W6/CD-016 – Ryan Mountain

I was in the area to attend the Experimental Music Festival in Wonder Valley and thought a SOTA activation would be a nice addition to my weekend plans.  Ryan Mountain is inside Joshua Tree National Park, and not too far from the north entrance, which, wasn’t too far from the music venue.  The hike is about 3 miles round trip, and a bit over 1,000′ in elevation gain, however the scorching February sun made it feel a bit longer.  At the top I found a place away from others and setup my vertical antenna with an MTR4B.  After a few questions on why I have a fishing pole in the desert, I started operating on 40M CW but didn’t get any QSOs., and only two on 30M.  When I moved to 20M, I ended up with a small pileup with one DX call from Japan.

https://sotl.as/summits/W6/CD-016

Total distance: 2.93 mi
Max elevation: 5464 ft
Total climbing: 1268 ft
Total time: 02:31:53
Download file: Ryan.gpx

Date:02/04/2022 | Summit:W6/CD-016 (Ryan Mountain)

Time Callsign Band Mode Notes
20:53 N7CNH 10MHz CW S52N R53N
20:54 WW7D 10MHz CW S55N R42N
21:02 KI7SVM 14MHz CW S55N R42N
21:04 N6AN 14MHz CW S2S W6/CT-225 S52N R53N
21:05 KF9D 14MHz CW S57N R52N
21:07 NG6R 14MHz CW S599 R44N
21:09 WB7BWZ 14MHz CW S52N R53N
21:10 W5WMQ 14MHz CW S559 R599
21:12 KI7TT 14MHz CW S53N R33N
21:14 K8MH 14MHz CW S589 R559
21:16 JH1MXV 14MHz CW S44N R429

Server Migraton

This blog is run using a cheap VPS with legacy equipment and recently, the vender announced they are shutting down the datacenter this VPS exists in.  As such, I’m migrating to a new VPS machine.  This is the first post on the new install.  Hello World!

W6/SC-369 – Temple Hill

Temple Hill is another easy costal summit. This was my second activation of the day, having just come from Niguel Hill, W6/SC-371. I believe this summit is a reservoir tank, and the actual, real summit is the parking lot/ playground. It’s less than 10 minutes to hike up to the highpoint from the parking lot. Up top, I found a good spot to setup away from others, as the area was pretty busy. Worked 20M, 30M, and 40M. Two S2S.

https://sotl.as/summits/W6/SC-369

Date:24/02/2022 | Summit:W6/SC-369 (Temple Hill)

TimeCallsignBandModeNotes
22:10N7CNH10MHzCWS53N R44N
22:12W0MNA10MHzCWS44N R33N
22:13W0ERI10MHzCWS44N R33N
22:14WU7H10MHzCWS53N R53N
22:15WB5USB10MHzCWS55N R55N
22:18AJ6KZ10MHzCWS33N R43N S2S W6/CT-169
22:19K6QCB10MHzCWS55N R42N
22:22W6DT10MHzCWS52N R33N
22:30NF6R7MHzCWS45N R54N
22:32K6LDQ7MHzCWS53N R33N
22:40W7MDN7MHzCWS58N R55N S2S W7W/WE-027
22:44NU7AN14MHzCWS55N R33N
22:45KW4JM14MHzCWS55N R33N
22:47WB7VTY14MHzCWS52N R55N
22:48N0GQ14MHzCWS56N R55N
22:50N5YYX14MHzCWS57N R55N
22:52K6HZR14MHzCWS57N R45N
22:56AC1Z14MHzCWS58N R55N
Trail with summit in the background
Somewhere on the trail up
View from the top

W6/SC-371 – Niguel Hill

Niguel Hill is probably the easiest SOTA activation I’ve ever done. Grab some street parking on Talavera Drive, then walk on a flat path for 5 minutes to one of the picnic tables along the path. I setup my antenna and worked 20M, 30M, and 40M. The trail was pretty busy and I received a lot of weird looks, and several questions about my fishing pole. After an hour or so I packed up and headed over to Temple Hill, W6/SC-369.

https://sotl.as/summits/W6/SC-371

Date:24/02/2022 | Summit:W6/SC-371 (Niguel Hill)

TimeCallsignBandModeNotes
20:17WB7ULD10MHzCWS55N R53N
20:18WU7H10MHzCWS57N R55N
20:22K6QCB10MHzCWS52N R53N
20:30N6WT7MHzCWS51N R54N
20:31KN6EZE7MHzCWS33N R44N
20:34K6YK7MHzCWS57N R57N
20:35K6LDQ7MHzCWS599 R43N
20:41WG0AT14MHzCWS55N R57N
20:42N0DNF14MHzCWS52N R579
20:43W0JSL14MHzCWS55N R43N
20:45K7EA14MHzCWS55N R35N
20:46N7CNH14MHzCWS529 R53N
20:47AC1Z14MHzCWS45N R55N
20:49WB7VTY14MHzCWS44N R33N
20:52N4MJ14MHzCWS54N R53N
20:54N5YYK14MHzCWS52N R339
20:56N4RKK14MHzCWS45N R33N
I setup on this bench.

W6/CT-126 – Harold Beacon Benchmark

There is something about the summits along the 14 and into Palmdale which I really like, but to date, Harold Beacon Benchmark is probably my favorite because of all the flora and fauna. I parked my car on Rebel road and started hiking, first, down a dirt road which wasn’t so bad, then, to a steep moto track which goes straight up the hillside. This side of the hill was covered in Juniper. The end of the trail meets up with a fire road, which leads up to the summit. There are several different types of trees up here with several kinds of birds I couldn’t identify. At the top, there were three benchmarks of various vintage, and evidence of an old tower. I wonder if that was the beacon? I setup my station using an EFHW cut for higher bands. Worked 12M, 17M, and 30M CW. 4 S2S. I hiked down the way I came, although it seems like there are several ways up and down. I’ll look forward to activating this peak again.

https://sotl.as/summits/W6/CT-126

Total distance: 2.54 mi
Max elevation: 4725 ft
Total climbing: 867 ft
Total time: 02:41:33
Download file: Harold.gpx

Date:12/02/2022 | Summit:W6/CT-126 (Harold Beacon Benchmark)

TimeCallsignBandModeNotes
20:34NR3E24MHzCWS55N R33N
20:35W0MNA24MHzCWS52N R55N
20:37KU4R24MHzCWS55N R53N
20:38W0ERI24MHzCWS55N R55N
20:52KF9D18MHzCWS44N R33N
20:54WW7D18MHzCWS42N R52N S2S W7W/CW-061
20:56WU7H18MHzCWS33N R53N S2S W7W/CW-061
21:00K0LAF18MHzCWS56N R55N
21:03NG6R18MHzCWS57N R56N
21:14K6GVG10MHzCWS58N R55N
21:15N4LAG10MHzCWS57N R56N
21:17WB6POT10MHzCWS56N R55N
21:19K6STR10MHzCWS56N R55N S2S W6/CT-076
21:22K6QCB10MHzCWS55N R56N
21:22NW7E10MHzCWS55N R55N
21:22K6CPR10MHzCWS57N R53N
21:23K6LDQ10MHzCWS58N R53N
21:24K1LB10MHzCWS57N R57N
21:30AG7TX10MHzCWS55N R52N S2S W7N/TR-075
The road to the trailhead was a bit too ‘gnar for my commuter car, so I parked here.
Just a short walk down this dirt road to the trail I followed up.
the trail I went up was quite steep.
Heading down, I think that’s the Fin and Feather club lake off in the distance.
Ye ‘olde benchmark from 1929
Newer marker, no date
1975
I think that’s Sierra Pelona W6/CT-116

W6/CT-168 – 3784

I parked on Escondido Canyon Road, then hiked through a parcel which has a “For Sale” sign in front. I kinda felt like I was being watched by the neighboring houses, but once I was out of sight the hike was enjoyable. There is an established trail so it seems this summit is hiked often. The hike itself it pretty short, just over a mile and about 600′ of elevation gain. At the top, there is a large pile of rocks which I used to support the antenna mast. It also offered some shade from the sun, which felt brutal, even in February. Worked 20M, 30M, and 40M CW.

https://sotl.as/summits/W6/CT-168

Total distance: 1.75 mi
Max elevation: 3777 ft
Total climbing: 640 ft
Total time: 02:27:43
Download file: 3784.gpx

Date:04/02/2022 | Summit:W6/CT-168 (3784)

TimeCallsignBandModeNotes
21:20WB6POT10MHzCWS56N R55N
21:23K7GT10MHzCWS56N R55N
21:24K6LDQ10MHzCWS55N R42N
21:28AB6GI10MHzCWS57N R55N
21:30K6EL10MHzCWS55N R5NN S2S W6/NC-298
21:30K7EA10MHzCWS54N R55N
21:32W5ODS10MHzCWS55N R33N
21:43K6YK7MHzCWS58N R57N
21:46K6MK7MHzCWS44N R55N
21:49WU6X7MHzCWS55N R55N
21:51KE6MT7MHzCWS55N R54N
21:52K4GX7MHzCWS45N R54N
22:06W0WSL14MHzCWS55N R47N
22:07WA6KYR14MHzCWS55N R48N
22:10N7CCS14MHzCWS55N R55N
22:13WB2FUV14MHzCWS33N R45N
22:14W0MNA14MHzCWS55N R55N
22:15KE5AKL14MHzCWS58N R55N
22:16W0ERI14MHzCWS55N R55N
22:17KF9D14MHzCWS57N R55N
22:18NN7M14MHzCWS54N R55N
22:21WB7BWZ14MHzCWS56N R55N
22:22N4HNH14MHzCWS55N R55N
22:22W4KRN14MHzCWS53N R44N
22:23NU7A14MHzCWS54N R44N
22:28W6TDX14MHzCWS45N R55N
22:30AE4FZ14MHzCWS35N R52N
22:31KD8DEU14MHzCWS53N R22N
For sale!
First view of summit
Well defined trail
One more photo of the summit as I hiked back.

W6/CT-273 – Agua Dulce Benchmark

I had a couple days off work without any real plans, so off to Agua Dulce! I parked just off the 14 and hiked down a dirt road where I was met with a “Keep Off” sign. At this point I almost turned around, but decided to go past the sign as there were several foot prints and dirt bike tracks all over the place, so it was clear people use this area for recreation. I continued on the dirt road until it ended at a set of power line pylons, then turned south and headed along the ridge line firebreak. The wind was incredibly strong, and at one point almost knocked me over! One false summit with benchmarks along the way. At the real summit, I found additional benchmarks and a summit register. I was able to setup the station just below the ridge which kept me out of the wind. Worked 30M and 40M, one S2S.

https://sotl.as/summits/W6/CT-273

Total distance: 5.36 mi
Max elevation: 2834 ft
Total climbing: 1687 ft
Total time: 04:14:00
Download file: AguaDulce.gpx

Date:09/02/2022 | Summit:W6/CT-273 (Agua Dulce Benchmark)

TimeCallsignBandModeNotes
21:22WB6POT10MHzCWS57N R55N
21:27WW7D10MHzCWS58N R42N
21:28WB7ULB10MHzCWS55N R52N
21:28K1LB10MHzCWS55N R55N
21:29K6HPX10MHzCWS55N R5NN
21:29NW7E10MHzCWS55N R55N
21:30K7MK10MHzCWS58N R55N
21:31KF6HI10MHzCWS57N R57N
21:33KR7RK10MHzCWS5NN R55N
21:35K6LDQ10MHzCWS57N R42N
21:36N6OND10MHzCWS52N R52N
21:58AJ6CL14MHzCWS599 R599 S2S W6/CT-025
22:02N4LAG7MHzCWS55N R41N
22:03N8FN7MHzCWS58N R55N
22:04K6STR7MHzCWS55N R55N
22:04K6YK7MHzCWS5NN R5NN
22:06KN6EZE7MHzCWS53N R44N
22:07W6LOR7MHzCWS5NN R33N
22:08WC6L7MHzCWS57N R55N
22:09K6QCB7MHzCWS54N R31N
22:11K6EL7MHzCWS33N R55N
22:12KE6MT7MHzCWS55N R53N
Parked right off the 14
hmmmmm…
First benchmark I found, this is not the summit though.
Summit register
K6PVZ beat me up to the top
Looking back at the ridge line I just hiked

W6/CT-242 – 1416

This was my last summit of three activated for the day. With the sun setting and the wind still somewhat annoying, I didn’t setup the HF station. Instead, I used my Icom 4 band HT and spotted myself on 1.2GHz, 6M and 70cm. No contacts on any of those bands. Finally, I moved to 2M and made enough contacts to activate the summit. Sitting just below the grade of the towers seems to help the HT cope with the high levels of RF. The hike up and down was short and lovely. I made a wrong turn and had to backtrack a bit, but didn’t mind the extra distance.

https://sotl.as/summits/W6/CT-242

Total distance: 1.86 mi
Max elevation: 1430 ft
Total climbing: 587 ft
Total time: 00:59:16
Download file: W6CT-242.gpx

Date:29/01/2022 | Summit:W6/CT-242 (1416)

TimeCallsignBandModeNotes
01:20KI6SLA144MHzFMS59 R59
01:23K6LDQ144MHzFMS59 R59
01:25KM6UHU144MHzFMS59 R57
01:28N6XZN144MHzFMS59 R59
01:30KN6DMO144MHzFMS59 R59

W6/CT-230 – San Juan Hill

This was my second planned summit of the day, having activated W6/CT-240 earlier. I parked somewhere in a pretty affluent Orange County neighborhood and took what looked like an equestrian trail up to the border of Chino Hills State Park. By this point in the day the wind was becoming pretty strong, but the breeze was welcomed and kept me cool on the unseasonably warm day. After about 2 miles, I found the San Juan summit marker with the date of 1896. This stone and concrete structure was a nice windbreak and kept me up on the summit much longer than if it wasn’t there. I was able to secure my mast to a sturdy post, then setup my vertical. Worked 30M with one S2S. Got no calls on 40M. While packing down I made a few more contacts on 2M FM.

https://sotl.as/summits/W6/CT-230

Total distance: 4.17 mi
Max elevation: 1762 ft
Total climbing: 1132 ft
Total time: 03:17:22
Download file: SanJuan.gpx

Date:28/01/2022 | Summit:W6/CT-230 (San Juan Hill)

TimeCallsignBandModeNotes
21:54W6DT10MHzCWS55 R57 S2S W6/NS-422
22:00KA7GPP10MHzCWS22N R55N
22:01AI6XG10MHzCWS52N R44N
22:03WB7VTY10MHzCWS55N R55N
22:06K6LDQ10MHzCWS58N R52N
22:07W0JSL10MHzCWS45N R42N
22:08KT5X10MHzCWS5NN R33N
22:10WC6J10MHzCWS51N R22N
22:11WN4AT10MHzCWS51N R22N
22:14N6PKT10MHzCWS58N R55N
22:16K7EA10MHzCWS58N R55N
22:22KX0Y10MHzCWS57N R33N
22:22K6QCB10MHzCWS55N R57N
23:01KI6SLA144MHzFMS59 R55
23:02KM6UHU144MHzFMS59 R54
23:05KE6ZGR144MHzFMS59 R59
23:13N6XZN144MHzFMS59 R59
23:14KE6YEX144MHzFMS59 R59

W6/CT-240 – 1428

This is a one point summit near Whittier, and my first activation of the day of three planned. I parked the car at the end of Vantage Point Drive and headed up the paved road to the summit. After a very short walk I came to a locked gate with several “keep out” signs. This gate didn’t look like the area where others activated, so I wasn’t sure if I was in the activation zone. I considered hopping the fence and climbing a small hill, but there were several long horn cattle in the area and I liked the idea of a fence between me and them. I called another SOTA station on the next summit over, they said the gate area is where they activated in the past. They also shared an story of how a rancher found them on the other side of the gate and was not too happy about it. Still skeptical about actually being in the activation zone, I didn’t bother setting up the HF station and just used HTs. Made seven, 2M FM contacts, and one, 1.2GHz FM contact, 3 S2S. Back at the house, I checked activation.zone and found I was indeed in the correct place.

Sorry, no video or .gpx file for this report. I might update this in the future.

https://sotl.as/summits/W6/CT-240

Date:28/01/2022 | Summit:W6/CT-240 (1428)

TimeCallsignBandModeNotes
18:28K6KWI144MHzFMS58 R59 S2S W6/CT-242
18:35K6LDQ144MHzFMS59 R59
18:40KI6SLA144MHzFMS59 R59
18:44WA6WV144MHzFMS59 R59
18:50N6AN144MHzFMS56 R55 S2S W6/CT-146
18:52KM6UHU144MHzFMS55 R59
18:53K6ARU144MHzFMS59 R54
19:01N6ARA1240MHzFMS59 R59 S2S W6/CT-242
The gate is indeed in the activation zone
I parked here then walked up the road to the gate
Windows XP hills, with longhorn cattle
Closed gate
I was actually thinking about jumping over the fence