W6/CT-265 – 3819

I’ve passed by this summit several times but never made the effort to activate it. The trail up is pretty obvious, just follow it along the ridge line up to the top. It’s pretty steep with loose soil in some sections so be careful. Also, watch out for snakes! Worked 20M, 40M with 5 S2S contacts. Not bad! From here I continued on and activated W6/CT-167, which is nearby.

https://sotl.as/summits/W6/CT-265

Total distance: 1.13 mi
Max elevation: 3842 ft
Min elevation: 3205 ft
Total climbing: 738 ft
Average speed: 0.81 m/s
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Date:18/12/2020 | Summit:W6/CT-265 (3819)

TimeCallsignBandModeNotes
19:56WB7BWZ14MHzSSB59 53
19:56W0MNA14MHzSSB59 57
19:57WW7D14MHzSSB59 53
19:57W4KRN14MHzSSB59 33
19:59VE6AGR14MHzSSB55 33
20:00W5ODS14MHzSSB55 44
20:01N7OOS14MHzSSBS2S W7O/NC-023 55 55
20:03KF7WI14MHzSSB55 54
20:04K7VK14MHzSSB59 57
20:12NJ7V7MHzSSBS2S W7A/CS-026
20:15KB7JJG7MHzSSB59 57
20:16WB6POT7MHzSSBS2S W6/SN-048 45 45
20:18N6NKT7MHzSSB55 55
20:19K6KM7MHzSSB53 55
20:19KR7RK7MHzSSB59 55
20:20N7XJ7MHzSSB59 55
20:20N7PN7MHzSSB55 44
20:21KJ7NOZ7MHzSSBS2S W7A/AE-035 45 55
20:22K6EL7MHzSSBS2S W6/NC-298 55 58
20:23K6YK7MHzSSB59 44
20:23N0RSR7MHzSSB59 45
20:24N6DNM7MHzSSB59 57
20:25K5DEZ7MHzSSB55 45

W6/CT-167 – 3788

This was my second summit of the day, activating W6/CT-265 earlier. Whatever you do, don’t use my GPS tracks to find your way up to this peak. I was 100% off making the ascent, however, I think I was mostly correct going back down to the start on Aliso Canyon Road.

https://sotl.as/summits/W6/CT-167

Total distance: 2.98 mi
Max elevation: 3806 ft
Min elevation: 2999 ft
Total climbing: 1309 ft
Average speed: 0.87 m/s
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Date:18/12/2020 | Summit:W6/CT-167 (3788)

TimeCallsignBandModeNotes
22:37N0RSR7MHzSSB55 55
22:40K7TAB7MHzSSBS2S W7A/CS-028 55 33
22:41NW7E7MHzSSB59 55
22:42N6DNM7MHzSSB59 59
22:43KG6POM7MHzSSB58 59
22:52WW7D14MHzSSB55 57
23:11WD6FOX144MHzFM58 55

W6/CT-255 – Magic Mountain

Kel, Esther, Lars, and myself setoff on bicycles to reach the summit of Magic Mountain, which was used by the Marquardt Corporation as a rocket engine test facility. At the top, there are modern radio towers, and two large tanks which held water to cool the rocket engines under test on the pads below. The ride started near Bear Divide, off Little Tujunga Canyon Road, and follows the Santa Clara Truck Trail. Immediately you’re presented with an 8% ~ 11% grade, which lasts for around 2 miles. After a few hundred feet of slight downhill, you get right back to a steep grade for another 4 miles or so. Around mile 6, the paved road will make a sharp left turn through a gate, which leads up to the summit. We found intense winds and cold air at the top which made our time at the summit short. I worked 17M, and 40M. UHF/ VHF might be tough up here without filters due to the proximity to the big radio towers.

https://sotl.as/summits/W6/CT-255

Total distance: 13.94 mi
Max elevation: 4869 ft
Min elevation: 2703 ft
Total climbing: 2844 ft
Average speed: 4.24 m/s
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Date:27/11/2020 | Summit:W6/CT-255 (Magic Mountain)

TimeCallsignBandModeNotes
22:25N0RSR7MHzSSB59 59
22:27N6DNM7MHzSSB57 59
22:28KN6CCC7MHzSSB55 59
22:30W7RV7MHzSSB57 59
22:32KG6MZS7MHzSSB36 59
22:35K1OTR7MHzSSB52 58
22:37K6LDQ7MHzSSB36 57
22:38K6EXE7MHzSSB55 55
22:48AE0XI18MHzSSB57 59
22:52W0MNA18MHzSSB44 58
22:53K6LDQ18MHzSSB55 59
22:57KG6MZS18MHzSSB57 59

W6/CT-025 – Josephine Peak

This is the second time I’ve activated Josephine Peak. I rode bicycles up with my wife, E, and Lars. Cold weather and brutal winds kept me off the HF bands as the antenna mast wouldn’t have stood up. Worked 2M FM and 10M SSB. Not much has changed up there, see my previous activation report here for more info.

https://summits.sota.org.uk/summit/W6/CT-025

Date:12/12/2020 | Summit:W6/CT-025 (Josephine Peak)

TimeCallsignBandModeNotes
21:06KM6UHU144MHzFM59 59
21:06KM6TRU144MHzFM59 59
21:06K6MAA144MHzFM59 59
21:07K6RIN144MHzFM45 54
21:08N6MDZ144MHzFM59 59
21:08WE4IAS144MHzFM59 59
21:09KI6SLA144MHzFM59 54
21:11KG6LI144MHzFMS2S W6/SC-368 58 52
21:12N6AN144MHzFMS2S W6/CT-225 59 59
21:13K6PUZ144MHzFM59 59
21:14K6DSB144MHzFM59 59
21:17K6KWI144MHzFM55 59
21:18K8PTR144MHzFM55 55
21:19K6ICS28MHzSSB59 59 CA
21:29KI6PMD28MHzSSB55 59
21:30WD8CIK28MHzSSB59 59
21:32N6VOH28MHzSSB55 59

Rail Cart

I’m building a rail cart, here are some photos. Many more to come.

Too hot!
First wheel, sorta done.
Chips
Two axles, pillow blocks, and wheels.

W6/CT-006 – Cucamonga Peak

My pal E.Bun had been taking about hiking Ice House Canyon for a few weeks. This is a pretty popular hiking destination in Southern California which I really knew nothing about, as I have only been in that part of the San Gabriels once, maybe 15 years ago. After some research, I thought to myself “Oh, there are SOTA summits up there? I’m in!”. It’s a longer hike than I normally enjoy, and since it’s popular, you need to be at the trailhead ridiculously early or risk missing out on a parking space. I only brought an HT, with the idea that I could do a UHF only activation. Since this is a popular summit, I didn’t want wires everywhere. I enjoyed the additional bonus of a lighter pack.

I was awake at 4:30AM, at the trailhead just before 6AM. The parking lot was filling up like an In-N-Out burger drive thru. Groups pf people were gathering at the bottom, ready to hike. The majority of people were not wearing masks, which in the middle of the Corona Virus outbreak, really bothers me – to the point where I was reconsidering the trip. We started on the trail just after 6AM just after first light. E.Bun was hiking fast, full steam ahead, and I needed to shed my jacket after about 15 minutes. Around about 4 miles of constant uphill, we reached Ice House Saddle, where several large, unmasked groups were congregating there. We found a nice spot away from everyone upwind, on a small hill in the sun to take a short break and figure out what we were going to do.

One large group split off and headed to Timber Mountain. “Not going there”. Another large group split off to Ontario Peak. “Not going there either”. The only option left was Cucamonga, which we didn’t see any large groups heading up so of we hiked! This trail was much less traveled than Ice House which made me feel a lot better. Additionally, it was much more scenic and a bit more technical. Eventually the trail turned to ice on the north side of the mountain – when the trail winds around to the south side, one could imagine it’s the middle of summer. A short trek through ‘deep’ snow and we made it to the summit, well, almost. The actual summit was full of maskless people taking photos with the summit sign for their Instagram account. We stoped a bit further east, away from everyone.

We both took some time to relax and enjoy the views, eat lunch, and chat about the hike up. E.Bun went to meditate. I pulled out the HT, spotted myself on 446.000 via APRS and started calling CQ. I worked 15 stations on 70cm in about 30 minutes, which honestly surprised me. Satisfied with the contacts I made, and knowing there was a long hike down to the trailhead, we packed up and started heading down. This is where it got annoying. The trail is narrow and most hikers coming up were not wearing masks. You need to come really close to another person to pass, otherwise you’re just going to stand there all day. Other places, large maskless groups were occupying the narrow trail, giving very little room to pass.

We made it back to the trailhead around 3:30. I are a burrito and drank half a quart of water at the car. I’m not sure I’ll do this trail again on a weekend, even after everyone gets vaccinated. Way too many people – hopefully we didn’t catch Corona Virus, please be respectful and wear a mask when around other on our trails.

https://sotl.as/summits/W6/CT-006

Total distance: 12.04 mi
Max elevation: 8865 ft
Min elevation: 4961 ft
Total climbing: 6621 ft
Average speed: 0.99 m/s
Download

Date:21/11/2020 | Summit:W6/CT-006 (Cucamonga Peak)

TimeCallsignBandModeNotes
18:33K6QCB433MHzFM
18:34KK6CTT433MHzFM
18:35W6IEE433MHzFM
18:36AJ6N433MHzFM
18:38K6LDQ433MHzFM
18:39W9SSN433MHzFM
18:40KJ5KG433MHzFM
18:41KW6RON433MHzFM
18:43K6GAS433MHzFM
18:44KN6KOR433MHzFM
18:45AJ6MF433MHzFM
18:47KM6UHU433MHzFM
18:51AJ6PH433MHzFM
18:53KI6DDB433MHzFM
19:00KG6CQQ433MHzFM
The start of the hike
Typical trail up to the saddle
sign at the saddle, multiple hike from this point.
Getting a bit more technical
icy!
Rock slide, and more ice!
Snow for the last mile or so.
Adjacent to the summit.
I just brought an HT, as this was a UHF only activation.
Hiking pal, E.Bun.

W6/CT-029 – Mt. Emma

Mt. Emma had been on my radar for awhile, but the lower elevation and lack of shade pushed this down my list until cooler months arrived. My wife and I wanted to get out of the house, so this was a perfect spontaneous activity on a cool November day. Start on Mt. Emma road – there is a small parking area directly across from the trailhead, and a small sign lets you know you’re at the right place. At first the trail winds through chaparral up the first hill. After about 10 minutes of hiking, you will discover the trail was replaced with a recent fire break, most likely in response to the Bobcat Fire. Follow the fire break all the way up to the summit. It’s quite steep, my GPS reported a 15% ~ 30% grade. At the top, I found the summit marker, but no benchmark. Maybe it was destroyed by a land clearing machine? I also observed red fire retardant on the ground, the kind dropped form aircraft. Interestingly, it appeared that this was dropped before the land was cleared. I setup a long wire antenna into my Yaesu 817, self spotted via APRS. Made a few contacts on 20M, tried 17M with no luck, then moved to 40M and made several more with one summit to summit. I look forward to activating this again in a years time to see how the plants recover. Maybe I should plant a native tree up there?

https://sotl.as/summits/W6/CT-029

Total distance: 1.89 mi
Max elevation: 5269 ft
Min elevation: 4209 ft
Total climbing: 1050 ft
Average speed: 0.78 m/s
Download

Date:20/11/2020 | Summit:W6/CT-029 (Mount Emma)

TimeCallsignBandModeNotes
21:05W0MNA14MHzSSB55 59
21:06AC1Z14MHzSSB22 55
21:07KD8KDB14MHzSSB22 55
21:08WB7BWZ14MHzSSB53 59
21:09W5ODS14MHzSSB55 59
21:44NG6R7MHzSSB55 59
21:44W7USA7MHzSSB55 59
21:45K6RIN7MHzSSB33 59
21:46N0RSR7MHzSSB59 59
21:48K6LDQ7MHzSSB54 59
21:49NQ7R7MHzSSB55 55
21:50W6DT7MHzSSB44 45 S2S W6/SN-049
21:51KL7HM7MHzSSB33 59
21:53K6YK7MHzSSB55 59
21:55WB7ULD7MHzSSB51 55
Trail head just off Mt. Emma road
Path to the recently cleared fire break
Newly cleared fire break
Wife
Looking up at the summit
Summit log, looks like WA9STI was here sometime in 2013
My log at the summit. Found pocket knife. I have no idea where the benchmark went.
Long wire antenna
Fire retardant. This was dropped before the new fire break was cleared
Another view of the summit, hopefully things will start to look normal in a few years.

W6/CT-024 – Iron Mountain

Iron Mountain is one of those summits in Southern California which hasn’t been activated too many times, and for a good reason. It’s a long hike, or in my case, a long, hard bicycle ride. I started at Dillon Divide full of energy ready to tackle the summit around 11am, but quickly found this bike ride to be laborious, not because of the distance or the uphill grade, but because the road was covered in rocks ranging in size from a softball, to large marbles. Trying to put any kind of effort into the rear wheel resulted in a tire without traction. In the worst spots on the trail, the front wheel was bobbing around left and right, looking for traction as well! Needless to say, I had to push the bike up most of the way.

Fallen trees and rock slides along the way made this hike with a bike more difficult. After a few hours of climbing over fallen trees, through deep gravel – wanting to give up and turn around, I made it to the bottom of the summit. Of course, I didn’t do any research on how to actually get to the top so I spent some time looking at contour maps to find the least steep route. This turned out to be an old fire break, which was quite over grown and not really visible. At the top, the benchmark was easy to find. I signed the summit log, which was last signed in May.

Daylight was running out quickly, so I setup my station as fast as I could and made enough HF contacts to qualify the summit, switching over to VHF for additional contacts while breaking down the long wire antenna. As the sun started to dip below the horizon, I started the hike down to my bike, which I left near the road up. It was twilight, but the bike I was riding has a dynamo front wheel that generates light. Going downhill was somewhat easier than going up. You see, I’m riding a bike with somewhat skinny tires and brakes that don’t work well at all. This trip would have been better on a different bike! About a quarter of the way down, it was pitch black. Ten miles plus endless switchbacks and large rock dodging, in addition to severely cramped hands and not enough light required laser focused concentration, but I made it down safely, with all my gear – tired, beat up, cold and hungry. All in all, this was pretty tough and I can’t wait to do it again.

https://sotl.as/summits/W6/CT-024

Total distance: 23.34 mi
Max elevation: 5650 ft
Min elevation: 2733 ft
Total climbing: 5023 ft
Average speed: 2.55 m/s
Download

Date:14/11/2020 | Summit:W6/CT-024 (Iron Mountain)

TimeCallsignBandModeNotes
00:04KB7JJG7MHzSSB59 52
00:05NW7E7MHzSSB59 53
00:06N0RSR7MHzSSB55 55
00:18NE6R14MHzSSB59 59
00:25KN6LBJ144MHzFM
00:26WB2WIK144MHzFM
00:27KK6TLN144MHzFM
00:28W1SAV144MHzFM
00:28KI6PMD144MHzFM
00:31KK6TDU433MHzFM
Gate at Dillon Divide

UPDATE! May 31st, 2021

Forest road 3N17 is open, so I decided to activate Iron Mountain again, but from from the other direction; Mount Gleason area. I drove my SOTA mobile about as far as I was comfortable, ending up just to the side of Lightning Point campground. You could drive another mile or so down the narrow dirt road until you reach a locked gate. From here, you hike down to the summit! I think this is a first for me. The trail is mostly exposed, so bring extra water.

Total distance: 9.87 mi
Max elevation: 6142 ft
Min elevation: 5039 ft
Total climbing: 2254 ft
Average speed: 1.12 m/s
Download

W6/CT-144 – 4460

I’ve been looking for more summits which are accessible by dual sport motorcycle, and the western edge of the Angeles National Forest seems to have a few from what I can gather via internet research. I just need to ride around the area and see how accessible they are. This summit is just off BPL Road, which I believe, is private. However, the roads are in the forest, which is open. It shouldn’t be an issue to use the land so off I went. Near the summit, I parked the moto off the side of the road and followed the ridge line up to the top. An inverted triangle post was used to hold a QRP Guys end fed tuner, with 41′ of wire stretched out to a collapsible fishing pole. I worked 20M, 40M, and 2M. One summit to summit contact on FM. There are a few more 2 and 4 point summits in the area, which I hope to activate soon.

https://sotl.as/summits/W6/CT-144

Total distance: 0.56 mi
Max elevation: 4449 ft
Min elevation: 4170 ft
Total climbing: 305 ft
Average speed: 0.95 m/s
Download

Date:23/10/2020 | Summit:W6/CT-144 (4460)

TimeCallsignBandModeNotes
20:20NOWAE14MHzSSB59 55
20:21WW7D14MHzSSB59 57
20:22N0MNA14MHzSSB55 44
20:24W0ERI14MHzSSB55 44
20:25KG6MZS14MHzSSB57 43
20:27WU7H14MHzSSB59 58
20:43N6NKT7MHzSSB59 33
20:44W7RV7MHzSSB20:44
20:46K6LDQ7MHzSSB55 33
20:53KA6VVD144MHzFM
21:06KN6CQX144MHzFMS2S W6/CT-004
Twisty dirt roads
I parked here and hiked the rest of the way to the top.
Yaesu FT2D + QRP Guys end fed tuner + 41′ of wire
Looking off from the summit
Activation Zone