Saddle Peak

Sunrise over the stratus of the marine layer covering the Los Angeles Basin

5 AUGUST 2020 W6/CT-274

After my first activation on the previous weekend, I was excited about the prospect of activating another mountain soon. Just up the hill from where we live is Saddle Peak so Wednesday before it was light I made my way up the mountain through a dense marine layer of fog. At times I could barely see past the hood of my car.

There were no cars at the roadhead and I had the quiet trail to myself. The hike is a short one: about .8 miles and 600′ of elevation gain. The Backbone Trail wends it’s way through sedimentary rock formations and a forest of Coast Live Oak. I heard the distinctive spiraling song of the Canyon Wren in the foggy dawn.

Soon I broke out of the fog and I was floating on a chaparral raft in a sea of fleecy white clouds. I made contact with 13 people, again all on 2m FM due to my limited gear. Among those contacts were several people I know including Scott – WA9STI – an experienced Mountain Goat who shared some invaluable tips and tricks with me on summit activation.

I also managed a QSO with another hiker over on Brown Mountain – Brian – WA6JFK. I first met Brian shakily calling CQ for the first time when I first got my license in 2002. He was my very first contact on amateur radio!

The waning gibbous moon setting over Saddle Peak just before dawn

Published by wringmaster

I'm a graphic artist in the movie business. When I was a kid I got interested in astronomy. When it would get too cloudy to observe the heavens, my buddy and I would sit at the VFO of his Hallicrafters S 38c like safe crackers trying to coax faraway signals out of that humble radio. My love of astronomy and radio survive to this day fifty+ years later.

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