Page 2 of 5

Summits on the Air W6/CT-004 Mt. Baden Powell

Mt. Baden Powell

After a couple failed activations elsewhere I wanted to do one that would be sure to prove successful. So I decided to activate Mt. Baden Powell in the San Gabriel’s. Having never climbed this monster and honestly wasn’t sure that I was going to make it. Also, I am still dealing with a weight issue of my pack.

I parked in the parking lot where Vincent Gap is. This seemed to be to most logical place to tackle this beast.

The Beginning

The Beginning

Starting out wasn’t too bad. The 4mi was daunting and there were points where I wanted to turn around because I was wondering if my knee would bother me going down.

The long trek

The long trek

There are plenty of switchbacks to be had, 42 in all I believe.

The Bench

The Bench

Lamel Springs

Lamel Springs

Once you get towards the top and the switchbacks get tighter they also get rockier and steeper.

Almost There

There is a narrow ridge towards the top. Once you hit this you are within a quarter mile.

Ridge

Ridge

On the way you pass a tree that is an estimated 1,500 years old.

Old Tree

Old Tree

Finally made it to the top. I got to see the monument and was surprised how big it was compared to pictures.

Summit

Summit

I found a nice log which was perfect to lash the jackite to and act as a nice table for my operation.

Do Work

Do Work

Activation

I operated on 20 meters, 40 meters and 2 meters. I scored on all of them getting 12 contacts. Thanks to Hal N6JZT who spotted me on 2 meters. There was a VHF contest in the works so it wasn’t happening. I was happy with the amount of contacts though and was also busy educating passer by’s on what I was doing. And the weather was amazing. Although being that I have a fear of heights I wasn’t too thrilled with the shear drop offs that this hike afforded me.

Verizon was good up here, just barely.

The Jackite

The Jackite being taken down

After the operation and packing things up I headed down. My knee bothered me as much as my last hike. Not good. Time to have the doctor take a look. The hike down was slow but I eventually made it. When I did get down the forest service was putting tickets on cars like crazy! I didn’t get one because I had my pass though. 😉

Thank you Chasers!

Thank you Chasers!

Time to pack it up

Time to pack it up

Summits on the Air W6/SC-002 San Emigdio Mountain

Hopes High in Los Padres National Forest

Let me start off with the fact that San Emigdio Mountain is a pretty cool place to play radio. That is if you don’t need internet, or APRS. I say that because I had neither. Which makes for a tough activation. Put it this way, after calling for half an hour I got one contact. And he was gone so fast I couldn’t ask him to spot. So there I was, bouncing from 20m to 40m and 2m.

Looking back at the car from the trail

Looking back at the car from the trail

San Emigdio Mountain you Bastard

One thing I will say for this place. The noise level is low, I only saw one other truck and they were just passing by. The hike is about half a mile round trip. Believe me though that half a mile is not worth the frustration of trying to activate this God forsaken rock. (unless you know CW, then you get spotted automatically I believe)

Hey! Where's the bears?

Hey! Where’s the bears?

This is two weeks in a row I have had an unsuccessful activation. First it was Jupiter Mountain and now this. I will say I tried like crazy to get an APRS spot out. I even rigged my Dr. Ed Fong J-pole to work with my APRS radio. Weird. That’s all I can say.

Carin/Summit

Carin/Summit

So when I think about these two mountains all I can dwell on is that there’s 10 points I could have had. Ugh! Well I think the next one will be Baden-Powell. Granted it’s a heck of a hike from what I have heard, but 8 points is 8 points.

My forest desk

My forest desk

20160827_074723

My baby... 20/40m dipole which I run as an inverted "V"

My baby… 20/40m dipole which I run as an inverted “V” (SotaBeams)

 

Thank you to WB0KIU!

Thank you to WB0KIU!

Summits on the Air W6/CT-140 Jupiter Mountain

Jupiter Mountain

You know there is something cool about telling people you are going to hike Jupiter Mountain. It has a certain element of intrigue. I guess that is why I set off when it was 99 degrees outside. With a 40 minute drive the temp could drop a bit though.

And drop did it! By time I arrived to Spunky Canyon Road where the trailhead is I was pumped because we were sitting at 91 degrees. Fantastic.

This would still be the hottest hike I have ever taken on. But hell with a 2 liter camel back filled with ice water and a supply of 3 cliff bars why not?

When I arrived everything was just as it was a year ago. A barbed wire fence twisted on the ground, a old water tank with some graffiti and two ways to go… right and left. I opted for right as left takes you up a a really steep route which I find distasteful and a hell of a climb. (I actually tried it last year and turned back 3/4 of the way up)

The Start

The Start

The Hike

In the image above I took the road to the right. This wraps around to the South and you meet up with the actual trail. I couldn’t remember where the actual trailhead started and stumbled on this one by pure accident.

Green Valley Community

Green Valley Community – It is Green, I’ll give it that

There is sporadic foliage on the trail offering minimal shade. This is one reason I tried this mountain in the evening because I was on the shaded side.

Grass Mountain

Grass Mountain – Last week’s activation

It’s a fairly easy hike and I kept pushin’ until I came to the saddle when it hit me. There was a steep climb to get to the summit. Not too long, but enough to make me doubt myself. I mean who wants to fall down a mountain?

 

The Steep Climb at the Saddle

The Steep Climb at the Saddle

So I hobbled my butt up the steep incline where I was looking forward to sitting down. Little did I know some asshole had decided to torch part of the bench that is there. What the hell is wrong with people?

Summit

Summit

Where's the Respect?

Where’s the Respect?

The Activation

After I cooled off I strapped my Jackite pole to the bench and started erecting my inverted “V”. It was a bit windy so that made things a bit rough. I also remedied my power problem with my battery from the last activation. No not a new battery, just a new fuse. This allowed my to fire up my amp. It was needed due to band conditions.

20160820_181400

Jackite and Inverted”V” (yes the bench seems to be anchored somehow)

Speaking of band conditions they sounded decent on 40 meters. Because there was a contest going on. I’m not sure if it was because my spot was so late in the day (yes Verizon works here) or if the contest was fouling things up. I called and called, 40 then 20 then back to 40. I had one contact. Seriously? Ugh! I don’t mind contests, I think they’re kin of fun. But do you have to take the whole band? Where’s the SOTA love!?!

Radio Shot

Radio Shot

Wrap it up

It was that time where sun was dropping and it was dropping quick. I had a headlamp on me but didn’t want to hike most the trail in the dark. Did I mention I saw mountain lion prints all the way up? Yeah a bit nerve racking.

Sun going down

Sun going down

As a last resort I busted out the trusty homemade Ed Fong Antenna. I didn’t think I would get anyone up here being so far north. Low and behold I got one contact from the San Fernando Valley. Pretty impressive because he was full quieting.  No more contacts though.

Panorama - Click for full

Panorama – Click for full

Bouquet Res.

Bouquet Res.

By this time I was bummed. I needed more daylight. I guess I learned something. Don’t activate a summit unless you are either going to camp there or hoof it down in the dark.

Night night

Night night

All in all the hike down was good. I beat darkness except for the last half a mile. It’s a good thing I had spare flashlight batteries as mine were dead. Talk about panic mode. The round trip mileage was about 3.25mi. Pretty short. I may have to tackle this in the winter. I like this peak and it wouldn’t be the first time I had to “re-activate” a summit.

Thanks fellas

Thanks fellas

73, and thank you for taking the time to read my blog and watch my video. -WC6Q Ryan

Summits on the Air W6/SC-001 Cerro Noroeste

The Trip

This morning for Summits on the Air I really wanted to set out to Cerro Noroeste to not only activate it but check out the campsites that are in the vicinity. The drive was only about an hour and a half from Santa Clarita, CA.  Once I got there I polished off my coffee and checked for a cell signal. Voice and Data on Verizon; good to go. Still though I brought my APRS radio just in case I got to the spot and had no service.

Sunrise

Sunrise

I parked past the old ski hut/cabin in the big asphalt area just before you hit the campgrounds. This allowed me to walk along the road to the left (with the wrong way sign). Once I got parallel with the zone for the summit I cut in through the trees. There was a fallen tree that had caught my eye which I thought would be good to lash my Jackite to.

Tied down

Tied down

This posed an issue though as one side of the inverted “V” was catching on some tree branches thus making it closer to the pole than I liked. Never having been in this situation I left it and figured I would see if there’s any issues. (in the end there wasn’t that I could tell)

Inverted V

Inverted V

The Activation

Once I setup I realized there was something wrong when my amp wouldn’t come on. I assumed it was the battery, later I would discover the fuse had blown. With no spares to be had I was in full QRP mode. 2.5 watts was max power that I could dole out. At this point I was worried.

IMG_20160813_064715

The first contact came fairly quick. I can alway count on W0MNA in Kansas. Hmmm Kansas on 2.5 watts with a 57 report. Nice! Then there was silence. For 10 minutes I called but no takers. Then I switched to 40 meters where I was greeted by W7RV, who is also always there. So that was two! Two to go!

I called some more, and some more. I switched to two meters to see if I could raise any locals. No good. Some 45 minutes later I got back on 40. 3 more contacts! It’s like everyone was sleeping in.

With that I packed it up as my battery was getting low and the bees wanted me out of there. Just a side note. It was .25mi from the car and back.

Thank you Chasers!

Thank you Chasers!

My Sotabeams antenna!

My Sotabeams antenna!

SOTA W6/CT-005 Throop Peak

The Hike
Trailhead

Trailhead

Today I decided to do a longer hike as I hadn’t done one in a while. Longer hikes tend to kick my butt on the way down due to a knee injury courtesy of the Navy.

Nature, gotta love it!

I believe that’s Throop in the distance

Cool tree cameo

Cool tree cameo

I had my GPS with me like I always do. You’re thinking “it’s a trail, how lost could you get?” Well trust me if there’s a way to get lost I will find it. I followed the trail and kept following not paying attention to my gps. Before I knew it I came to a junction which didn’t seem right. I missed a turn somewhere.

The point where I realized I missed a turn

The point where I realized I missed a turn

At this point I hooked a right and came to another junction; you’ll want to turn right here at the rocks as well.

Turn Right

Turn Right

After winding my way up I finally made it. There was another couple there and we started talking ham radio. The gentlemen was telling me how he would listen to shortwave and get QSL’s from Hams when he was a kid. He mentioned that he thought about getting his license now that there was no code on the test. I told him he should, because it’s not only good for safety but a lot of fun. Hopefully I nabbed a new ham.

Throop Peak

Throop Peak

I had to move down a bit to one of the trees as there isn’t much to support the jackite. This was fine as I would be out of the way of any hikers.

View from the operating position

View looking South

The Activation

As with any peak in the San Gabriel’s I started with 146.520 FM. Oh I also had to APRS spot myself due to the lack of cell reception. Picking up 5 contacts seemed to come pretty quick. There was even on down in San Diego. It amazes me what my homemade Dr. Ed Fong J-Pole will do.

What a mess

What a mess

I setup an inverted-V to work some 20 meters. Sadly there wasn’t a sole to be had on this band. Even with putting out a spot. Feeling deflated I wrapped things up. Sure I could have tried 40 meters but I figured it was a successful activation and it was starting to get warm.

The hike down was rough as I took the way I was supposed to come up. The trail is barely visible in some areas leaving me guessing. Eventually I made it back to the fork where it joins up with the main trail. Then with my messed up knee I hobbled my way back down to the car. I think the total hike mileage was 4.27 miles. Not bad but it seemed a lot longer.

On my way out I saw Mt. Lewis which I would have loved to do but with it’s reputation for not being kind to FM activations and propagation being what it was I opted to sail on by.

20160730_080942

Summits on the Air W6/CT-130 Grass Mountain

The Trip

Started out at around 0430 for Grass Mountain. I was excited to do this mountain due to it was my first SOTA peak I did when I started a little over a year ago. This one is fairly close to my house so the drive was only about 40 minutes. When I got there O parked down the road a ways. You could drive up to this one but that would be breaking the rules.

Morning Sunrise

Morning Sunrise

The smoke from the Sand fire was quite prominent looking South towards it.

Smoky Valleys

Smoky Valleys

The Activation

The wind was crazy up on the mountain! I have to lash the Jackite using a tree, tie-down strap and bungy cord. Although this setup worked and it didn’t fall once the Sotabeams dipole was blowing all over.

The Setup

The Setup

I was bound and determined to makes things work today. Being that I haven’t activated in over a month which was giving me SOTA withdrawals. There was a found a log which I could set the radio on. The first band I tried was 40 meters. I called for about 15 minutes but no joy.

Setup

Setup

Then it was onto 20 meters. Propagation must have been good because the band was quite busy. Although things were busy it took me a good half an hour to get 5 contacts. Between the wind and the lack of chasers I decided to call it quits. The first time I activated this mountain the weather was  calm. This place holds a special spot in my heart as it was my first Summits on the Air activation. It gave me a taste on how fun this stuff really is. I have a condo with HOA and had never heard such clear signals until I went atop Grass Mountain.

A tower on the mountain

A tower on the mountain

Looking South

Looking South

20160724_061454

Thank You Chasers

Thank You Chasers

Summits on the Air W6/CC-005 Reyes Peak (Failed Activation)

The Journey

Well today is ARRL Field Day. Something I have no desire taking part in as every time I do a SOTA activation it really is like a field day when you think of it. Enough of that though.

I got up at 4am, and hit the road with coffee in hand and headed up the 5 to Frazier park. Then I followed the main road until I hit Lockwood Valley road which connected me up to Highway 33. Then I headed south.

There is a turnoff for Pine Mountain on the left. It shows the elevation. That’s the road you want. It’s one lane paved so take it easy. There are turnouts for cars to pass etc…

You will pass some campgrounds and then the road turns to dirt. Just follow till you come to a turnaround and vault toilet. That’s the beginning of the trail.

First Sign you're in the right placeFirst Sign you're in the right place

First Sign you’re in the right place

The path I had in my GPS was way off. The trail is obvious and will take you right to Reyes Peak. Also instead of being 2 miles it is 1.12mi. Outstanding!

The ocean is there somewhere

The ocean is there somewhere

This is one of the coolest yet most frustrating peaks I have been too. I was going to setup below the rocks so the dirt/guys would be better spaced out. However the dirt was so damn soft my stakes were not having any of that.

Next I climbed back on the rocks, which is no easy feat with a pack. Up there are some bolts sticking out of the rocks. Most are bent but one is in a perfect spot. So I figured I would setup my jackite there. Figure wrong. The tie down strap broke on me. And lastley I thought I would try 2m. Well no such luck there. I guess they don’t monitor in Ventura.

20160625_072347

Here you can see the bolts.

I’m not sure there’s a worse feeling than summiting and not activating. What a bummer.

20160625_072451

20160625_064245

FYI: When you come to the fork go right to Reyes Peak. Left takes you other places

Summits on the Air W6/CT-247 Mt. Williamson

Starting Out

I arrived at the trailhead for Williamson at about 7am. As usual I had hoped to get an earlier start but the snooze button was too tempting. For energy had a Gatorade and Cliff bar to give me some energy for what I felt would be a steep trek.

The Trail

The Trail

I did manage to see a handful of PCTers as they passed me. Perhaps if I wasn’t like a turtle… slow and steady.

This hike provided some amazing views of Mt. Islip, the valley looking West and a somewhat cool view of Lancaster, CA.

Mt Islip in the distance

Mt Islip in the distance

Going up!

Going up!

Amazing

Amazing view from just below Mt. Williamson’s Summit

The Activation

I wish I could say this activation went smoothly but I think the only good thing about it was I actually made 6 contacts. To start Hal (N6JZT) noticed I spotted 144, instead of 146. Then I guess the summit number was changed, Not sure why on that one but I rolled with it.

Switched to the trusty HT

Switched to the trusty HT

The second thing that was a bust is my video didn’t turn out. So no footage there. I think that is one reason I do SOTA. It gives me a subject/topic to film.

On a positive note I hit 100 points. It’s been a year in the making, oh crap at this rate it will take me another 9 years to get mountain goat. Wow!

Standing gave me way better reports... Duh Ryan!

Standing gave me way better reports… Duh Ryan!

As always, thank you chasers and a big thanks to Hal for bailing me out when I was scatter brained. It must have been the altitude or my medication… this we will never know. 😉

Screen Shot 2016-05-30 at 2.00.00 PM

Cell coverage – Yes(Verizon), Data was not that strong though but I was able to get a couple spots out.

 

 

Summits on the Air W6/CT-259 Bald Mountain (1st Activation)

A Change of Plans

Damn. Today was supposed to be an activation of Mt. Pacifico. Mt Pacifico, from what I understand is that there’s a hike-in-only-campground. The plan was to activate in the evening and spend the night.

Well 3 miles into the hike I was done. I had packed to much in my pack which was weighing me down and I knew I wouldn’t make the rest of the trek. So I hightailed it down to the car and set a course for Bald Mountain, which is off of Highway 138 and then Highway N2.

When you first arrive to Bald Mountain you are greeted by some signs… never mind those. Punch it!

Things to ignore

Things to ignore

You follow this road until you come to a fork. Go left and this will take you to bald mountain. I opted to park at the first turnout so I could be within the rules by hiking a bit.

Looking towards communications Towers from the other government site.

Looking towards communications Towers from the other government site.

The area is nothing but grass so I was careful to not leave hot electronics on the ground, but instead set them on a cloth.

Operation

Operation

Other than that it was a smooth operation. Rather peaceful except for the wind.

Government Site - Now this is the real "No Treaspassing"

Government Site – Now this is the real “No Treaspassing”

If you hadn’t noticed there are a bunch of steel poles sticking out of the ground. Jackite heaven!

Antenna Porn

Antenna Shot

Magic Fingers

Magic

Thank you Chasers! Without you I would just be some idiot on a hill talking to myself. Which I do on occasion anyway.

FYI there is Verizon Data here. It’s one bar, but it’s there.

Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 6.55.19 PM

Summits on the Air W6/CT-010 Mt. Islip

Islip Journey

Today I decided I wanted to do a summit that was 8 points. Still trying to get my first hundred has been eluding me. I was easy to pick which one as I had yet to venture far East on the Angeles Crest Highway. One thing to note is that there is no cell reception on Mt. Islip. But the radio coverage rocks.

Islip Saddle

Islip Saddle

The beginning of the trail amounted to a good amount of switchbacks and uphill climbs. The good thing about uphill is you know coming back it’s going to be a bit easier. Unless going down you have weak knees. That’s a whole different subject though.

PCT
PCT

PCT

This trail follows the PCT for a bit, it was neat to see all the die hard thru hikers heading North. I give it to them, there’s no way in hell I could make it. Today’s 7 mile hike kicked my butt. This is because I have a bum knee from the Navy. As a side note, you also pass through Little Jimmy campground which was full of hikers. I mighty stay here one night, that is once I get over my fear of bears.

Bit of Snow

Bit of Snow

An Amazing view

An Amazing view

At the point where I came to the top I was greeted with an amazing view.

Summit in sight

Summit in sight

This is the point where I was passed by a man and four women. How embarrassing!

The rock cabin

The rock cabin

Proof I was at the top

Proof I was at the top

The Activation

I only did 2 meters on this one as the wind was kicking up and there were a good amount of people on the summit. Thank you to all the chasers and those that wanted to have QSOs. You know how SOTA goes.

Screen Shot 2016-05-01 at 7.57.23 PM

Towards Islip Saddle I heard a call for Summits on the Air. He had a really strong signal. We chatted a bit and he was telling me Mt. Lewis was a new mountain added to the SOTA registry. He said there were many more added as well.

Thanks for reading!

73, WC6Q

 

« Older posts Newer posts »

© 2019

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑