W6/CT-159 – Warm Springs Mountain

I activated Warm Springs Mountain on Winter Field Day. My original plan was to cycle up to my favorite local park and work on my terrible CW skills, but my pal Tim just took delivery of a new custom built Crust frame and wanted to ride up some hills. I can’t say no to a bike ride, so I packed up my new seat bag with 5 ice cold beers, put the radios in the pannier, and headed up to the summit. It’s roughly 6~7% grade and 6.5 miles to the top on an exposed fire road. At the top I was surprised to find a weather station, an old lookout platform, a small radio shelter with a short tower. We got there roughly 30 minutes before 00:00z, so time was spent on top of the tower enjoying cold beer. I setup the station and immediately heard stations wall to wall on SSB. Once a clear frequency was found, I self spotted via APRS, however the reply I got said the summit was invalid. Luckily I had a phone with data, so I was able to confirm on the SOTA site that I was indeed on a summit. Self spotting through the web gui didn’t work either, so I called on 2M to a local chaser requesting a spot – who couldn’t spot either! Turns out the W6 database was getting updated, so nobody could send spots out! I worked as many stations as I could on 20M (three, but hands were too frozen to write so I missed one in my log) which was difficult due to several stations running kilowatts. I made a few more on 2M, enough to qualify the peak. The ride down was fast and quite enjoyable. Looking forward to activating this one again!


Total distance: 12.8 mi
Max elevation: 4030 ft
Total climbing: 3466 ft
Total time: 05:38:39
Download file: Warm Springs Mountain.GPX

Date:31/01/2021 | Summit:W6/CT-159 (Warm Springs Mountain)

Bringing all the right equipment.
Start of the trailhead off Lake Hughes Road.
Typical view.
First view of the summit, it’s up there by the trees.
Sign for Warm Springs. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a spring, and it wasn’t warm.
Lookout platform, radio shelter, and short tower.
Summit benchmark
Don’t fall through! This tower has seen better days, all the antennas coax was cut.
My SOTA whip.

EDIT: December 5th, 2022. I found old photos and a description of this old fire lookout tower. See link below. Photos and description borrowed from firetower.org without permission.



Warm Spring Mountain Lookout was constructed in 1934. The cabin is a California Region 5 Plan BC-301 on a 20 foot H-Brace open steel tower.

The lookout was overrun by the Ruby Fire in 1987 and burned. The cabin was not staffed and wasn’t rebuilt. The steel tower remains today.

W6/CT-071 – Circle Mountain

I activated this summit in January, just before a storm system was coming into Southern California to dump snow on higher elevation peaks. To take advantage of extra winter bonus points, I set out early from my home and quickly bagged Table Mountain, a very easy summit before heading over to the Circle Mountain trailhead. Once there, the trail was well defined and easy to follow. At the top, I setup next to the summit marker and spotted myself. My wife hiked around the large flat summit while I operated on 20M/ 40M bands. Quickly, the temperature dropped and we noticed frozen rain falling from the sky. I quickly packed up the station and headed down to the car.


Total distance: 2.41 mi
Max elevation: 6885 ft
Total climbing: 1150 ft
Total time: 02:31:20
Download file: Circle Mountain.GPX

Date:22/01/2021 | Summit:W6/CT-071 (Circle Mountain) | 

21:20W6DT7MHzSSB59 54
21:21WB6POT7MHzSSB59 57
21:22K6YK7MHzSSB59 57
21:23K6KM7MHzSSB58 53
21:23N6DNM7MHzSSB57 52
21:36K0LAF14MHzSSB55 55
21:36W0MNA14MHzSSB57 55
21:37WW7D14MHzSSB58 54
21:38N8II14MHzSSB59 55
21:39KC3GOP14MHzSSB55 34
21:40W0ERI14MHzSSB59 55
21:41K6QCB14MHzSSB55 32
21:41NW7E14MHzSSB59 52
21:42WB7BWZ14MHzSSB55 52
21:42NS7P14MHzSSB55 44
21:42WD8KDB14MHzSSB55 55