W6/CT-048 – Ontario Peak

Ontario Peak was my 100th activation in the logbook, but really only my 97th or 98th activation as I’ve stayed on a couple summits past 00:00z a few times and worked chasers a second time so they could get double points. All that being said, I wanted my 100th activation to be a long hike, in addition, I wanted to hike to a summit I’ve never been to. Ontario Peak fit that description, and having hiked Ice House Canyon twice before I knew what I was getting into. Originally I was only going to bring an HT for UHF/ VHF to save weight, but at the last moment the FT817 kit found it’s way into my pack, however, I omitted the antenna mast and Bioenno battery and just brought some twine to support my vertical antenna from a tree, and some AA batteries to run the rig.

The hike up is somewhat popular, and about 6 miles to the summit with a bunch of elevation gain. Once at the top I was surprised to find how small the actual summit is. I ate a burrito and relaxed a bit before calling CQ on my HT. This immediately got me 4 contacts, 1 S2S. Feeling pretty exhausted from the hike up, I wasn’t feeling motivated to set up the HF station. Good trees to support a wire are all kinda off the edge of ridge and likely outside of the activation zone. Since I hauled the equipment up there, I figured I would just lay the vertical over the chaparral and see what happened. I sent a spot on 20m CW and to my surprise, made several contacts. Moving to 30m, the AA batteries in my radio were acting up and the rig shutdown several times while calling CQ, so I gave up. While packing up the rig, I heard 3 S2S stations on 2m. Whoooohoo! After working the S2S stations, I finished packing up for the 6 mile hike back to the trailhead.


Total distance: 12.78 mi
Max elevation: 8717 ft
Min elevation: 4934 ft
Total climbing: 6115 ft
Average speed: 1.11 m/s

Date:05/11/2021 | Summit:W6/CT-048 (Ontario Peak)

20:23KN6CQX144MHzFMS55 R59 S2S W6/CT-086
20:39K6LDQ144MHzFMS59 R59
20:41WA6WV144MHzFMS59 R59
20:41KI6SLA144MHzFMS59 R59
21:05K7EA14MHzCWS599 R599
21:06WB6POT14MHzCWS599 R599
21:07W0MNA14MHzCWS559 R559
21:08W0ERI14MHzCWS55N R55N
21:09K6PB14MHzCWS55N R55N
21:17K6QCB10MHzCWS55N R599
21:34K6STR144MHzFMS55 R52 S2S W6/CT-240
21:35W6LOR144MHzFMS55 R52 S2S W6/CT-240
21:42KN6CQX144MHzFMS55 R57 S2S W6/CT-013
Fall colors!
Icehouse Canyon
Past the saddle, on the way to Ontario Peak
Lots of dead trees near the summit
First view of the top!
Made it to the top!
One last photo of the summit on the way down.

W6/SD-166 – Bartlett Mountains

This is a rad hike in Yucca Valley. I tried to summit this one earlier in the year when summer bonus points were on the table, but I couldn’t find the trailhead. Returning a few months later after a bit more research, it turned out I was just one hill away from the trailhead the first time. With that sorted, my wife and I started to head up. The trail is pretty obvious, but it’s easy to loose track of it in some areas. Once at the top I setup my vertical and called out on 30M, then 40M, then 20M, self spotting on each band. Made on S2S to Timber Mountain, W6/CT-052, which makes that a complete for me. I look forward to hiking this one again.


Total distance: 2.45 mi
Max elevation: 3812 ft
Min elevation: 3251 ft
Total climbing: 817 ft
Average speed: 0.95 m/s

Date:22/10/2021 | Summit:W6/SD-166 (Bartlett Mountains (HP))

19:32NW7E10MHzCWS449 R53N
19:33NS7P10MHzCWS55N R33N
19:35N7OOS10MHzCWS559 R559
19:37WW7D10MHzCWS55N R37N
19:47AJ6KZ10MHzCWS229 R419 S2S W6/CT-052
19:57K6EL7MHzCWS549 R559
19:58W6DE7MHzCWS55N R55N
20:01K6YK7MHzCWS559 R559
20:06F4WBN14MHzCWS559 R599
20:07W0MNA14MHzCWS559 R599
20:08K3TCU14MHzCWS559 R559
20:10WN4AT14MHzCWS549 R55N
20:11W0ERI14MHzCWS549 R55N
20:12W4KRN14MHzCWS559 R33N
20:17WB7BWZ14MHzCWS55N R52N
This is where I parked; the Fiat was struggling for traction on the hill that leads up to this point.
This is still “the road” but you’re going to need a lifted 4×4 to travel it.
Heading up!
More trail
At the top, my wife found the only shade!
Heading down…..

W6/CT-214 – Calabasas Peak

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.


Total distance: 3.69 mi
Max elevation: 2149 ft
Min elevation: 1247 ft
Total climbing: 1109 ft
Average speed: 1.19 m/s

Date:08/09/2021 | Summit:W6/CT-214 (Calabasas Peak)

21:24KB9ENS10MHzCWS559 R559 S2S W5N/SI-001
21:41K6TUY14MHzSSBS59 R59
21:42K6ARV14MHzSSBS58 R53
21:42N0WAE14MHzSSBS58 R44
21:54AJ6CL14MHzCWS599 R599 S2S W6/CT-218
22:04WW7D10MHzCWS559 R549
22:05NG6R10MHzCWS559 R559
22:07AA7OY10MHzCWS559 R559
22:09AB6ET10MHzCWS559 R579
22:26K6LDQ144MHzFMS59 R59
22:27KI6SLA144MHzFMS59 R57
Stay to the left here
Hard to tell here, but the road is a bit too steep for reasonable mountain biking.

W6/SC-161 – Townsend Peak

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.


Total distance: 3.01 mi
Max elevation: 3179 ft
Min elevation: 2536 ft
Total climbing: 827 ft
Average speed: 1.18 m/s

Date:11/10/2021 | Summit:W6/SC-161 (Townsend Peak)

00:37WW7D7MHzCWS559 R439
00:40K6QCB7MHzCWS549 R42N
00:42N7CNH7MHzCWS559 R44N
00:44KF6HI7MHzCWS599 R559
00:48KR7RK7MHzCWS599 R229
00:51W6GRT7MHzCWS549 R56N
00:55NU7B10MHzCWS559 R33N
00:58N7BHP10MHzCWS55N R33N

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.