W6/CT-262 – 4300

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!


Total distance: 17.83 mi
Max elevation: 4183 ft
Min elevation: 2746 ft
Total climbing: 34045 ft
Average speed: 5.96 m/s

Date:15/10/2021 | Summit:W6/CT-262 (4300) | 

19:40W0MNA14MHzCWS559 R559
19:42K2JB14MHzCWS229 R229 S2S W4C/WM-014
19:45W0ERI14MHzCWS589 R55N
19:46N4MJ14MHzCWS559 R559
19:49AI7FF14MHzCWS55N R559
19:53W4SK14MHzCWS559 R559
19:55WW7D14MHzCWS599 R569
19:57K8LJG14MHzCWS5NN R33N
Typical views
restoration area
Summit is in view
This post must be the summit marker?
Lost a loading coil which took out 30M/ 40M. 🙁
Heading down

W6/SC-001 – Cerro Noroeste

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!


Date:10/10/2021 | Summit:W6/SC-001 (Cerro Noroeste)

21:23K7DDC14MHzCWS54N R22N S2S W7W/CW-017
21:34K6HPX10MHzCWS559 R559
21:35K6EA10MHzCWS599 R559
21:39W6TDX10MHzCWS559 R549
21:43W6LOR144MHzFMS59 R59 S2S W6/SC-002
21:45K6STR144MHzFMS59 R59 S2S W6/SC-002
21:51AA6XA7MHzCWS599 R55N S2S W6/NC-410
21:56NA6MG7MHzCWS559 R519
21:57WB6POT7MHzCWS599 R559
21:58KR7RK7MHzCWS599 R55N
22:00K6LDQ7MHzCWS599 R529
22:01AI6XG7MHzCWS559 R44N
Summit is this pile of rocks.
Hard to tell from this photo, but the paved campground road is right through those trees.
Station setup on the rocks.

W6/CT-274 – Saddle Peak

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.


Total distance: 2 mi
Max elevation: 2789 ft
Min elevation: 2333 ft
Total climbing: 541 ft
Average speed: 1.07 m/s

Date:17/09/2021 | Summit:W6/CT-274 (Saddle Peak)

18:34KN6PHZ14MHzSSBS57 R56
18:37WW7D14MHzSSBS56 R53
18:38K6LDQ14MHzSSBS59 R56
18:39W4KRN14MHzSSBS52 R33
18:54WY7N10MHzCWS559 R52N S2S W7U/TO-016
19:02WG0AT10MHzCWS579 R529
19:13N4LAG14MHzCWS559 R549 S2S W0D/BB-028
19:21N6ARA14MHzCWS599 R5NN S2S W6/CT-153
19:23F4WBN14MHzCWS549 R5NN
Trailhead sign for Saddle Peak
Water tank, trail continues around the back side.
Wife at summit
Radio facility over on the next hill.
Typical view at the top.

W6/SD-152 – Bell Mountain

The forests in California have all been closed to reduce the potential for fire, which means, tons of SOTA summits in W6 are off limits, however, there are tons of desert summits on BLM land which also qualify for a summer bonus. Looking at a map, I decided to hike Bell Mountain, and Little Bell Mountain, 2 points each with 3 bonus points. I left Los Angeles around 8am and headed to Apple Valley, then made my way to the trailhead via a dirt road. The hike was well defined with a bit of scrambling, which I found quite enjoyable. At the top, you will find a post flying an American flag cemented into the ground. Here there was a swarm of seemingly angry flying ants. Because if this I set my station up off to the side, adjacent to a small rock outcropping which offered a tiny bit of relief from the blazing sun. Worked KK6FR on 1.2GHz, then again on 70cm C4FM. Put spots out on 20m SSB, 40m SB and 30m CW. As the day proceeded I lost all my shade, which was my cue to start hiking down. Thanks for all the chasers!


Total distance: 1.67 mi
Max elevation: 3904 ft
Min elevation: 3120 ft
Total climbing: 866 ft
Average speed: 0.78 m/s

Date:03/09/2021 | Summit:W6/SD-152 (Bell Mountain)

18:13W0MNA14MHzSSBS59 R57
18:14WW7D14MHzSSBS58 R54
18:15KN6EZE14MHzSSBS59+ R59
18:16W0ERI14MHzSSBS59 R59
18:16K0LAF14MHzSSBS32 R32
18:17KJ7OIZ14MHzSSBS58 R55
18:18N0WAE14MHzSSBS58 R43
18:39KR7RK7MHzSSBS32 R33 S2S W7A/AR-025
18:43K6HPX7MHzSSBS55 R53
18:47K6EXE7MHzSSBS52 R41
19:02KK6FR1240MHzFMS59 R59 %QRA%DM14FR%
19:21WM6T10MHzCWS559 R559

W6/SD-181 – 3690 (Little Bell Mountain)

I started hiking up to 3690 just before sunset. The area where I was parked is used for target practice, as evident by discarded household items riddled with bullet holes and spent shells littering the ground. Hopefully, nobody would show up and start shooting at the hillside I was climbing up. or coming down. At the top, I was greeted with a beautiful sunset and warm desert winds. I setup my antenna mast in a pile of rocks and spotted myself on 40m SSB. No takers at all. Spotted myself on 40m CW, no luck there either. As it got dark, my mast fell over in the wind. Digging through my pack, it seems I forgot my headlight! Unable to fix the antenna system in the dark, I turned to the HT. Made two QSOs on 70cm simplex, C4FM digital. Moved to 2M FM and was greeted by KN6EZE, who called out on a local repeater asking people to chase me on simplex. Made enough contacts to qualify this summit. Thanks Mike! I packed up the radios and hiked down with a small light. I think it would be rad to camp up here on a warm summer night, maybe next year!


Total distance: 0.77 mi
Max elevation: 3678 ft
Min elevation: 3146 ft
Total climbing: 659 ft
Average speed: 0.59 m/s

Date:04/09/2021 | Summit:W6/SD-181 (3690)

I parked around here, this looks to be an impromptu shooting range by the looks of spent cartridges and various things riddled with bullet holes. Luckily, nobody came to shoot while I was on the summit!
Rocks on the way up.
Bell Mountain, W6/SD-152 in the background.
At the top, sun going down.
Quite nice up here!

W6/ND-041 – 8126

This summit is just outside of Mammoth Lakes and worth the journey if you’re in the area. I started out from my campsite off Owens River Road, and meandered through various forest roads on the moto to get as close to 8126 as I could. There are quite a bit of small spur trails in this area and my GPS isn’t granular enough to navigate the correct intersections, which meant, I needed to travel down a spur a few 100 feet before the GPS would indicate which road I was actually on. Often times, I was wrong and had to turn around. Eventually, I got as close to the summit as I could. A large tree blocked a road which goes to the top. I stopped here and hiked the rest of the way up a short, but steep, rocky and rutted path. At the top, there was little shade, and it was hot. Worked 20m and 40m SSB, and had a S2S with N6MKW on 2m, who found and returned an antenna I lost on Mt. Pacifico in the San Gabriels. Thanks again!


Total distance: 0.75 mi
Max elevation: 8163 ft
Min elevation: 7854 ft
Total climbing: 387 ft
Average speed: 0.99 m/s

Date:07/07/2021 | Summit:W6/ND-041 (8126)

16:41NW7E14MHzSSBS55 R53
16:42N0WAE14MHzSSBS55 R45
16:43N7BHP14MHzSSBS54 R43
16:43K6MW14MHzSSBS58 R55
16:47WU7H14MHzSSBS57 R55
16:51WY7N14MHzSSBS33 R55
17:02N6MKW144MHzFMS59 R59 S2S W6/ND-026
17:07W6TDX7MHzSSBS33 R33
17:09NS7P7MHzSSBS45 R45
17:12K6LDQ7MHzSSBS45 R33
The “trailhead”. The road was blocked by logs, and while you can’t tell from the photo, it was a bit too steep and rocky for me to take the moto further.
More logs block the old road up
View from the top, lots of obsidian.

W6/ND-392 – Dry Creek Knoll

Dry Creek Knoll is just outside Mammoth Lakes and, a pretty easy summit to bag if you’re in the area. This could be a drive up, but I don’t think a sedan would make it. I took Mammoth Scenic Loop from Hwy 395, then took one of the several off-highway roads and meandered up to the top by loosely following my GPS. Once near the summit, I parked the moto off the side of the road and hiked the rest of the way. At the very top is a small rock pile, which wasn’t a great place to setup my vertical and spread out the radials. I ended up setting up slightly off to the side of these rocks. Worked 20m, 40m SSB, and 30m CW. One S2S to Washington State on 20m.


Total distance: 0.35 mi
Max elevation: 8914 ft
Min elevation: 8743 ft
Total climbing: 233 ft
Average speed: 0.81 m/s

Date:07/07/2021 | Summit:W6/ND-392 (Dry Creek Knoll)

20:38WW7D14MHzSSBS44 R44 S2S W7W/SN-105
20:40WU7H14MHzSSBS57 R33
21:15AD0WB14MHzSSBS59 R57
21:32K6HPX7MHzSSBS55 R51
21:33K6CWC7MHzSSBS45 R33
21:39N7HNL7MHzSSBS33 R45
21:52K6HPX10MHzCWS599 R599
21:52W6TED10MHzCWS599 R42N
21:54WY7N10MHzCWS599 R599
21:59N6PKT10MHzCWS599 R33N

W6/CT-121 – Snow Benchmark

Snow Benchmark is just off 3N17, which was closed for 11 years to motorized traffic. I was planing on riding a mountain bike to this summit from Sand Canyon, but the forest service opened the road which allowed me to drive my van right below the summit. From there, it’s 1/2 mile round trip hike. Worked 2m FM, 20m SSB, and 10m CW, three s2s contacts.


Total distance: 0.43 mi
Max elevation: 4951 ft
Min elevation: 4865 ft
Total climbing: 102 ft
Average speed: 0.84 m/s

Date:16/07/2021 | Summit:W6/CT-121 (Snow Benchmark)

19:44AE6NH144MHzFMS59 R59 S2S W6/CT-098
19:44N6HEG144MHzFMS59 R59
19:50KI6PMD144MHzFMS59 R46
19:53KN6PHZ144MHzFMS59 R59
19:55KN6DMO144MHzFMS42 R43
20:02KG6MWQ144MHzFMS59 R59 S2S W6/CT-098
20:16K6LDQ144MHzFMS59 R59
20:25WU7H14MHzSSBS57 R57
20:25WW7D14MHzSSBS59 R53
20:27K6MBN14MHzSSBS54 R45
20:30K6EL14MHzSSBS32 R52 S2S W6/NC-423
20:31NN4JM14MHzSSBS53 R44 S2S W7W/RS-010
20:32K6HPX14MHzSSBS51 R45
20:32K6MW14MHzSSBS58 R55
20:34KG7QJD14MHzSSBS59 R57
20:35NG6R14MHzSSBS59 R57
21:13K7EA10MHzCWS5NN R55N
21:17N7PHI10MHzCWS559 R339
I drove my jalopy close to the summit.
Road isn’t so bad. I’ve actually driven my commuter car down 3n17 days after it was opened to motorized vehicles.
Near the summit
Station setup
Magic Mountain in the distance
I thought this rock was interesting.

W6/CT-054 – Bertha Peak

From North Shore Drive near Fawnskin, take 2N09 to roughly 34.28215, -116.91535 – near a gate. I parked my van here and rode a mountain bike most of the way, pushing where it got too steep, or the rocks were too loose to get any meaningful traction. At the top were two radio shelters and various towers. I setup just outside the fence of the highest building. Hearing activity on 2M, I puled out the HT and made a few contacts there, all of whom were camping with the SOTA group. Quickly made several additional contacts on 40m, then packed down the equipment and headed on down the hill before it got too dark.


Total distance: 2.88 mi
Max elevation: 8225 ft
Min elevation: 7133 ft
Total climbing: 1394 ft
Average speed: 2.47 m/s

Date:07/08/2021 | Summit:W6/CT-054 (Bertha Peak)

00:55K6TW144MHzFMS59 R59
00:56K6ARK144MHzFMS59 R59
00:57NJ7V144MHzFMS59 R59
01:17NW7E7MHzSSBS55 R53
01:18WU7H7MHzSSBS55 R44
01:19K6QCB7MHzSSBS48 R32
01:20NS7P7MHzSSBS45 R44
01:23WW7D7MHzSSBS52 R42
01:24K6CWC7MHzSSBS55 R44
01:25W6TDX7MHzSSBS53 R53

W6/CT-060 – 7940

7940 is the second summit I activated for the SoCal Sota Fest up in Big Bear. After waking up at camp, I headed across the Holcomb Valley via 3N16 and parked the van just off the side of the road when I was close enough to the summit. I heard this would be easy to cycle, so brought my mountain bike and started climbing up. The road was recently graded and somewhat hard packed in some areas, so it was a pretty easy ride. Turns out this whole area is a strip mine, and these roads were graded for mining efforts. Other than a few parked earth moving machines, there was no actual mining activity, or official personal around at all. When I got to the the highest point I could find, I still wasn’t at the actual summit according to the GPS map; the actual summit had turned into a giant pit! Across this large pit, I could see two other stations in an area with some flora left, I think it was N1CLC and KX6I? After working a few stations on 2M, and SSB, two other hams came up to the summit, AE6NH and KG6MWQ, who setup a 4 element yagi for 2M. My HT picked up at least one packet from the APRS digipeater in Goldfield, NV, they pointed their beam that way. Worked 20m, 40m SSB, 30m CW and 2m FM. I packed my station up and blasted down the hill on the MTB. Excited to be in the shade with an ice cold drink from my cooler, I realized my GPS was not with me anymore, so I hiked all the way back up to the summit looking for it. Luckily I found it on the ground, a short distance from the gate.


Total distance: 2.39 mi
Max elevation: 7927 ft
Min elevation: 7526 ft
Total climbing: 581 ft
Average speed: 0.00 m/s

Date:07/08/2021 | Summit:W6/CT-060 (7940)

15:57K6KWI144MHzFMS59 R59 S2S W6/CT-013
16:12K6TNT14MHzSSBS59 R59 S2S W6/CT-050
16:19K6ARK14MHzSSBS59 R59 S2S W6/CT-053
16:32NJ7V7MHzCWS599 R599 S2S W6/CT-054
16:45K7HZ10MHzCWS559 R559
16:53K5DEZ10MHzCWS559 R559
16:55K6MW10MHzCWS5NN R55N
17:05K6LDQ144MHzFMS59 R57
17:06KN6GOG144MHzFMS59 R59
17:07NA6MG144MHzFMS59 R59
Typical road condition
Parked earth moving machines
Road blocked to motor vehicles
Boaring holes every 40 feet or so. The first one I saw, I thought it was from an animal of some kind.
The existing summit