W6/CT-076 – Constance Peak

This was my second activation of the day, having hiked W6/CT-041 earlier. I was starving from a light breakfast so I stopped at a small diner in Angelus Oaks for a late lunch burger. From the diner, I took a small dirt road behind the post office as far as I could in my small commuter car, parked and started hiking to the summit. It had just rained, so there was quite a few large water puddles. If it was drier I could have just driven to the use trail that leads to the summit. The trail is pretty obvious, just steep. At the top there was a small rattle snake curled up right where I wanted to setup. The snake was there first so I put the antenna a bit further down the hill, but well within the activation zone. The clock just passed 00:00, and I was loosing daylight so I worked through the bands quickly, with a few S2S and a Japanese DX station. I rushed to tear the station down and hiked down the hill. I git back to the car right before the last light of the day. Perfect timing!

https://sotl.as/summits/W6/CT-076

Total distance: 3.21 mi
Max elevation: 6542 ft
Total climbing: 2110 ft
Total time: 02:03:09
Download file: Constance_Peak_AG6N.gpx

Date:14/10/2022 | Summit:W6/CT-076 (Constance Peak)

TimeCallsignBandModeNotes
00:05NT6E144MHzFMS59 R56
00:08K6QSB14MHzCWS57N R56N
00:10K0LAF14MHzCWS44N R33N
00:11JG0AWE14MHzCWS22N R33N
00:12K6EL14MHzCWS55N R599
00:13VA2EO14MHzCWS22N R22N
00:15W6LOR14MHzCWS52N R33N
00:15WB6POT14MHzCWS599 R599
00:17W7SKH14MHzCWS53N R55N S2S W6/CC-045
00:17W7CBR14MHzCWS58N R599 S2S W6/CC-045
00:18K6STR14MHzCWS52N 33N
00:19KN6OMN14MHzCWS599 R599
00:21W4ZXT14MHzCWS57N R55N
00:23AI6XG14MHzCWS52N R33N? S2S W6/CC-045
00:38KM6CEM144MHzFMS55 R55
00:39KK6JM144MHzFMS57 R59
00:40KI6SLA144MHzFMS59 R55
00:41WA6WV144MHzFMS57N R45
The road wasn’t in bad shape when I

W6/CT-041 – 9465

This hike starts off Hwy 38, across the street is a large area to park. I placed my Adventure Pass on the dash of my car, although I don’t think it was needed. After crossing the road and made my way through the woods a bit, I realized I couldn’t find the jeep road others had mentioned. Luckily I had a .gpx track saved on my phone, which I used to get back on track. The first mile of this hike is the steepest, gaining ~500′, 600′ in elevation. From there it relaxes quite a bit until the very end which is steep and covered in loose rocks. The summit is obvious, two large posts and a pile of rocks. There is a register here, but unfortunately it was soaking wet and covered in black mold. Worked 20, 30 and 40M CW, and 2M FM on the HT. I was able to open the 2M repeater out in Yucca Valley but nobody was available to chat. I took my time hiking down, enjoying the view and the beautiful juniper trees. I’ll be back soon!

https://sotl.as/summits/W6/CT-041

Total distance: 6.8 mi
Max elevation: 9386 ft
Total climbing: 4682 ft
Total time: 04:37:33
Download file: 9465_AG6N.gpx

Date:13/10/2022 | Summit:W6/CT-041 (9465)

TimeCallsignBandModeNotes
19:10NT6E144MHzFMS59+ R58
19:11WA6WV144MHzFMS59+ R59
19:14KI6SLA144MHzFMS59 R59
19:16KE6GQD144MHzFMS59 R59
19:18N6JNY144MHzFMS59 R59
19:32KF6HI7MHzCWS58N R54N
19:33WB6POT7MHzCWS5NN R57N
19:38KX6I7MHzCWS54N R55N S2S W6/SC-300
19:39KR7RK7MHzCWS57N R55N
19:51K5DEZ10MHzCWS52N R55N
19:52K6HPX10MHzCWS58N R57N
19:54AF7M10MHzCWS55N R55N
19:55AI7DK10MHzCWS56N R55N
19:56WU7H10MHzCWS42N R33N
20:12W9MRH14MHzCWS51N R52N
20:13K7EA14MHzCWS55N R55N
20:15AK5SD14MHzCWS44N R41N
20:16W6DER14MHzCWS56N R55N
20:18WW7D14MHzCWS42N R53N S2S W7W/KG-015
20:21AC7MA14MHzCWS33N R33N S2S W7W/KG-015
20:24KA7GPP14MHzCWS31N R44N S2S W7W/SK157
20:26KD8DEU14MHzCWS42N R22N
20:30JH1MXV14MHzCWS21N R22N
Start of the trail
Jeep trail
Old camping sign.
A large mushroom I found
typical views
Rad old trees with the desert beyond
Summit log was soaking wet and moldy. KN6TMT signed the log
The summit

W6/CT-120 – Smith Mountain

Smith Mountain has been on my list of summits to activate since I started with sota. I made an attempt to hike it the the previous year, but restrictions from the Bobcat fire were in place and the area was closed. The trailhead is easy to find; next to a pit toilet just off Hwy 39 above Azusa. From there the trail winds for three miles through beautiful canyons, gaining about 1,000 feet in elevation along the way. Once you hit the saddle, take a break because things are going to get steep. It took me some time to navigate the thick vegetation, rocks, and steep grade on this one, often finding a use trail but almost immediately loosing it. At the top, there was a benchmark and enough room to stretch out an EFHW antenna. Worked 20, 30, 40M CW and 2M FM with the HT. Coming down the mountain was a bit easier as I could locate the faint use trails a bit easier. Overall, this is a fun hike that’s accessible and close to the city. I’ll be visiting again in the future.

https://sotl.as/summits/W6/CT-120

Total distance: 4.15 mi
Max elevation: 5013 ft
Total climbing: 3009 ft
Total time: 04:20:16
Download file: Smith_Mountain.gpx

Date:16/09/2022 | Summit:W6/CT-120 (Smith Mountain

TimeCallsignBandModeNotes
20:16NT6E144MHzFMS59 R59
20:18KI6SLA144MHzFMS59 R59
20:19WA6WV144MHzFMS59 R59
20:25K6EL7MHzCWS56N R22N
20:26KI7QEK7MHzCWS55N R55N
20:27W7RV7MHzCWS57N R56N
20:28NA6MG7MHzCWS57N R57N
20:31KR7RK7MHzCWS55N R55N S2S W7A/CS-089
20:32N6JZT7MHzCWS32N R55N
20:38K6YK7MHzCWS58N R57N
20:41K6TUY7MHzCWS55N R58N
20:41KI6PMD7MHzCWS58N R599
20:56WB7ULD10MHzCWS53N R56N
20:57K6HPX10MHzCWS58N R56N
20:58K6QCB10MHzCWS599 R57N
20:59KI7VEM10MHzCWS51N R33N
21:02W6TDX10MHzCWS51N R51N
21:06K7CLA10MHzCWS52N R599
21:09N0RZ10MHzCWS33N R51N
21:22N5OO14MHzCWS33N R33N
21:24W0VQ14MHzCWS52N R44N
21:25NM5TW14MHzCWS45N R57N
21:27AC1Z/014MHzCWS51N R55N
21:28NM5SW14MHzCWS51N R599
21:29W4ZXT14MHzCWS53N R44N
21:32KR7Q14MHzCWS57N R55N
21:33W5GDW14MHzCWS33N R33N
21:35AB4PP14MHzCWS32N R22N
21:36WW7D14MHzCWS56N R52N
21:39N7CNH14MHzCWS52N R53N
At the trailhead
Also, right by the trailhead
At the saddle looking up. This is pretty steep.
Benchmark
Typical trail
Looking back at Smith Mountain

W6/ND-334 – Alpine Butte

This was my second activation of the day, having just left Lovejoy Butte earlier. I parked my small car as far up 136th Street East as I could and walked the short distance to the base of the butte. From here it’s just a short scramble to the top. Once at the summit, I found thousands of red flying ants, the same I’ve seen at other desert summits. I wonder why they like peaks so much? Not wanting to get friendly with them I setup my endfed half wave just off to the side. I had just over an hour before UTC time changed so I worked quickly while I noticed a monsoon coming my way. The the middle of a QSO on 20M, I felt a big fat raindrop, then a few more. I quickly tore my station down, scrambled down the butte and over to the car. By the time I got to the intersection of 136th street and Ave O, the rain was absolutely pouring to the point my wipers couldn’t keep up. Driving around a bit I noted the washes, dry most of the time, were starting to turn into rivers. I stopped at a high point and walked around in the desert to enjoy the rain before heading back to Los Angeles, where it didn’t rain at all.

https://sotl.as/summits/W6/ND-334

Total distance: 0.83 mi
Max elevation: 3166 ft
Total climbing: 597 ft
Total time: 01:41:57
Download file: Alpine_AG6N.gpx

Date:11/09/2022 | Summit:W6/ND-334 (Alpine Butte)

TimeCallsignBandModeNotes
22:58NT6E7MHzCWS599 R55N
22:59KE6MT7MHzCWS57N R55N
23:00K6TUY7MHzCWS55N R5NN
23:05KN6EZE7MHzCWS599 R599 S2S W6/ND-257
23:06KR7RK7MHzCWS57N R55N
23:07KF6HI7MHzCWS58N R549
23:09N6CVQ7MHzCWS55N R57N
23:10KN6RDC7MHzCWS51N R52N
23:12K7EA7MHzCWS53N R53N
23:12K7GUD7MHzCWS56N R51N
23:13KD7LX7MHzCWS51N R52N
23:15WB6POT7MHzCWS57N R57N
23:16K6CPR7MHzCWS58N R55N
23:17NA7C7MHzCWS56N R44N
23:20KK9TT7MHzCWS57N R599
23:30AF7M10MHzCWS56N R55N
23:31WW7D10MHzCWS54N R42N
23:43W4KRN14MHzCWS51N R42N
23:45VE7HI14MHzCWS51N R33N
23:48VE7JH14MHzCWS42N R57N S2S VE7/CL-047

W6/ND-323 – Lovejoy Butte

I set out from my home in Los Angeles to activate three buttes in the Antelope Valley area. Lovejoy was the first of the day. Of course, I can never get out of the house at a reasonable time so I arrived around noon to my starting point on 145th Street East. It was hotter than I expected but I have a large golf umbrella for days like this, and it proved absolutely critical for both the hike and activation. You can make out a faint use trail up to the summit from the road, and accessing that trail requires navigating various moto trails, deep soft sand, and piles of dumped construction materials. Closer to the top is a faint use trail which goes to the summit. Worked 2M, 40M, 30M CW with a S2S on each band. Worked 20M CW with zero contacts which surprised me. The hike was under two miles but I drank two liters of water. Back at the car I had a snack and more water before heading over to the next butte.

https://sotl.as/summits/W6/ND-323

Total distance: 1.97 mi
Max elevation: 3258 ft
Total climbing: 1089 ft
Total time: 02:29:26
Download file: Lovejoy.gpx

Date:11/09/2022 | Summit:W6/ND-323 (Lovejoy Buttes)

TimeCallsignBandModeNotes
20:33KB6WWI144MHzFMS56 R53
20:45KN6TMT144MHzFMS59 R59 S2S W6/SD-141
20:51NT6E7MHzCWS58N R52N
20:52KE6MT7MHzCWS57N R55N
20:54K6HPX7MHzCWS58N R51N
20:56KR7RK7MHzCWS56N R55N
20:57WA7JTM7MHzCWS57N R54N
21:08KD0YOB10MHzCWS33N R33N S2S W0C/PR-093
21:11AF7M10MHzCWS58N R55N
21:14KN6EZE10MHzCWS58N R5NN S2S W6/ND-241
21:16KF6HI10MHzCWS579 R549
21:18W7DLZ10MHzCWS55N R54N
21:19AC1Z/010MHzCWS52N R33N
21:21N7MQ10MHzCWS56N R52N

W6/CT-009 – Butler Peak

The road up to Butler Peak was closed for several years due to a washout, however, repairs were made and the road opened July 4th. I drove my low clearance commuter car from Rim Of The World to Forest Road 2N13, and parked near the gate up to Butler. Hiking up to the summit was enjoyable and offered views not normally seen in the San Gabriel mountain range. Once at the top, the fire lookout volunteer invited me up to the tower for a tour and mentioned I was the only hiker of the day and that everyone else arrived via off-road vehicle. After the tour I climbed around on the rocks just below the tower in search for a place to setup the radio. There isn’t much usable room but I found a place I could put my endfed wire between two rocks. Since I brought my Yaesu 817 I decided to start on 70cm CW, which got me one contact. Moving to 2M FM only got me an additional contact. Moving to HF afforded me the contacts needed to get points. I made it down the mountain and back to the paved road right when it was starting to get dark. Perfect timing!

https://sotl.as/summits/W6/CT-009

Total distance: 5.44 mi
Max elevation: 8567 ft
Total climbing: 1480 ft
Total time: 03:38:41
Download file: Butler.gpx

Date:20/08/2022 | Summit:W6/CT-009 (Butler Peak)

TimeCallsignBandModeNotes
00:08NT6E433MHzCWS599 R529
00:22KI6SLA144MHzFMS57 R55
00:45WA6KYR7MHzCWS58N R58N
00:46KE6MT7MHzCWS57N R559
00:47WW7D7MHzCWS52N R31N
00:51K6TUY7MHzCWS51N R58N
01:01W6TDX14MHzCWS58N R57N
01:03AK5SD14MHzCWS56N R41N
01:06WW7D14MHzCWS57N R55N

W6/CC-005 – Reyes Peak

Reyes Peak is one I’ve wanted to activate since starting SOTA in 2019, but hadn’t because it’s a pretty far drive from the our home. On a hot July day my wife and I wanted to get out of the house, so we decided to jump in the car and go for a long drive out to the summit trailhead. Getting there took longer than expected due to slow winding roads. Shortly after starting off on the trailhead, the path splits. Go straight there, up a steep embankment. If you make a left turn to will end up at Haddock Mountain. At the summit is a rock formation you can scramble up. You can find evidence of an old fire lookout tower here. I signed the register and setup my HF antenna; worked 40M, 30M, and 20M. No contacts on 30. After getting back to the car we headed over to Rainbow Falls, then eventually over to Ojai for dinner and a beer.

https://sotl.as/summits/W6/CC-005

Normally I would put a .gpx map in this space, but I don’t believe I recorded one!

Date:01/07/2022 | Summit:W6/CC-005 (Reyes Peak)

TimeCallsignBandModeNotes
21:55NT6E7MHzCWS52N R52N
21:56K7EA7MHzCWS55N R33N
21:57K6EL7MHzCWS45N R55N S2S W6/CC-072
22:00KN6EZE7MHzCWS53N R55N
22:06W6LZY7MHzCWS57N R53N
22:07K6YK7MHzCWS57N R55N
22:11N6TE7MHzCWS58N R57N
22:12KE6MT7MHzCWS57N R55N
22:13W7SKH7MHzCWS58N R599
22:13W7CBR7MHzCWS55N R599
22:15K3GX7MHzCWS51N R44N
22:27AC1GE14MHzCWS42N R33N
22:28NS7P14MHzCWS58N R57N
22:28W6TDX14MHzCWS52N R52N
22:34KD7LX14MHzCWS52N R33N

W6/CC-056 – Sandstone Peak

This trip was my first time up Sandstone, but my second attempt. My previous trip to the trail head was met with treacherous winds which kept me from putting efforts into reaching the summit. The hike is typical of those in the Santa Monica Mountains; hot, dry and no shade whatsoever. I brought my hiking umbrella which made things much easier. After about 1.5 miles you will reach the summit and find a plaque honoring Herbert Allen. There I took quite a bit of time to cool down, listening on 2M for any activity. Made a few S2S QSOs. This summit doesn’t have much room to stretch out a long HF antenna, but I made it work by hiking out to a sketchy outcropping. I then realized I forgot the power cable to my HF radio! Doh! I packed up the antenna I just setup and hiked down the trail back to my car.

https://sotl.as/summits/W6/CC-056

Total distance: 3.12 mi
Max elevation: 2995 ft
Total climbing: 1703 ft
Total time: 02:23:09
Download file: Sandstone.gpx

Date:22/07/2022 | Summit:W6/CC-056 (Sandstone Peak)

TimeCallsignBandModeNotes
18:56KD7DTS144MHzFMS59 R59 S2S W6/CT-269
18:57KN6PHZ144MHzFMS59 R59 S2S W6/CT-269
19:02NT6E144MHzFMS59 R59
19:04WA6WV144MHzFMS55 R52
19:07KF7NP144MHzFMS22 R44 S2S W6/SC-203
19:37KI6SLA144MHzFMS55 R57

W6/CT-218 – Temescal Peak

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.

https://sotl.as/summits/W6/CT-218

I seem to have lost the .gpx track, which would normally go here.

Date:11/05/2022 | Summit:W6/CT-218 (Temescal Peak)

TimeCallsignBandModeNotes
03:23NT6E7MHzCWS55N R599
03:25KJ7LLS7MHzCWS52N R55N
03:26AC2WU7MHzCWS52N R42N
03:27AI6XG7MHzCWS56N R33N
03:28W6LOR7MHzCWS599 R57N
03:29K6EL7MHzCWS42N R55N
03:31W9SSN7MHzCWS599 R55N
03:38WE0Q10MHzCWS52N R57N
03:41KI7QEK10MHzCWS52N R55N
03:43N0DET10MHzCWS42N R42N
03:44WW7D10MHzCWS599 R42N
03:45AF7M10MHzCWS53N R55N
03:58KM6UHU144MHzFMS59+ R59
04:23KG6MZS144MHzFMS59+ R59
04:29KI6SLA144MHzFMS59 R59
04:37F4WBN14MHzCWS559 R599
04:39ZL1TM14MHzCWS42N R52N
04:41SA4BLM14MHzCWS33N R33N
04:45JH1MXV14MHzCWS42N R31N
04:46NT6E14MHzCWS599 R55N
04:59WA6WV144MHzFMS59+ R59
Car park
Santa Monica Bay
Trail

W6/IN-017 and W6/IN-036 – 7900 Loop

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……

https://sotl.as/summits/W6/IN-017

Total distance: 3.52 mi
Max elevation: 7897 ft
Total climbing: 1956 ft
Total time: 06:05:59
Download file: Cowhorns.gpx

Date:02/06/2022 | Summit:W6/IN-017 (7900)

TimeCallsignBandModeNotes
20:22K6HPX7MHzCWS55N R53N
20:25W7SKH7MHzCWS53N R55N
20:26WB6POT7MHzCWS57N R57N
20:27W7CBR7MHzCWS55N R55N
20:28N7CW7MHzCWS52N R53N
20:29K7EA7MHzCWS55N R55N
20:29W6JP7MHzCWS52N R51N
20:30NT6E7MHzCWS57N R53N
20:33K6QCB7MHzCWS55N R42N
20:43K7SO10MHzCWS52N R55N
20:44NS7P10MHzCWS57N R55N
20:45AF7M10MHzCWS52N R55N
20:48AC7P10MHzCWS42N R33N
20:57AK5SD14MHzCWS52N R42N
20:58K9WO14MHzCWS51N R44N
21:00W4JM14MHzCWS33N R33N
21:02AF7M14MHzCWS55N R55N

Death Valley Road
Hiking up dry waterfalls
I gave up trying to follow this path and hiked straight to the left
Up the hill…..
A nice Joshua tree with W6/IN-036 in the background
First view of the summit
At the top, zero shade

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.

https://sotl.as/summits/W6/IN-036

Date:02/06/2022 | Summit:W6/IN-036 (7900)

TIMECALLSIGNBANDMODENOTES
23:05NS7P7MHzCWS52N R44N
23:06K6QCB7MHzCWS55N R53N
23:08WA7JTM7MHzCWS57N R55N
23:08W6QX7MHzCWS58N R55N
23:11W7DLZ7MHzCWS56N R22N
23:14NT6E7MHzCWS58N R55N
23:16N6IZ7MHzCWS52N R33N
23:27N7CNH10MHzCWS51N R53N
23:30N7WI10MHzCWS57N R55N
23:45VE7HI14MHzCWS42N R33N
23:47AC7P14MHzCWS42N R33N
23:49W9APS14MHzCWS33N R599
Looking up at W6/IN-036
Hiking in a wash
Going up was much steeper than I expected
Trees along the ridge line
Summit is up there
Station
Heading down the ridge
Back at the car, boots off, ice cold cantaloupe.