Sunrise over the San Gabriel Mountains from the trail up to Chatsworth Peak
2 SEPTEMBER 2020 W6/CT-036
For my ninth activation I set my sights on a peak I had never been to. I’ve looked at Chatsworth Peak for years but have never hiked it. Following the advice of Ron, K6RIN, I made my way up Lilac Lane to the private road, Mesa Drive. Unlike Ron, however, I found Mesa Drive in good condition up to the turn off on the right. I parked my sedan under a large power pole at the 4-way intersection in front of Sedona West.
K6RIN’s activation report is here.
The hike is short and steep, .46 miles and 400′ of elevation gain. After I passed the large water tank the road turns to a single-track trail that goes through fragrant Yerba Santa and California Buckwheat. I recommend a walking stick or trekking poles to let any potential rattlesnakes know that you are coming in the places where you can’t see your feet. This area has large sandstone boulders everywhere and it perfect snake habitat.
Just before the top the use trail takes you past two 150′ towers that suspend a large 1 megawatt shortwave antenna for radio station KVOH – The Voice of Hope. The antenna was erected in 1985.
The summit itself is a large sedimentary boulder with a large white X painted on the top that is plainly visible in Google Earth’s satellite imagery. The peak has fantastic views of the San Gabriel Mountains, the Santa Monica Mountains, the Santa Susanna Mountains and the Sespe/Topo Topo mountains to the northwest. Unlike K6RIN, I only saw a few bees.
I started calling CQ and was immediately met with a response from KI6UCN, Hart in Yucaipa Valley almost 100 miles away. Not bad for 5 watts and the glorified rubber duck. I did not detect any intermod or desensitization from the radio facility.
I also made contact with Cassie (KG6MZR) at home in Topanga. Brian (WA6JFK) in Glassell Park was next to respond. Brian was thinking about joining me, but after reading K6RIN’s report he said “No bees.” 🙂 I also had a nice QSO with Mountain Goat Scott (WA9STI) in Granada Hills among others. Another friend, Steve (WA6FGW), was over in Santa Monica and while I heard him briefly, we didn’t make contact over the Santa Monica Mountains on 2m.
One thing to consider if you plan on activating this summit is that it lies on private property once you enter Mesa Drive. I suggest leaving early in the morning and keeping a low profile. I usually pick up a large bag of trash I find on the trail as a way to mollify any irate landowners I might come across. This tactic has worked wonders in the past. I didn’t see anybody on this early morning trip.