m was sitting on the ground – no wonder the radio wasn’t working! The good news was I could still activate on 20M, as this antenna design resinated well there without coils. Made one S2S. On the hike down I picked up a faint use trail and followed it back to the service road. What a great day!