Calabasas Peak is the first summit I activated in the Santa Monica Mountains. I parked across the street from the trailhead on Stunt Road and walked up the steep fire road to the summit. Once there, you will find a couple different benchmarks and a sturdy post to hold an antenna mast. There is little to no shade on the hike up, and very little shade at the summit. I drank 2 liters of water on the short 3.5 mile hike, as it was quite hot the day of my activation.
This is a pretty easy two point summit just off Interstate 5 north of Santa Clarita. Park near Templin Highway and find the fire road along the south side of the highway. Follow this up to a locked gate and continue up the hill. Eventually you will come to a saddle, with a light use trail which leads to the summit. Watch out for rattle snakes! Worked 20M, and 40M CW, no S2S.
There is something about the lower elevation summits along highway 14 that I really like, and while I’m not sure exactly what that thing is, 4300 has it. I started this hike from Aliso Canyon Road and followed the transmission line service road under a support tower and started hiking up cross country style as there was no trail. After a false summit, I made it to the top where it was quite windy. I was able to find a place to sit next to a thick bush which provided some relief from the wind, and a burned tree provided good support for the vertical antenna. There was good cell service, so I spotted myself on 30M. While calling CQ, I noticed some strange noises from the receiver, thinking nothing of it, I continued calling but got no replies… I figured I would try another band. Changing bands require a switch to flipped at the feed point, which adds a loading coil for whatever band was selected. To my surprise, the loading coil for 30m was sitting on the ground – no wonder the radio wasn’t working! The good news was I could still activate on 20M, as this antenna design resinated well there without coils. Made one S2S. On the hike down I picked up a faint use trail and followed it back to the service road. What a great day!
Cerro Noroeste is a super accessible summit and campground near Pine Mountain Club/ Frazier Mountain. At the entrance there you will find an iron ranger asking for a $10 day use fee. I parked down the road and displayed my forest service pass on my rear view mirror and hiked 5 minutes to the summit instead of taking a camping spot. Lots of trees available to string up an antenna. Worked 20m, 30m, 40m, cw, 2m s2s with K6STR and W6LOR on San Emigdio Mountain, just one peak over!
At the time of this activation, the Angeles National Forest was closed due to fires, so my SOTA efforts move to the Santa Monica Mountains. Saddle Peak is a 2 point summit and is well hiked by locals. An quick mile up, and a mile down makes this an easy summit to bag, but please note there isn’t much shade. At the summit, paragliders were starting their flights to the beach in Malibu. Worked 20M SSB/ CW and 30M CW.