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.


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

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

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)

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.


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

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

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
20:36K6MXA7MHzSSB55 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!


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

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

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.


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

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

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

W6/CT-265 – 3819

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.


Total distance: 1.13 mi
Max elevation: 3842 ft
Min elevation: 3205 ft
Total climbing: 738 ft
Average speed: 0.81 m/s

Date:18/12/2020 | Summit:W6/CT-265 (3819)

19:56WB7BWZ14MHzSSB59 53
19:56W0MNA14MHzSSB59 57
19:57WW7D14MHzSSB59 53
19:57W4KRN14MHzSSB59 33
19:59VE6AGR14MHzSSB55 33
20:00W5ODS14MHzSSB55 44
20:01N7OOS14MHzSSBS2S W7O/NC-023 55 55
20:03KF7WI14MHzSSB55 54
20:04K7VK14MHzSSB59 57
20:12NJ7V7MHzSSBS2S W7A/CS-026
20:15KB7JJG7MHzSSB59 57
20:16WB6POT7MHzSSBS2S W6/SN-048 45 45
20:18N6NKT7MHzSSB55 55
20:19K6KM7MHzSSB53 55
20:19KR7RK7MHzSSB59 55
20:20N7XJ7MHzSSB59 55
20:20N7PN7MHzSSB55 44
20:21KJ7NOZ7MHzSSBS2S W7A/AE-035 45 55
20:22K6EL7MHzSSBS2S W6/NC-298 55 58
20:23K6YK7MHzSSB59 44
20:23N0RSR7MHzSSB59 45
20:24N6DNM7MHzSSB59 57
20:25K5DEZ7MHzSSB55 45

W6/CT-167 – 3788

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.


Total distance: 2.98 mi
Max elevation: 3806 ft
Min elevation: 2999 ft
Total climbing: 1309 ft
Average speed: 0.87 m/s

Date:18/12/2020 | Summit:W6/CT-167 (3788)

22:37N0RSR7MHzSSB55 55
22:40K7TAB7MHzSSBS2S W7A/CS-028 55 33
22:41NW7E7MHzSSB59 55
22:42N6DNM7MHzSSB59 59
22:43KG6POM7MHzSSB58 59
22:52WW7D14MHzSSB55 57
23:11WD6FOX144MHzFM58 55

W6/CT-255 – Magic Mountain

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.


Total distance: 13.94 mi
Max elevation: 4869 ft
Min elevation: 2703 ft
Total climbing: 2844 ft
Average speed: 4.24 m/s

Date:27/11/2020 | Summit:W6/CT-255 (Magic Mountain)

22:25N0RSR7MHzSSB59 59
22:27N6DNM7MHzSSB57 59
22:28KN6CCC7MHzSSB55 59
22:30W7RV7MHzSSB57 59
22:32KG6MZS7MHzSSB36 59
22:35K1OTR7MHzSSB52 58
22:37K6LDQ7MHzSSB36 57
22:38K6EXE7MHzSSB55 55
22:48AE0XI18MHzSSB57 59
22:52W0MNA18MHzSSB44 58
22:53K6LDQ18MHzSSB55 59
22:57KG6MZS18MHzSSB57 59

W6/CT-025 – Josephine Peak

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.


Date:12/12/2020 | Summit:W6/CT-025 (Josephine Peak)

21:06KM6UHU144MHzFM59 59
21:06KM6TRU144MHzFM59 59
21:06K6MAA144MHzFM59 59
21:07K6RIN144MHzFM45 54
21:08N6MDZ144MHzFM59 59
21:08WE4IAS144MHzFM59 59
21:09KI6SLA144MHzFM59 54
21:11KG6LI144MHzFMS2S W6/SC-368 58 52
21:12N6AN144MHzFMS2S W6/CT-225 59 59
21:13K6PUZ144MHzFM59 59
21:14K6DSB144MHzFM59 59
21:17K6KWI144MHzFM55 59
21:18K8PTR144MHzFM55 55
21:19K6ICS28MHzSSB59 59 CA
21:29KI6PMD28MHzSSB55 59
21:30WD8CIK28MHzSSB59 59
21:32N6VOH28MHzSSB55 59

Rail Cart

I’m building a rail cart, here are some photos. Many more to come.

Too hot!
First wheel, sorta done.
Two axles, pillow blocks, and wheels.