Keller Peak/ Strawberry Peak

VHF only activation of two peaks in the Lake Arrowhead area. These are both drive ups, and easy to find on Google Maps. GPS will probably take you straight to the top. There was a heatwave in Los Angeles, so I didn’t feel super enthusiastic about going on a hike, but I wanted to get out of the house and on the air. The first summit of the day was Strawberry peak (not to be confused with the other Strawberry Peak!). This peak is covered in RF equipment, with little room to property setup a HF antenna. My Yaesu 817 was full noise in the 2 meter band, with the squelch al the way closed, which made making contacts interesting. I quickly made the required contacts (plus a few more) and headed over to Keller Peak. This summit is also covered in RF equipment and a fire lookout tower. There isn’t much room on the summit, but I ended up finding a spot under the tower, and behind a large rock in an attempt to block RF. Contacts came easily, and I was wrapping up after about 10 minutes at the top. Overall, beautiful area, and a nice summer drive.

Date:20/08/2020 | Summit:W6/CT-086 (Strawberry Peak)


Date:20/08/2020 | Summit:W6/CT-013 (Keller Peak)

Under the fire lookout

W6/CC-002 – Mt. Pinos

My wife and I were itching to get out of the house, so I suggested a day trip up to Frazier to check out some of the easy summits in the area. At the time, there was a heat wave throughout Southern California, so I wasn’t in the mood to do much hiking! We started out by heading up to Frazier Mountain, W6/CC-003, a drive up. The first half of the road was paved, but after a few miles the road splits at a campground and turns to dirt. I attempted to pilot my Fiat 500 carefully down the dirt, but quickly found this wasn’t the best idea with minimal ground clearance and low profile tires. We turned around and headed to Mt. Pinos. Getting there is easy on the paved road, which ends at a large parking area at several trail heads. The hike up is beautiful, through a tree canopy which eventually opens up to meadows of wildflowers. Made several contacts on 20, 40 and 2 meters, including three summit 2 summits.

Total distance: 3.52 mi
Max elevation: 8852 ft
Min elevation: 8343 ft
Total climbing: 938 ft
Average speed: 1.17 m/s

Date:14/08/2020 | Summit:W6/CC-002 (Mount Pinos)

20:08KC9TZM144MHzFM59 59 – Trucker
20:21KA7GPP14MHzSSB52 52 S2S W7W/CH-223
20:24WW7D14MHzSSB59 55
20:26W0MNA14MHzSSB45 44
20:27W0ERI14MHzSSB45 44
20:30W6PZA14MHzSSB45 33 S2S W70/CE-059
20:34NS7P14MHzSSB55 55
20:42N6DNM7MHzSSB55 55
20:43K6EL7MHzSSB56 55 S2S W6/NC-298
20:45AG7TX7MHzSSB55 56
20:46K6HPX7MHzSSB59 51
20:49K6LDQ7MHzSSB33 33

W6/CT-247 – Mount Williamson

This is a fun 8 point SOTA hike, which is around 5 miles round trip. Note: If you’re looking at a map, the actual summit is past Mount Williamson; keep going and follow Pleasant View Ridge to a peak named 8248. If you keep going even further, you will run into Pallet Mountain, the site of a C-119 aircraft crash.

Total distance: 4.82 mi
Max elevation: 8264 ft
Min elevation: 6696 ft
Total climbing: 2113 ft
Average speed: 0.97 m/s

Date:31/07/2020 | Summit:W6/CT-247 (Mount Williamson)

20:17WWD728MHzSSB55 55
20:18K6WLD28MHzSSB59 59
20:30KI6PMD28MHzSSB59 59
20:50W7HO14MHzSSB59 56
20:50KB6AE14MHzSSB59 52
20:52N9XG14MHzSSB49 54
20:59N6JZT14MHzSSB55 43
21:21N1WAX144MHzFM59 59
21:25KM6CEM144MHzFM59 33
21:26AJ6N144MHzFM59 53
21:28WB6FQZ144MHzFM59 55
21:29KI6PMD144MHzFM59 42
21:31KM6SVN144MHzFM59 51
The start of the trail, just off Hwy 2
This PCT marker is at the point where you turn to hike the ridge.
Looking up at the ridge
Summit log on Mt. Williamson.. This isn’t the SOTA summit, keep going!
View at the top
It gets somewhat technical at this point, but evens out eventually.

W6/CT-246 – Mount Lewis

Mt. Lewis is a short, steep hike with easy access just off highway 2, which can easily be combined with any of the surrounding summits, such as Throop, Mt. Baden-Powell, exc for a 16 point day. At the summit, you get nice views of the Antelope Valley and plenty of shade.

The peak is named after the first Superintendent of Yosemite National Park who worked in the San Gabriels in the early 1900’s. Mt. Lewis made it on the original 1946 Sierra Club Hundred Peaks List.

Total distance: 0.98 mi
Max elevation: 8419 ft
Min elevation: 7487 ft
Total climbing: 1020 ft
Average speed: 1.06 m/s

Date:01/08/2020 | Summit:W6/CT-246 (Mount Lewis)

00:04K6ICS28MHzSSB59 55 (10-10 contester)
00:25KB6AE14MHzSSB59 57
00:52K6LDQ7MHzSSB55 33
00:57KK6TDU433MHzFM59 59
00:59N6MDZ433MHzFM59 59
01:08N1WAX433MHzFM59 59
01:13KB9ENS144MHzFMS2S – W6/CT-012
01:14AJ6N144MHzFM59 59

W6/SS-285 – Bald Mountain

This was my first activation in the Southern Sierras; quite a bit of a drive from my QTH, but it made a fun day with my wife. The station was setup off the side of the summit on a picnic table. I only made two contacts on 2M (one S2S) and two on 20M. 40M was simply not working. Either my station was in a terrible position, or propagation simply wasn’t working in my favor.

Total distance: 4.38 mi
Max elevation: 9386 ft
Min elevation: 8593 ft
Total climbing: 1020 ft
Average speed: 1.22 m/s
2M S2S with W6RIP. 155.2 miles is very good.

Date:24/07/2020 | Summit:W6/SS-285 (Bald Mountain)

22:53W6RIP144MHzFM55 55 S2S W6/CT-047
22:55KG6USS144MHzFM59 57
23:17K6LDQ14MHzSSB32 33
23:17WU7H14MHzSSB45 33

W6/CT-050 – Delamar Mountain

8 point summit near Fawnskin (Big Bear Lake). Do not follow my tracks on this one, as I completely missed the trail! We started out on a section of the PCT, scrambled up to the summit, then followed an old road down, which didn’t really put us in a position to get back to the car easily. I didn’t make a ton of contacts, but overall, a fun hike.

Total distance: 4.34 mi
Max elevation: 8399 ft
Min elevation: 7277 ft
Total climbing: 2234 ft
Average speed: 1.12 m/s

Date:18/07/2020 | Summit:W6/CT-050 (Delamar Mountain)

12:00N1WAX144MHzFM55 50
12:00KG6USS144MHzFM59 59
12:01N6JNY144MHzFM59 59
12:02WA6WV144MHzFM59 59
12:10W0ADV14MHzSSB59 52
12:11KB6AE14MHzSSB59 59
12:12W0MNA14MHzSSB55 44
12:14K6LDQ14MHzSSB55 45
12:27WU7H7MHzSSB35 33

W6/CT-087 – Little Mt. Gleason (6080)

I activated this peak in mid July after a bicycle activation up to (regular?) Mt. Gleason. I enjoyed the ride so much I came back for Little Mt. Gleason the following week. The ride up for the first few miles is tough, about a 11% grade according to my GPS. After that it calms down a bit, but it’s still up hill. To find Little Mt. Gleason, look for a microwave tower off in the distance while traveling up the road. That’s it. Eventually, there will be a dirt road on the right hand side that takes you to the summit. There is little to no shade on the road up, and there is zero shade once you get to the summit. I don’t know if I will do this one again in the middle of July, as the temps were quite high. As for the activation, I brought my Yaesu 817, my standard 20/40M vertical and one of those cheesy MFJ 1810T antennas for 10M, which brought me more contacts that 20+40 combined. Longest QSO was out to Colorado Springs, on 10M. The ride down was fast and enjoyable, and I look forward to activating this peak again in the winter months.

Total distance: 11.63 mi
Max elevation: 6014 ft
Min elevation: 4911 ft
Total climbing: 1673 ft
Average speed: 0.00 m/s

Date:10/07/2020 | Summit:W6/CT-087 (6020)

21:31KC6ESW28MHzSSB59 42
21:41KB6WWI28MHzSSB59 59
21:59KE0UI28MHzSSB52 59
22:21WU7H14MHzSSB59 44
22:22WW7D14MHzSSB55 45
22:46K6YK7MHzSSB59 22
23:08WA6FX28MHzSSB59 45
23:40K6LDQ28MHzSSB59 44
The fire road up after the first mile or two
False summit!
Microwave site. The shelter and tower to the right seems to be unused.
The Marin. I think this was an old road that the forest service closed down. It’s on the map, but blocked off with large wood pilings.

Mt. Gleason W6/CT-017

I originally planned on riding my bike up to W6/CT-087, which is on the way to Mt. Gleason, but I was feeling good so I pushed through to the further summit. The road up is paved, as there was a Nike missile site up top, which became a Forest Service fire outpost, which, tragically burned down in the 2009 Station Fire. Since it is almost 10 miles to the top, cycling made quick work of what would be above my pedestrian threshold. Once at the top, I setup the station under a grove of pine trees in the shade. I made a few contacts on 2M as the HF antenna got setup. I self spotted on 20M, and made a few contacts. Moving over to 40M and self spotting again, I quickly found it was noisy. I could clearly hear chasers calling me, but there was no getting out on my end. I made a few contacts regardless, including, a S2S. I moved over to 2M CW to practice my code. Made one contact, then another station called, which was a busted QSO because my brain still freezes when receiving.

More info and photos on LA-04

Total distance: 18.62 mi
Max elevation: 6529 ft
Min elevation: 4915 ft
Total climbing: 2881 ft
Average speed: 0.00 m/s

Date:03/07/2020 | Summit:W6/CT-017 (Mount Gleason)

20:26KI6PMD144MHzFM59 59
20:37N1WAX144MHzSSB59 59
20:45N0RSR14MHzSSB49 55
20:45NQ7R14MHzSSB55 59
20:46W7FAS14MHzSSB59 57
20:47K0YO14MHzSSB45 55
20:55NG6R14MHzSSB59 57
21:15K2J14MHzSSB59 59
21:21WW7D7MHzSSB22 45 S2S W7W/CW-085
21:23N6DNM7MHzSSB55 44
22:44K6LDQ144MHzCW599 599