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!


Total distance: 3.14 mi
Max elevation: 5988 ft
Min elevation: 4616 ft
Total climbing: 1490 ft
Average speed: 0.88 m/s

Date:16/03/2021 | Summit:W6/CT-089 (Mount Lawlor)

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.


Total distance: 10.76 mi
Max elevation: 8330 ft
Min elevation: 5026 ft
Total climbing: 5308 ft
Average speed: 1.10 m/s

Date:08/03/2021 | Summit:W6/CT-052 (Timber Mountain)

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?


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

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

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.


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

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

21:08W9MRH14MHzSSB55 52
21:10W0MNA14MHzSSB55 55
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
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.


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

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

“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.
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.


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