First CW contact

After two SOTA contacts using CW well let’s call it more appropriate contact struggles, I had my first real CW conversation.

I answered a CQ call from K5ZU and he came back to me. That triggered a short blanking – I was so surprised to receive an answer.
Nevertheless K5ZU had the patience to endure the QSO with plenty QRS and repeats. Thanks for his patience.

I have still a long way to go and intensify my copy skills.


SOTA Activation of Bertha Peak, CA – W6/CT-054 on September 12, 2014

IMG_2759Trail to the summit at 6:45 in the morning

Bertha Peak via 3N09

Route to the summit via North Shore Dr. in Fawnskin (Big Bear Lake)

For the access to the summit I used the Forest Road 3N09 from the North Shore Drive in Fawnskin until the crossing with the Pacific Crest Trail. Shortly before the PCT there is a possibility to park. I followed the PCT until it intersects with the summit trail. On the way up I encountered some deer, actually I saw only one until I had a closer look at the photo I took. There were several deers – I just didn’t see them that’s what is called perfect camouflage. The hike to the summit is shaded most of the time and the views are spectacular. At the summit are several antenna installations and I set up my operation underneath some trees.

Bertha Peak

Final approach to the summit


Deer on the trail


Bertha Peak from the trail


Summit trail


Summit view


Big bear lake from the operation site

IMG_2770Operation setup

The activation was a QRP operation 5W using a FT-817. The band conditions were not too good but I made some nice contacts on 40m, 20m and 15m. No CW this time I still struggle with copying and the fact that I have the problem of blanking out and can’t follow anymore. So I first have to improve this before I dare a CW activation. Made a S2S with N6MKW Mike operating from W6/SC-001 on 40m.


On the trail

IMG_2791The trail is shaded by trees most of the time

IMG_2794Intersection of the summit trail and PCT

Date:12/Sep/2014  Summit:W6/CT-054 (Bertha Peak)  Call Used:WN6E

Time Call Band Mode Notes
15:25z N6JZT 7MHz SSB 7.182 MHz
15:26z WA6RIC 7MHz SSB
15:27z W7RV 7MHz SSB
15:28z NA6MG 7MHz SSB
15:29z KN6CCW 7MHz SSB
15:30z K6HPX 7MHz SSB
15:31z KN6CCW 144MHz FM 146.52 MHz
15:40z WB5USB 14MHz SSB 14.3475 MHz
15:41z KI0SK 14MHz SSB
15:45z N6MKW 7MHz SSB 7.185 MHz S2S
15:51z KB6CIO 7MHz SSB 7.182 MHz
16:11z W0MNA 21MHz SSB 21.318 MHz



Activation of Butler Peak, CA (W6/CT-009) on September 2, 2014

IMG_2720Butler Peak from the access road


The activation of Butler Peak was planned as a longer stay on the summit while operating on HF, FM and a bit of CW. The access was supposed to be an approx. 7 mile drive on a forest road from Fawnskin and a short hike to the actual summit and firetower. The road was reported as open on the San Bernadino Forest homepage. It turned out it was not the gate was locked, due to logging as we found out later. So it was decided to go around and try a deviation through the surrounding valleys (3N16 forest road) and try to access the summit via 2N54 and 2N13.

This trip through the valleys turned out to be more than 20 miles with some extreme 4×4 sections (beware of 2N54 especially) including two creek crossings. In any case we made it to the summit three hours later than originally estimated. As mentioned before the original short access was closed due to logging operations, but these work required the gates to be opened along 2N13 and made it possible to reach the summit. There was no active logging during the trip – logging operations are otherwise an immediate stop and return for any hiker, 4×4, mountain biker etc.

IMG_2712Start of 3N16 towards Crab Flat campground

IMG_2715First creek crossing on 3N16

IMG_2717Crossing Crab Creek

Butler Peak UpThe route to the summit from Fawnskin

IMG_2719Approaching the summit

IMG_2721On the hike to the summit

IMG_2741Start of the summit trail


View from the trail



View from the summit


IMG_2734Another summit view



Big Bear Lake


IMG_2726Summit view

Butler Peak DownRoute down to Green Valley


On the way down the route via Green Valley as recommended by several hikers we met on the way up worked out.  2N13 to Green Valley was open  without any locked gates. I had no huge desire to go down 2N54 again.


2N13 down from Butler Peak






The “Locked Gate” which was open to Green Valley


IMG_2751Intersection of Green Valley Road and 2N13


On Butler Peak I made a short activation before heading back down to Green Valley. It is a pity that the “alternative route” to the summit took too much time and the time on the summit had to be cut shorter than expected.

Date:02/Sep/2014  Summit:W6/CT-009 (Butler Peak)  Call Used:WN6E

Time Call Band Mode Notes
18:39z KK6HUB 144MHz FM  
18:06z K6QCB 144MHz FM 146.52 MHz
18:08z KW6ACK 144MHz FM  
18:12z KN6CCW 144MHz FM  
18:14z KJ6KHF 144MHz FM  
18:38z WA6YPE 144MHz FM