Ebun and I activated Jupiter Mountain earlier in the day, and because the weather was so nice, it made since to keep hiking. I suggested Tule Ridge, because it looked easy on the map. This was completely wrong. Summiting Tule Ridge is difficult and uncomfortably steep. Going up was hard and required the use of two hands on the ground in the steepest spots. Going down was almost harder. I was fooled early on thinking the hike would get easier because of recent dirt bike tracks on the trail, but whoever left them was obviously some kinda dirt bike god. We finally got to the summit 20 minutes before 00:00z, where it was cold and very windy, Normally I would wait until the next ‘day’ to start an activation, but I felt we were at risk of loosing daylight so the station was setup as quickly as possible, and APRS spots for 40M were sent. 5 contacts were made before 00:00, and two additional contacts were made after. The radio was packed up quickly once again and we headed back to the trailhead as quickly, and safely as possible, with about 20 minutes of daylight to spare. I can’t wait to do this one again in the future, hopefully with more time.
With the forest directly above Los Angeles still mostly shutdown due to fire, I’ve been focusing my efforts to the western part of the San Gabriel Mountains above Santa Clarita, hopefully doing as much exploring and SOTA activating I can in the area before it gets brutally hot in the summer. There are two trailheads for Jupiter Mountain; The first trail is a steep firebreak which leads directly to the summit, where you will find a small bench. The second trail is a narrow single track, which is longer, but not quite as steep. These two trails together make a nice loop. Ebun, my hiking pal and I chose to ascend the steep firebreak, then go down the narrow single track, which seems to be the most popular route when referencing SoCal hiking blogs. We encountered a pair of jeeps driving to the top, so you could also drive up the firebreak to the summit in a 4×4 with low gears. I packed a G90 radio, which I acquired second hand, and haven’t used on a SOTA trip before. Additionally, I haven’t really used it at home either so I had a bit of a learning curve to operate the radio. Using APRS, I spotted myself on 20M SSB, then 40M SSB, where I made a bunch of QSOs. Once all the chasers were worked, Ebun and I hiked down to the starting point.
I activated Warm Springs Mountain on Winter Field Day. My original plan was to cycle up to my favorite local park and work on my terrible CW skills, but my pal Tim just took delivery of a new custom built Crust frame and wanted to ride up some hills. I can’t say no to a bike ride, so I packed up my new seat bag with 5 ice cold beers, put the radios in the pannier, and headed up to the summit. It’s roughly 6~7% grade and 6.5 miles to the top on an exposed fire road. At the top I was surprised to find a weather station, an old lookout platform, a small radio shelter with a short tower. We got there roughly 30 minutes before 00:00z, so time was spent on top of the tower enjoying cold beer. I setup the station and immediately heard stations wall to wall on SSB. Once a clear frequency was found, I self spotted via APRS, however the reply I got said the summit was invalid. Luckily I had a phone with data, so I was able to confirm on the SOTA site that I was indeed on a summit. Self spotting through the web gui didn’t work either, so I called on 2M to a local chaser requesting a spot – who couldn’t spot either! Turns out the W6 database was getting updated, so nobody could send spots out! I worked as many stations as I could on 20M (three, but hands were too frozen to write so I missed one in my log) which was difficult due to several stations running kilowatts. I made a few more on 2M, enough to qualify the peak. The ride down was fast and quite enjoyable. Looking forward to activating this one again!
I activated this summit in January, just before a storm system was coming into Southern California to dump snow on higher elevation peaks. To take advantage of extra winter bonus points, I set out early from my home and quickly bagged Table Mountain, a very easy summit before heading over to the Circle Mountain trailhead. Once there, the trail was well defined and easy to follow. At the top, I setup next to the summit marker and spotted myself. My wife hiked around the large flat summit while I operated on 20M/ 40M bands. Quickly, the temperature dropped and we noticed frozen rain falling from the sky. I quickly packed up the station and headed down to the car.
I’ve passed by this summit several times but never made the effort to activate it. The trail up is pretty obvious, just follow it along the ridge line up to the top. It’s pretty steep with loose soil in some sections so be careful. Also, watch out for snakes! Worked 20M, 40M with 5 S2S contacts. Not bad! From here I continued on and activated W6/CT-167, which is nearby.
This was my second summit of the day, activating W6/CT-265 earlier. Whatever you do, don’t use my GPS tracks to find your way up to this peak. I was 100% off making the ascent, however, I think I was mostly correct going back down to the start on Aliso Canyon Road.
Kel, Esther, Lars, and myself setoff on bicycles to reach the summit of Magic Mountain, which was used by the Marquardt Corporation as a rocket engine test facility. At the top, there are modern radio towers, and two large tanks which held water to cool the rocket engines under test on the pads below. The ride started near Bear Divide, off Little Tujunga Canyon Road, and follows the Santa Clara Truck Trail. Immediately you’re presented with an 8% ~ 11% grade, which lasts for around 2 miles. After a few hundred feet of slight downhill, you get right back to a steep grade for another 4 miles or so. Around mile 6, the paved road will make a sharp left turn through a gate, which leads up to the summit. We found intense winds and cold air at the top which made our time at the summit short. I worked 17M, and 40M. UHF/ VHF might be tough up here without filters due to the proximity to the big radio towers.
This is the second time I’ve activated Josephine Peak. I rode bicycles up with my wife, E, and Lars. Cold weather and brutal winds kept me off the HF bands as the antenna mast wouldn’t have stood up. Worked 2M FM and 10M SSB. Not much has changed up there, see my previous activation report here for more info.