I have been rather lazy lately. The struggle to get myself to a summit has been a big one. So I figure why not do two drive up summits. This was a great plan until I got to the gate to Cerro Noroeste. Why a gate would be closed when we haven’t had a lick of snow is beyond me.
Cerro Noroeste Closed Gate
So I backtracked to Frazier Mountain. Getting there consists of driving a 7 mile stretch of bumpiness after you leave the highway. While the drive is slow going I have taken a Mercedes up this summit before. So that gives you an idea of the clearance.
Once you arrive you are greeted by numerous towers, an old fire lookout and a sign to tell you where you are. The old lookout makes a nice spot to lash your pole to, and the old outhouse is a good place to tie off your wire.
I sat on the hill side as it was about 30 degrees. This kept me out of the wind. I think band conditions were bad because it was like pulling teeth to make contacts, and my reports weren’t so hot.
What a sunrise
Drive Up Summit
Thanks to the chasers that stuck in there. I look forward to my next activation.
Well it had been some time since I activated. I love the Frazier Park area so naturally a good 8 pointer in the area would work just find.
I left at 5am, stopped at McDonald’s in Gorman and then I was on my way up to the Nordic ski area. Once I arrived I ate and downed my coffee. Sunrise was just upon the parking lot. So I opted to throw on a jacket and gloves being that it was 34 degrees out.
This is a pretty decent hike with minimal elevation gains. It is also filled with forest and meadows of brush.
Finally the summit is in sight.
Once I arrived at the top I was going to setup next to the installation however I opted to go a bit West due to some rocks that would make a good operating position and a tree that would help get my LNR Trail Friendly Par End Fed Wire antenna. I only had the transmitter end about about 2 feet above the ground. Wasn’t sure that it would work but it was fine.
What a View
Activation’s are usually fun. This one was exceptionally fun! I started on 7.200, then some knuckles took the frequency. So I kicked it up to 7.203 where for the first 10 minutes things were good. Then the next 5 minutes were filled with the musical sty-lings of some lid. He also liked to tune up and spit out random expletives.
Not to be outdone I was able to get the last two chasers. At this point I was so pissed that I wrapped it up. After all it was a success so why not go home.
Well I have been doing a lot of reflecting away from SOTA. And the truth is I miss hiking. So I think I am going to go back at it. I will start packing lighter though and not take so much crap. If I activate I activate, if not oh well. So there should be more updates on here in the near future. -73 WC6Q
Well today started out fairly good. I woke up early and left from Santa Clarita, hitting the 5/210/2. The drive was uneventful except for the usual suicidal cyclists heading up the crest. Don’t get me started on those clowns.
Anyways I arrived at Vista Day use area to find to peace and quiet. Perfect. I started this hike knowing that there is a trade off from going up the lift way and that trade off is distance for how steep the climb is. I will admit I stopped a number of times to stretch my calves.
Vista Day Use
The views are amazing here. About halfway you are treated to a bench with a nice view of the mountains afar. Then once you get to the top they are even more amazing.
Naturally I set up the 2m J-pole on a tree branch and looked to spot myself. No cell service to be had. And as much as I tried APRS wasn’t getting a spot out. I called and called but nothing. Guess it was too early, not sure. I wasn’t going to bother setting up the HF with the sun acting the way it was today.
So with that disappointment it hit me. I have had too many summits like this, waste of gas, energy and time. With that said I am bowing out of activating. It’s lost its fun. So with that good luck to you all in your SOTA adventures and may they be better than my dismal last activation. 73
Location: Southern California (Sierra Pelona Mountains)
Cell Reception: Verizon
Hike Time: 1hr (estimated)
Trail Type: Forest Road, Lots of down hill and up hill. Don’t do this one on a hot day.
Temp Start 75F
Temp End 93F
Elevation profile, there and back
I departed Santa Clarita at about 5am. Headed North on I-5 to Lake Hughes road. Followed that for about 24 miles and hooked a left. Not too long after that on the left is the turnoff.
Adventure Starts Here
For this one you are on Forest road 7N23. It would be great if the gate was open or at least closer to the site, but it’s not so that’s why we hike in. If we must. Maybe I need to get a plasma cutter to help open gates?
It’s been a while so I forgot why I don’t do this hike. For one the elevation drops and then the climb begins. Which wouldn’t be so bad but it is a pretty good climb. Make sure to bring plenty of water/energy bars.
View looking at the summit from the parking lot
Once you finally make it to the summit in what seems like 3 days later. You are greeted with some microwave dishes and at the top some sort of aircraft beacon.
I went to the top and tried to make some contacts on 2m with my tape measure Yagi that I made. But as luck would have it this was too damn cumbersome to make it work. So I went to set up my mast and there was a lot of rock in the ground. This made me move down a bit to the old gate and lash my mast there.
I opted to start on 20m being that is has been somewhat active for other activation’s. What a good choice. Scott came booming in from Granada Hills and the rest followed.
There were a few that were tough to pull out due to the band going up and down but we got all… I think.
It was already getting hot (80 degrees F) so I wasn’t sure that I was going to setup for 40, but being that I don’t like to let those guys down cause god knows they have been there for me I setup.
I had three takers. For me this was enough as I think the temp rose another 5 degrees. I was in haul ass mode during the tear down.
One thing I always do is bring a lot of water, and a Gatorade. Sure it’s heavy but you never know. Well today was once of those days.
Going downhill wasn’t so bad but after mile 1 I was wiped. The temps were in the 90’s now and I wasn’t feeling so good. I pressed on and took every damn shade break that I could. I think that and my water is what save my butt.
It really wouldn’t be so bad if you didn’t have such big hills to climb on the way out.
After I got to the car I had a vacuum sealed thermos with ice water. That hit the spot.
It’s amazing how you bring something you think might be useless and it saves you.
Thank you chasers. Without you I would just be some idiot on a summit.
Well originally I was going to activate W6/CT-158 4020 which is real close to Camp 9 Fire Station. Little did I know the jerks with the county closed off the road. Can we have anything?!?
Trying to beat the heat as we have been well over 100 the past few days I opted for Grass Mountain. It was across a couple of valleys and only took another 45 minutes to get to.
The drive up to the summit of Grass Mountain was good, however the road is starting to see some erosion from the rains we had this year. While this is a drive up summit I made sure to park down the road and hoof it a bit… not too far though, where’s the fun in that? Setup was easy as I found the same dying/dead tree I used the last time. It has a perfect nook where you can set your Jackite and lash it too the branch. Wind wasn’t bad either, and the partly cloudy skies where a dream.
I always struggle with what band I am going to start with. Mainly because of propagation and what not. Usually I start with 40 meters, but this time I tried 20 meters first. Holy cow was it a pileup! I think I had 10 contacts all in a row on 20m. 40m not so much, only 2. Usually 40m is my goldmine.
Once I finished I had some coffee and packed things up. Did I mention there where little flies buzzing about everywhere? Drove me nuts!
As always thank you for reading and I will see you on the bands.
Wow! It has been a while since I wrote here. That would be due to I took the winter off from SOTA to rest my knee. There were a couple of attempts at different summits which turned into me turning back before making the summit.
Up We Go!
So today would be the start of my SOTA season. With temps in the upper 90’s here in the valleys it was a perfect time to go and bask in some 70 degree weather.
This is actually one of my favorite summits. It has great views, plenty of room when you pass people and zero goat trails. (I hate heights) I know odd.
The climb isn’t too bad either. Some summits you get wiped out halfway up. This one though has a nice gradual climb and plenty of switchbacks to keep you dizzy.
I followed my GPS all the way. The last time I got a little lost. Now though if you just follow the signs you will be fine. The trail is clearly marked as well.
What a view!
I was pushing hard on this one as I had to finish early to get to the theater to meet my family. So needless to say I was relieved when I summit-ed and setup shop.
Let’s do this!
I put in my spot to APRS, and it took a while. Mostly cause I kept screwing up the formatting of my spot. Once that went through I got 5 local contacts on 146.520 FM. Feeling lucky I thought I would see what propagation was doing on 40 meters.
I put out my spot, fire up the 40 watt amp and… NOTHING. There were other stations about the band but nobody was coming back to me. I did hear a faint one, but he or she was so faint it was impossible.
The summit W6/CT-012
So with time running short I packed up in a hurry and hauled butt down the mountain. Thank you chasers! 73
Normally I wouldn’t attempt a summit unless I knew the weather was decent. But there are time when you get a break in the rain and have to say the hell with it. Thus, my activation of Sierra Pelona.
The drive needless to say was filled with fog and low visibility. I took the way Hal N6JZT had told me about, where you don’t have to walk the 3 miles to the summit. I pretty much could have driven to the summit but I stuck with the rules and hiked about a quarter mile. Most of this was me aimlessly wandering around the brush trying to find a high enough bush to block the wind.
Camping- Inverted V
While this didn’t happen I ended up erecting my one man tent. This sucker saved me once before from the rain, and now it would do it for the fog and drizzle. Did I mention that there were patches of snow everywhere? Yeah, cold. But I had my fingertip-less gloves and my Zippo hand warmer so this made life better.
Forty meters seemed pretty damn noisy for my liking. All that crap skip from overseas. I did manage to find a spot on 7.288 though.
So all cozy in my tent I started calling CQ… it only took two calls and I was picked up. Oh did I mention there is LTE up on this mountain? Yeah, that makes for a better activation.
All in all I only got 4 contacts. I didn’t have the patience to keep calling because it was chilly.
So I setup the inverted V for 20 meters. This would pose the be a waste of time as the band was pretty much dead, and so was 17 meters. So I packed up the radio, tent and dipole.
Once I was done I used my backpacking stove to boil some water and make coffee. It really hit the spot with my cliff bar.
Before I went I was treated with a beautiful view of the snow dusted San Gabriel Mountains. Then on the drive down I wish I was dark again because there were a lot of steep drop offs.
I had been wanting to do an activation for a while now. Two months to be exact. I was a little rusty because I had some car trouble recently, transmission, engine and another transmission rebuild. Needless to say that car is gone and I have a reliable vehicle again. My trusty Rav4.
Being that it had been a while I opted to do Jupiter due to its length and the fact there is cell/data access. I didn’t want to fiddle with APRS today. I was supposed to connect with Hal N6JZT once I got to the summit and I tried but got nothing. Perhaps the antenna on my HT wasn’t enough.
The hike was pretty uneventful. The trail was a mess in some places due to the rain making a trough in the middle of the trail. I did mange to see a few bear prints in the dirt. They were about as wide as my foot. It looked better in person. The 3-D aspect just isn’t there in the photo.
Bear Paw Print – The picture doesn’t do it justice
One thing that pissed me off was the fact that a motorcycle rider had taken it upon himself to ride the trail. This wasn’t so bad in the lower portion but the higher ascent was somewhat beat up. This is the section where you have to do some scrambling. This really made me tire and coming back down almost killed me. If if hadn’t been for my trekking poles I would have went down for sure.
The summit itself was probably about 45 degrees. Then the wind was pretty strong so it made erecting the inverted V fun.
Opted to setup on 40 being that I didn’t know what band conditions were. I mean I know they have been less than favorable. 40 though seemed the logical choice.
I setup on 7.285, where I proceeded to get 14 contacts including 2 summits on the air from KB9ENS and KC7MSU. I actually had a noise floor which I have never had here. Must have been the conditions.
This noise floor made it hard to pull out some of the call. If that was you I appreciate your patience and hanging in there.
Well, into the pileup another SOTA activator took it upon himself to hijacked my frequency. Thank Lid. I was pretty disgusted by this point and shut the radio off and packed things up. 20 would have been nice to try but I was too pissed to reconfigure.
On the plus side I was impressed with what 5 watts will do under crappy conditions. I mean I hit Washington, Arizona, NorCal, and Utah. Talk about amazing! And to top it off I was getting mostly good signal reports.
Overall I must say it was a good activation, minus the lid.
To say I needed to activate something would be an understatement. I had recently sold a rig so I could get a Biennopower battery and a new antenna, among other things.
The antenna you might ask would be an LNR Precision Trail Friendly End Fed. And the Battery is a hell of a lot lighter than the gel cell I was lugging up peaks. It really made for a better hike. My knee wasn’t bothering me, so that’s a plus.
When you head up to Mt. Pinos you come to the Nordic Ski Area. In the winter this place is pack with people sledding, cross country skiing and just playing with the snow.
Start of the hike
The trail has some ups and downs but nothing too bad, and only one switchback. There is even a couple of places where it opens to a meadow which is a nice change of scenery.
The second meadow looking towards the target
It was about 1pm Pacific time when I reach the summit. I found the markers and proceeded to setup. The First issue I had was there really weren’t any tall trees on the summit. I made due with a pine and got my line up about 30 feet. Then I hopped on some rocks and draped the end over a rock. At this point the antenna was pretty much horizontal.
It’s too bad you can’t see the wire… it’s pretty thin.
The rock where the feed point is.
Once I was setup I checked the SWR on the antenna. 40 was too high, 20 and 10 were well within operating ranges. With that I setup on 20 meters and started calling. Let it be know that cell coverage here on Verizon is weak. Sometimes you have data sometimes you don’t. APRS didn’t seem much good either.
Great views of the Central Valley
This was one of the hardest activations I have done. Sure I didn’t have my amp to aid me. But I would think that 5w and a wire on a mountain should suffice. Anyway I tried 20, 40, and then 20 again. This led to some chasing me in the real sense. I did manage to get a S2S with Roland KG7FOP. He popped out of nowhere and I was grateful for that one. Actually I am always grateful for each one of my contacts, especially when you have a day where it’s like pulling teeth.
All-in-all I’m not sure what the hell went on. I think it had to do with the antenna being horizontal. Maybe Propagation…