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 otherStrawberry 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This was a nice hike, but a bit far from my QTH. I intended to do a double activation of Throop and Mt. Lewis, but the temperature was dropping and it was best to head home. The HF bands were kinda quiet, but I jumped on FM Simplex and made a bunch of contacts from Apple Valley to Temecula
This my second time activating Hoyt Mountain, however this time, I hiked up for the ARRL VHF contest and primarily worked 6M and 70CM, with a few contacts on 2M, and a couple S2S contacts. This is on my top 5 list of favorite summits because it’s close to home, and it’s not a popular place for Angelenos to hike; I’d like to camp up here sometime for an overnight activation in the future. See my previous activation of this summit HERE.