W6/CT-263 – 4020

This is a fun area to cycle; not too steep and the fire roads are in nice shape. Started out on 6N53 which is paved. Eventually you will come to a split in the road, where commercial towers sit. For W6/CT-263, stay to the right down the dirt road, 6N53b. Eventually you will find a Eagle Scout project/ picnic area on the right hand side, which is the trail down to the scout camp. Form here, you can sorta make out an old 2 track trail which goes up the hill. I pushed the bike up this part until it was flat/ hard enough to continue cycling. Using my GPS, I found the summit and setup my station. Worked 20M, and 40M, then 70cm SSB.

After all the chasers were gone, I decided to cycle over to W6/SC-076, Whitaker Peak. Go back to the transmission tower and take 6N53a all the way to another tower installation. From here, you need to sneak around the fence and traverse down the ridge over to the summit. Sadly, the tower site was extremely busy with workers, and I couldn’t get the bicycle past all their idling trucks. Additionally, there wasn’t anywhere to really hide my bike. Sadly, I turned around and went back to the car.

I’ve summited Whitaker Peak before, but didn’t activate it because my battery was dead when I got there. Doh! I did have a working pen and signed the summit log, which was pretty empty. Maybe I’ll actually get to activate it on my third attempt, which likely won’t involve a bicycle that I need to hide in the bush.

https://sotl.as/summits/W6/CT-263

Total distance: 12.03 mi
Max elevation: 4101 ft
Min elevation: 2907 ft
Total climbing: 2671 ft
Average speed: 3.71 m/s
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Date:12/04/2021 | Summit:W6/CT-263 (4020)

TimeCallsignBandModeNotes
20:12NOWAE14MHzSSBS55 R55
20:13NG6R14MHzSSBS55 R44
20:14KG6MZS14MHzSSBS55 R45
20:15K6MW14MHzSSBS53 R55
20:17WU7H14MHzSSBS45 R22
20:19W0MNA14MHzSSBS55 R33
20:20WW7D14MHzSSBS48 R43
20:31K6EL7MHzSSBS59 R55
20:57K6LDQ433MHzSSBS59 R59
Trailhead
Blocked road
Heading up, this part is paved.
Eventually the pavement ends
Summit in view
End of the hiking trail from the scout camp below. I thought about cycling down this trail…. No way!
Trail to the summit on the left. Going right will also take you to the summit.
Station setup
I have no idea what this plant is, but there were several of them.
A mount for some kinda measurement equipment? This wasn’t on the summit.

W6/CT-089 – Mt. Lawlor

This was my second activation of Mt. Lawlor. The first time I didn’t take any photos/ video and I wish I had, because the summit and firebreak has been cleared. Tracks from a large machine can be seen at the top; I have no idea how they got it up there. Helicopter? You can get up to Lawlor several ways – I parked at Red Box Picnic area and hiked to the firebreak, then, straight up to the summit. You can bypass the insanely steep hike by going around to Strawberry Saddle and hiking the ridge up, which requires a bit of scrambling over rocks. Worked 20M, 40M SSB, and 2M AM (yes, AM). Brought a new (to me) HT which added 23cm to my quiver of bands. Tried to QSO with K6LDQ on 23cm – he could hear me, but I couldn’t hear him. Maybe next time!

https://sotl.as/summits/W6/CT-089

Total distance: 3.14 mi
Max elevation: 5988 ft
Min elevation: 4616 ft
Total climbing: 1490 ft
Average speed: 0.88 m/s
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Date:16/03/2021 | Summit:W6/CT-089 (Mount Lawlor)

TimeCallsignBandModeNotes
22:01K6LDQ14MHzSSB59 57
22:03AE0XI14MHzSSB55 57
22:05KC6ESW14MHzSSB58 58 (QRP)
22:06W3TCU14MHzSSB55 55
22:07KW4XK14MHzSSB55 55
22:20KE6IGU7MHzSSB59 55
22:21WY7N7MHzSSB55 55 S2S W7U/TO-055
22:22KF6HI7MHzSSB59 55
22:25WW7D7MHzSSB58 32
22:58KN6DMO144MHzAMS8 S9 AM
A bit of snow on the trail.
Freshly cleared firebreak to the summit.
On the firebreak, tried to photograph the 45 degree incline.
Bulldozed summit
Summit is up and to the right.
An old post at the summit where I setup my station.

W6/CT-052 – Timber Mountain

This winter has been warm and dry, and the snowpack low. Bonuses are still on the table so I figured it would be a good time to get some extra points. Start at the Icehouse Canyon Trailhead, just off Mt. Baldy road. You will need a forest pass to park. I decided to hike the long way up via Chapman Trail, which adds another 2.5 miles and makes the hike a loop. At the summit I worked 20M, 40M, 70cm SSB, and 2M FM. I went on a weekday so there was little traffic trail. If you go on a weekend make sure to show up early to get a parking space, and be prepared for crowds, as this is a popular area to hike.

https://sotl.as/summits/W6/CT-052

Total distance: 10.76 mi
Max elevation: 8330 ft
Min elevation: 5026 ft
Total climbing: 5308 ft
Average speed: 1.10 m/s
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Date:08/03/2021 | Summit:W6/CT-052 (Timber Mountain)

TimeCallsignBandModeNotes
22:36WW7D14MHzSSB59 43
22:36K6QCB14MHzSSB59 55
22:37W0MNA14MHzSSB55 44
22:37W5GAI14MHzSSB45 55
22:39K3OG14MHzSSB45 33
22:39WD8KDB14MHzSSB48 44
22:41KB5GI14MHzSSB55 44
22:41K0LAF14MHzSSB55 33
22:42W0ERI14MHzSSB55 44
22:52W6DT7MHzSSB59 33
22:52N6WT7MHzSSB59 33
22:53WB6POT7MHzSSB59 57
23:00NA6MG7MHzSSB59 58
23:15NA6MG70MHzSSBSSB 57 58
23:15K6LDQ70MHzSSBSSB 44 52
23:22KN6JWK144MHzFM59 59
23:24NA6MG144MHzFM59 59
23:25KN6KOR144MHzFM59 55
23:27KN6EZE144MHzFM55 48
23:27KN6DMO144MHzFM59 59
23:28N6MDZ144MHzFM55 55
23:29KI6SLA144MHzFM59 55
23:30KM6UHU144MHzFM59 —

W6/CT-259 – Bald Mountain

I was planing on activating Libre Mountain when I left my house in the morning, however, I got a bit lost and ended up on Bald Mountain instead! This summit would be considered a drive up, but the road to the top has deep potholes making it extremely risky to drive my tiny car all the way. I ended up parking at the bottom of Misty Ridge Drive and hiking the remainder of the way, which was very enjoyable. At the top you will be greeted with a tower site; half of the installation is decommissioned, so I set my station up next to the fence, furthest away form the active site. APRS was available here, so a packet containing my spot was sent. Worked 20M and 40M SSB, then got brave and sent a spot for 30M CW. One station came back to me but I couldn’t get one character in the call. Sadly, they gave up on me after I sent a ? for the third time. Too embarrassed to continue, I went QRT. Near the summit there is an old ranch – some old farming equipment, a rusty French car, and a small collapsing cabin. I wonder who, when, why the owner of this equipment abandoned it?

https://sotl.as/summits/W6/CT-259

Total distance: 2.39 mi
Max elevation: 4557 ft
Min elevation: 4193 ft
Total climbing: 482 ft
Average speed: 1.07 m/s
Download

Date:26/02/2021 | Summit:W6/CT-259 (Bald Mountain)

TimeCallsignBandModeNotes
21:18W0MNQ14MHzSSB55 33
21:21W0ERI14MHzSSB55 33
21:49K6YK14MHzSSB55 55
21:50WU7H14MHzSSB33 33
21:53KF6HI14MHzSSB55 44
22:23VE7TBN7MHzSSB33 33
22:30WW7D7MHzSSB55 43
Parked SOTA mobile. The road on the left takes you to the top. One could drive all the way, but the road was deeply rutted and my car wouldn’t make it.
Typical views.
It’s hard to tell, but these holes are big enough to eat my car.
First view of the towers on the summit.
Middle of nowhere?
Old cabin, this was filled with clothes.
A French car in California below the summit.
Simca Aronde Type AA
A random roof from a car.. Someone must have made a DIY convertible back in the day.

W6/CD-019 – Kelso Dunes

Kel, Ebun, and myself camped out in the Mojave National Preserve in February to do some hiking. I’ve always wanted to climb Kelso Dunes, and as it turns out, it’s also a SOTA summit! These dunes are neat because there are several endemic species of insects. In addition, the sand makes a very low frequency booming sound when you walk over it. The trailhead is easy to find, three miles down a graded dirt road that intersects with Kelbaker Road. The first mile of trail is pretty flat, with increasing grade for the last half mile or so. At the top, I was able to sink my antenna mast directly into the sand, firmly securing if from wind gusts. I self spotted on APRS so the chasers could find me, made two S2S contacts on 40M, didn’t bother trying any UHF/ VHF.

https://sotl.as/summits/W6/CD-019

Total distance: 2.96 mi
Max elevation: 3087 ft
Min elevation: 2562 ft
Total climbing: 709 ft
Average speed: 0.00 m/s
Download

Date:19/02/2021 | Summit:W6/CD-019 (Kelso Dunes (HP))

TimeCallsignBandModeNotes
21:08W9MRH14MHzSSB55 52
21:09N0WAE14MHzSSB21:09
21:10W0MNA14MHzSSB55 55
21:11AC1Z14MHzSSB21:11
21:11WW7D14MHzSSB55 56
21:12KF4BY14MHzSSB59 57
21:13WB7BWZ14MHzSSB59 53
21:14W0ERI14MHzSSB55 55
21:16KI6EAB/W414MHzSSBFlorida 55 55
21:23KR7RK7MHzSSBS2S W7A/MN-120 52 53
21:24N7MAM7MHzSSB59 51
21:25K7SO7MHzSSB55 44
21:26WA7JTM7MHzSSBS2S WA7/CS-049 59 56
21:28W7RV7MHzSSB59 42
Trailhead, summit in view
Sand Angel
Ebun and Kel hiking up
Portrait
Station in the sand

W6/CT-158 – 4020 via The Beast

Read about my first activation of 4020 HERE.

This summit is a popular drive up, where you can earn 4 SOTA points for walking across a small field. I always figured I would activate this one again on some kinda field day with bulky QRO equipment, but cycling up 3n17 would be way more fun. Turns out, part of the way up is a popular mountain bike trail, called “The Beast“, where you climb up a fire road, then turn off onto a downhill single track back to the start. Hell yea! For this activation, I only brought an FM HT, two beers, water, and some snacks. Joining me was Ebun and Tim. The assent isn’t anything unusual – just a normal, steep, exposed fire road. About 5 miles up to the summit you will run into the single track that goes back down. Of course, we’re going all the way to the top, so another 3-ish miles further. At the summit I had no issues making contacts on 2M and 70cm FM. Excited to ride the single track down, I chugged one beer and headed to the single track. At this point I didn’t take any photos because it was way too much fun to stop. I can’t wait to do this again, and I’ll likely ride “The Beast” again soon.

https://sotl.as/summits/W6/CT-158

Total distance: 20.43 mi
Max elevation: 3980 ft
Min elevation: 1385 ft
Total climbing: 3379 ft
Average speed: 4.14 m/s
Download

Date:27/02/2021 | Summit:W6/CT-158 (4020)

TimeCallsignBandModeNotes
22:10K6LDQ144MHzFM
22:12KM6TWI144MHzFM
22:13N6JZT144MHzFM
22:14KG6MZS144MHzFM
22:14W6XYZ144MHzFM
22:15WA6WV144MHzFM
22:16KN6DMO144MHzFM
22:22KI6SLA144MHzFM
22:25N6YNG433MHzFM
22:26N6JZT433MHzFM
22:27KM6UHU433MHzFM
22:28KN6IPM433MHzFM
22:31KN6CJK433MHzFM
22:33KM6PFN433MHzFM
“The Beast”
Typical SoCal fire roads
Lots of this…
This is a gate blocks 3n17 from Whitney Canyon Park
Start of “The Beast” single track down
Unexpected pit toilet.
Old pavement on 3n17
Road up to the summit to the left, 3n17 to the right
Tim can ride a bike with one foot.
Benchmark
One beer stop at a meadow

W6/CT-145 – Tule Ridge

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.

https://sotl.as/summits/W6/CT-145

Total distance: 4.45 mi
Max elevation: 4436 ft
Min elevation: 2592 ft
Total climbing: 2083 ft
Average speed: 0.00 m/s
Download

Date:13/02/2021 | Summit:W6/CT-145 (Tule Ridge)

TimeCallsignBandModeNotes
23:46K6YK7MHzSSB45 53
23:48WW7D7MHzSSB45 43
23:48N6GNM7MHzSSB45 42
23:50K6NKT7MHzSSB52 33
23:51K6JGA7MHzSSB52 35

Date:14/02/2021 | Summit:W6/CT-145 (Tule Ridge)

TimeCallsignBandModeNotes
00:00WW7D14MHzSSB45 34
00:01W0MNA14MHzSSB55 44
Marker near the paved road
First big climb
You can’t tell how steep this is from the photo, but you need two feet and 2 hands to crawl up.
Dirt bike tracks
Again, this is very steep
Nice trail along the ridge. Summit in view.
Uncomfortably steep
View from the summit
Quick station setup. It was getting cold and we at risk of running out of daylight
On the way down

W6/CT-140 – Jupiter Mountain

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.

https://sotl.as/summits/W6/CT-140

Total distance: 2.65 mi
Max elevation: 4498 ft
Min elevation: 3379 ft
Total climbing: 1250 ft
Average speed: 0.00 m/s
Download

Date:13/02/2021 | Summit:W6/CT-140 (Jupiter Mountain)

TimeCallsignBandModeNotes
20:13W4KRN14MHzSSB45 44
20:14W0MNA14MHzSSB45 45
20:16WA9STI14MHzSSB45 57
20:18VA7XCW14MHzSSB45 33
20:18W0ERI14MHzSSB51 55
20:19W9MRH14MHzSSB45 57
20:21W5BOS14MHzSSB51 57
20:21K6LDQ14MHzSSB55 55
20:22K9TPR14MHzSSB52 57
20:24ND0C14MHzSSB55 55
20:35W7RV7MHzSSB55 55
20:35W6DT7MHzSSB20:35
20:36NW7E7MHzSSB20:36
20:36K6MXA7MHzSSB55 55
20:37W6JP7MHzSSB53 55
20:38WB7ULD7MHzSSB33 41
20:38K6YK7MHzSSB55 55

W6/CT-159 – Warm Springs Mountain

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!

https://sotl.as/summits/W6/CT-159

Total distance: 12.8 mi
Max elevation: 4029 ft
Min elevation: 1998 ft
Total climbing: 3448 ft
Average speed: 3.58 m/s
Download

Date:31/01/2021 | Summit:W6/CT-159 (Warm Springs Mountain)

TimeCallsignBandModeNotes
00:17K5YAC14MHzSSBWFD
00:21W5TMC14MHzSSBWFD
00:28K6LDQ144MHzFM
00:36KK6TDU144MHzFM
Bringing all the right equipment.
Start of the trailhead off Lake Hughes Road.
Typical view.
First view of the summit, it’s up there by the trees.
Sign for Warm Springs. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a spring, and it wasn’t warm.
Lookout platform, radio shelter, and short tower.
Summit benchmark
Don’t fall through! This tower has seen better days, all the antennas coax was cut.
My SOTA whip.

W6/CT-071 – Circle Mountain

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.

https://sotl.as/summits/W6/CT-071

Total distance: 2.41 mi
Max elevation: 6883 ft
Min elevation: 6004 ft
Total climbing: 1142 ft
Average speed: 0.93 m/s
Download

Date:22/01/2021 | Summit:W6/CT-071 (Circle Mountain) | 

TimeCallsignBandModeNotes
21:20W6DT7MHzSSB59 54
21:21WB6POT7MHzSSB59 57
21:22K6YK7MHzSSB59 57
21:23K6KM7MHzSSB58 53
21:23N6DNM7MHzSSB57 52
21:36K0LAF14MHzSSB55 55
21:36W0MNA14MHzSSB57 55
21:37WW7D14MHzSSB58 54
21:38N8II14MHzSSB59 55
21:39KC3GOP14MHzSSB55 34
21:40W0ERI14MHzSSB59 55
21:41K6QCB14MHzSSB55 32
21:41NW7E14MHzSSB59 52
21:42WB7BWZ14MHzSSB55 52
21:42NS7P14MHzSSB55 44
21:42WD8KDB14MHzSSB55 55