I left work a bit earlier than usual one day to for a night activation, my first since starting with SOTA. Temescal Peak is kinda close to my office so I wouldn’t need to suffer through SoCal traffic so much. I pulled up to an area which looked okay to leave the car, collected my equipment and started to hike up a paved drainage system, at which point I was welcomed by a sign to the Topanga State Park. A cool coastal breeze was welcome as I hiked along. I kept thinking how it would have been a nice on a mountain bike. At the top, I wasted no time to get the antenna setup. The summit is kinda small, so not much room for an EFHW, but that’s what I had so I made it work. Worked 40m, 30m and 20m CW in addition to 2m FM. Made 4 DX contacts on 20M in a row. Maybe I should do night activations more often? Hiking down, by flashlight started to die and I forgot spare cells. Luckily, the moon was bright which was enough to see where I was going. Next time I’m doing this one on a mountain bike.
I wanted to hike some new terrain, so I mapped out a route through the Cow horns, east of Big Pine. Leaving Los Angeles around 6am got me to Big Pine before noon, where I bought some drinks and ice for the cooler before heading over to Death Valley Road. There is no actual trail that I could find. I started hiking up a wash, which had various levels and looked as if it would be a waterfall in times of rain. This was too sketchy for me, so I tried to get as much elevation as possible instead by climbing out of the steep wash through loose soil. It was starting to get hot, but I brought a giant golf umbrella to offer shade, which offered relief. After hiking for about 45 minutes I found the ridge line and headed straight to the summit. Once there I looked for a register, or a geo marker, but didn’t find anything. Worked 20,30, 40M CW. Wanting to activate the neighboring summit, I packed the station up and headed over……
The route I took over to W6/IN-036 was steep, and at one point I was questioning myself why I do things like this. It was hot, the ground under me was loose and I was consistently slipping. There are several nice shady trees on the ridge which offered additional shade. These trees felt a bit out of place as the whole journey thus far had seemed to be a bit treeless. Once at the summit, I looked around for any markers, or even a register but found nothing. Feeling fatigued, I setup my station and spotted myself on APRS. At 00:00 I shut the station down and headed back to the car. Going down was also steep and I only slipped once. I’d like to come back to these summits on a cooler day, and maybe place a register, and hopefully find a less steep route.
After waking up at camp in Big Pine, having a small breakfast and packing up all the camping gear, I headed back out to Death Valley Road to hike the summit of 8500, or Papoose Point, as I’ve seen it named elsewhere. It was quiet except for a few singing birds, and the air was mostly still, only disrupted by low flying F35 jets ripping through the canyons. I started hiking up the two track road, then eventually making a 90-ish degree turn straight up the mountain, over a ridge, down into a valley, then back up another ridge. This was unexpected and perhaps I could have found a different route. Once at the top, I found the summit register and signed it. There is enough room to stretch out a antenna. Not much natural shade at the actual summit, but there are trees just below to take refuge from the sun if needed. Worked 40m, 30m, and 20m CW. Two jets flying below the summit were so close I could almost see inside the cockpit, and so loud I couldn’t hear myself think. I’d love to take a ride in one! I took a different route hiking down which was steeper with more rocks, but more direct. Back at the car the temperature had really risen, so I was happy to turn on the A/C and cool down.
This was my third time attempting to activate Frazier Mountain, but this time I found success. The first time I wanted to drive to the top, but my small commuter car with low profile tires was not the correct vehicle for the task. I returned 6 months later with a mountain bike, but deep snow stopped me a few miles up the road. This time, I drove the commuter car a mile or so up Frazier Mountain Road until it got too rocky, parked on the edge of the road and hiked the rest of the way, which was a bit further than I thought! At the top, I pulled out my HT and immediately heard N6JZT for a quick S2S. After, I used 23cm for one microwave QSO, which I believe was just over 100km, my furthest. I then worked 40m, 30m, and 20m CW for additional contacts. I wanted to activate a few other summits in the area, so I packed everything down and headed down to the car.
This was the last summit of four I activated on a solo camping trip in Lone Pine, and my third climb of the day. At this point, the temperature was quite warm, and the wind was starting to get a bit unruly. I parked the car right off Movie Road and started hiking up to the summit. Once there I used the EFHW, which was tough to wrangle in the wind. The golf umbrella I used for shade was useless in these conditions. Worked 20,30, 40M CW and got back down to the car as quickly as I could.
This was my first summit in a series of four while solo camping in Lone Pine. I had just drove up from Los Angeles, found a place to camp, setup my tent, relaxed a bit, then headed over to W6/IN-046, also known as “Rattlesnake Hill”. There was no apparent trail to the summit, so I parked my car in a small clearing and just headed up the mountain, watching out for rattle snakes on my way. Once the steep part was out of the way I picked up what looked like a use-trail and followed it up the the geographical summit. Used a vertical and worked 20M. One contact on 2M with a local who told me to watch out for snakes. When heading down, I picked up on a much better trail. I’ll take this way up next time.
This was my second summit of four on a solo camping trip in Lone Pine. After waking up at Portuguese Joe campground, I packed up my tent and made a quick breakfast before pointing my commuter car down movie road to the trailhead. This was an easy drive in my small car. One could take a 4×4 all the way to the top, but it gets kinda sketchy in a couple spots. At the top I used an EFHW and worked through a pileup on 40M, then over to 30M. One S2S up to San Francisco. 2.5 miles of hiking and a bit over 1K elevation.
This was my third summit of four on a solo camping trip in Lone Pine. The hike up was a relatively short cross country jaunt, less than a mile, but just under 1K elevation gain so kinda steep. Up top I used a tri-band vertical; not much room for a end fed. Worked 20,30,40M CW for about 30 minutes before packing down and heading to W6/IN-048
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.
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!