SOTA Activation of Stonewall Peak – W6/SC-029, March 25, 2014

Stonewall Peak is a nice and very scenic hike. The trailhead to the summit starts across the street from the parking area at the Paso Picacho picnic area and campground.


On the way from Orange county we got caught in the San Diego morning rush hour and crawled along the freeways towards the Cuyamaca Rancho State Park.

The hike to the summit offers great views of Lake Cuyamaca and the surrounding valleys and peaks. The trail switchbacks to the peak with a great summit area as a reward.


Trail starts opposite the picnic area


Local wildlife ?


Trail with Stonewall Peak


View of Lake Cuyamaca


On the trail


Close to the summit


 Stonewall Peak summit


 View from summit


Final approach to the peak


Antenna setup


Operating site


Encountered wildlife

During the activation I had technical problems with the audio and antenna setup and had to share  Bob’s (KB6CIO) radio for my last contacts. The highlight was a DX contact with French Polynesia (Tahiti) from the summit with 5W QRP and the San Andres Islands in the Caribbean.

QSOs from Stonewall Peak:

Date:25/Feb/2014   Summit:W6/SC-029 (Stonewall Peak)

Time Call Band Mode Notes
19:00z W0MNA 14MHz SSB 14.347 MHz
19:01z W0ERI 14MHz SSB
19:09z NS7P 14MHz SSB
19:12z KD7WRM 14MHz SSB
19:13z WB5USB 14MHz SSB
19:14z W7CNL 14MHz SSB
19:15z K6EL 14MHz SSB
19:16z AE9F 14MHz SSB
19:16z K7JQV 14MHz SSB
19:17z N7WM 14MHz SSB
20:13z HK0/UA4WHX 21MHz SSB 21.290 MHz DX – San Andres Islands
20:16z FO4BM 28MHz SSB 28.520 MHz – DX French Polynesia

Thank you to all chasers see you on the next summit.


Martin (WN6E)


SOTA Activation of Frankish Peak – W6/CT-151, March 21, 2014

Frankish Peak was on my wish list for an activation for a long time. It poses several challenges a relatively remote location even it is close to Upland and San Antonio Heights, CA. The access through the Cucamonga Valley is not possible at the moment, so the only two options are the direct uphill approach from North Mountain Ave. in San Antonio Heights or via the Barrett Stoddard Truck Trail off the Mount Baldy Rd. which is a substantially longer hike.

So I choose the route starting from North Mountain Ave. It is an extreme steep approach and at some points climbing is required (between the marker Tough Ridge and Start of Tough Ridge as shown on the attached trail recording).


The hike is a constant steep uphill with only few breaks from steep inclinations. A good workout is guaranteed and you basically have to follow animal trails and do bushwhacking up to the summit. The only exception from bushwhacking is on some short stretches of fire road.

Between the two marked locations “Tough Ridge” the ridge trail has nearly vertical cliffs on both sides and some climbing is required.


Trailhead on left side of yellow gate


Uphill you go

During the whole hike and activation I was in the clouds with only a few sunny breaks.


Morning clouds


Along the trail


More along the trail


Approaching “Tough Ridge” climbing section in the clouds


Above the clouds




Antenna setup


Operating site


On the way down

Thank you very much to all the contacts and especially Bob (KB6CIO) who spotted me during the activation.

Contacts from the summit:

Date: 21/Mar/2014    Summit:W6/CT-151 (Frankish Peak)

Time Call Band Mode Notes
16:20z N6CCW 144MHz FM
16:22z KK6EHQ 144MHz FM
16:53z KC7DM 14MHz SSB 14.347 MHz
16:58z AE5QB 14MHz SSB
16:59z KA5PVB 14MHz SSB
16:59z NS7P 14MHz SSB
17:00z KF7JQV 14MHz SSB
17:01z WB5USB 14MHz SSB
17:02z W7CNL 14MHz SSB
17:04z K0YO 14MHz SSB
17:05z K7NEW 14MHz SSB
17:11z KB6CIO 144MHz FM
17:18z W4MPS 24MHz SSB 24.965 MHz
17:19z EA2LU 24MHz SSB DX Spain
17:20z W0MNA/M 24MHz SSB
17:21z W0ERI/M 24MHz SSB
17:24z WI2W 24MHz SSB
17:35z G4OBK 24MHz SSB DX England
17:36z AA7DK 7MHz SSB 7.190 MHz
17:38z N7AMA 7MHz SSB
17:44z SV2CXI 24MHz SSB DX Greece, 24.973 MHz
18:04z N0EVH 21MHz SSB 21.330 MHz

Thanks for the QSOs 73 and see you on the next summit,


SOTA Activation of San Gabriel Peak – W6/CT-019, March 17, 2014

San Gabriel Peak was the summit for today’s activation and it turned out to be a gorgeous hike with absolute splendid sights. Due to severe traffic on the Los Angeles freeways the activation schedule (even there is no strict schedule, sometimes its more wishful thinking than reality, traffic, trail conditions, technical problems, weather etc.) became obsolete and we arrived on the summit much later than anticipated.


Trailhead off Mount Wilson Road

The hike to the summit is absolutely worth the effort and even if you are not into SOTA activations its highly recommended.


Inside Mueller Tunnel on the way to the summit


On the trail


Still on the trail


Mount Disapointment from the trail


View from the summit


Set up procedure


Summit marker

During the set up operation I realized that I forgot my coax cable – wow end of operation before it even started? Lucky that Bob (KB6CIO) had a spare coax which I could use so the activation could proceed. Propagation was not really good and our late start didn’t improve the situation. Nevertheless thanks to the SOTA chasers we made some nice contacts and had a great time on the summit.

Thank you to all the chasers and contacts:

Date: 17/Mar/2014  Summit:W6/CT-019 (San Gabriel Peak)

Time Call Band Mode Notes
18:34z K6CMG 144MHz FM
18:42z W7CNL 14MHz SSB 14,347 MHz
18:42z W0MNA 14MHz SSB
18:43z W0ERI 14MHz SSB
18:46z K9ZMD 14MHz SSB
18:47z KA5PVB 14MHz SSB
18:49z AJ5C 14MHz SSB
18:56z NS7P 14MHz SSB
19:00z KN6CCW 144MHz FM
19:06z K6TUY 24MHz SSB 24,980 MHz
19:40z W1AW/8 24MHz SSB 24,560 MHz
19:46z N4EX 24MHz SSB 24,980 MHz
19:47z W0MNA 24MHz SSB
19:48z WI2W 24MHz SSB

73 and see you on the next summit,

WN6E – Martin

SOTA Activation of Niguel Hill, CA – W6/SC-371, March 10, 2014

The activation of Niguel Hill together with K6KWI (Neil) and KB6CIO (Bob) made it necessary that we split the bands we would be using for the activation.

So I choose the 12m band and used it during the activation this morning. The summit is easy to find just drive until the end of Talavera Drive in Laguna Niguel, CA and use the trail close to the entrance of the summit community. There is plenty of shade and nice picknic tables to set up your operation.

The views from the summit are just gorgeous with the Pacific Ocean to the West and snow-covered mountains towards the East.

IMG_1881Operating site

IMG_1882Dipole and the Pacific Ocean

IMG_1890Sailing or radio? Tough question on such a great day

IMG_1887Inland view with snow-covered peaks

The band conditions were excellent and allowed for some interesting DX from Niguel Hill.

Thanks for the QSO to all stations and 73, WN6E :

Date:10/Mar/2014  Summit:W6/SC-371 (Niguel Hill):

Time Call Band Mode Notes
16:08z W0MNA 24MHz SSB 24,960 MHz
16:10z RA4CC 24MHz SSB 24,985 MHz – DX European Russia
16:17z K7NEW 24MHz SSB 24,755 MHz
16:24z K6KWI 21MHz SSB 21,285 MHz
16:27z NA6MG 24MHz SSB 24,957 MHz – S2S W6/CT-230 San Juan Hill
16:59z AD5A 24MHz SSB 24,980 MHz
16:59z AE4FZ 24MHz SSB
17:00z K0LAF 24MHz SSB
17:01z OH9XX 24MHz SSB DX Finland
17:03z KF4MH 24MHz SSB
17:04z DJ5AV 24MHz SSB DX Germany
17:04z HB9MKV 24MHz SSB DX Switzerland
17:04z N7UN 24MHz SSB
17:34z HA5AGS 24MHz SSB 24,9305 MHz – DX Hungary
17:46z IK5ZWU 24MHz SSB 24,940 MHz – DX Italy

SOTA Activation of Hoyt Mnt. – W6/CT-146, March 8, 2014

The Hoyt Mnt. hike starts right next to the parking lot at mile marker 32.82 on the Los Angeles Crest Highway 2. It’s not along hike but an extremely steep one. The elevation gain is substantial right from the start and until you reach the first stone cairn you had an extreme good workout.  Hoyt is the one behind this marked summit and has its own cairn.

hoyt_routeRoute to Hoyt Mountain

IMG_1852Highway 2 parking lot

IMG_1853Landmark plaque at parking lot and trail head

IMG_1854First summit before Hoyt

IMG_1857First cairn

IMG_1858Hoyt Mountain from first cairn

IMG_1855View to Los Angeles

IMG_1871Summit Hoyt Mountain

IMG_1866Operating site

IMG_1868Antenna setup

Until the second cairn on Hoyt there is some kind of faint trail to the summit plateau you have to bushwhack. On the summit were extremely windy conditions and I lost my notes during setup “gone with the wind”. So I started the activation without knowing the exact summit designation (who can keep these cryptic designators in mind – I don’t). The band conditions were very good and the problem with the designator was solved with my second contact KB6CIO (Bob) mobile on the highways of Orange County. He gave me the designator and spotted me thanks a lot Bob.

Hoyt Mountain is a very nice summit really worth the hike – even its a very challenging hike to the top, not to mention the descent.

Thanks to the following contacts from Hoyt Mountain:

Date:08/Mar/2014  Summit:W6/CT-146 (Hoyt Mtn.)

Time Call Band Mode Notes
16:51z IK2QPR 24MHz SSB 24,950 MHz – DX Italy
16:57z KB6CIO 14MHz SSB 14,347 MHz
17:09z K6TUY 14MHz SSB
17:10z K5WI 14MHz SSB
17:11z K8TE 14MHz SSB
17:11z NS7P 14MHz SSB
17:11z AJ5C 14MHz SSB
17:14z KA5PVB 14MHz SSB
17:15z K7NEW 14MHz SSB
17:15z W7CNL 14MHz SSB
17:16z AI0Q 14MHz SSB
17:19z AD1C 14MHz SSB
17:20z AE4FZ 14MHz SSB
17:21z WA2USA 14MHz SSB
17:24z N3JXB 24MHz SSB 24,960 MHz
17:25z EA2LU 24MHz SSB DX Spain
17:26z N1EU 24MHz SSB
17:31z KB6CIO 24MHz SSB 24,975 MHz
17:32z N7UN 24MHz SSB
17:32z AA1VX 24MHz SSB
17:33z VE7AM 24MHz SSB
17:33z AE4FZ 24MHz SSB

IMG_1874Los Angeles from the summit

IMG_1877Descent from the Hoyt cairn



SOTA Activation of Cerro Negro Benchmark – W6/CT-226, March 7, 2014

The summit was chosen due to the easy access and the short hike in order to do some antenna testing. During the recent activations technical problems with the antenna tuner and the general weight and size of the antenna were not satisfactory or have been proven to be impractical on long hikes. So a new light and flexible SOTA antenna was built, tested and compared with the equipment used so far.

After this activation and the testing conducted I will stick to the new lightweight antenna design for my SOTA activities.

Cerro Negro Benchmark is located in La Cañada Flintridge close to Los Angeles. Parking is possible at the intersection of Flintridge Dr. and Camino San Rafael. From here just follow the fire road up to the summit.


Route to summit


Park around here


Fire road to summit


Summit marker




New antenna a simple dipole


Deployed antenna on fishing pole


View from the summit


City and helicopter


KB6CIO (Bob) at the operating site


WN6E (Martin) working the 12m band

Propagation was good this morning and we made quite a few contacts especially on the 12m band which allowed contacts with Germany, Spain and England. Its always nice to work a DX station from a summit but four  in a row that’s a first one for me.

WN6E activation contacts:

Date:07/Mar/2014  Summit:W6/CT-226 (Cerro Negro Benchmark)

Time Call Band Mode Notes
16:39z N6JZT 144MHz FM Summit to summit W6/CT-034
17:02z N6MKW 144MHz FM Summit to summit W6/CT-170
17:16z AA7DK 14MHz SSB 14,347 MHz
17:23z K7NEW 14MHz SSB
17:24z NS7P 14MHz SSB
17:25z NA6MG 14MHz SSB
17:25z KF7JQV 14MHz SSB
17:26z K6TUY 14MHz SSB
17:26z WA2USA 14MHz SSB
17:28z W0MNA 14MHz SSB
17:28z W0ERI 14MHz SSB
17:28z W7CNL 14MHz SSB
17:30z K8TE 14MHz SSB
17:31z AJ5C 14MHz SSB
17:44z VE7KBN 14MHz SSB
17:59z N4EX 24MHz SSB 24,960 MHz
18:00z K6CMG 24MHz SSB
18:01z DL1BWU 24MHz SSB DX Germany
18:02z EA2LU 24MHz SSB DX Spain
18:02z WI2W 24MHz SSB
18:04z AE4FZ 24MHz SSB
18:06z G6TUH 24MHz SSB DX England
18:12z DJ5AV 24MHz SSB DX Germany
18:14z KG3W 24MHz SSB

Thanks to all the contacts

73, WN6E (Martin)