Temescal Peak II

A glorious sunrise over the Los Angeles Basin and the San Gabriel Mountains

16 FEBRUARY 2021 W6/CT-218

On this outing I forgot two key elements of my antenna system, but I managed to MacGyver a solution – necessity is truly the mother of invention. I did this hike last year on October 9th with only a UHF/VHF handitalkie.

It had been very windy over last weekend, so I had scrubbed my plans to do an inaugural activation of Ortega Peak and, instead, built an new 20m doublet made from AGW 20 zip cord. I was excited about giving this new antenna a whirl. However, in my excitement to get going on this hike, I removed a PL-259 to BNC adapter off my my balun to use on my antenna analyzer and failed to return this critical component to my SOTA kit. To make matters worse, I forgot to repack the 24′ carbon fiber fishing pole that I was using to test the new antenna at home.

Fortunately I had my PackTenna Mini Random Wire antenna in the KX2’s bag. I also had a rather long hiking stick I had fashioned from the fallen branch of a sycamore tree I’ve grown from a sapling here at home in Topanga Canyon. Using a couple of fallen yucca spears to hold up the ends, I managed to get on the air.

The jerry-rigged station using my hiking stick and a yucca spear.

Success! This worked remarkably well. Perhaps the propagation gods were smiling on me, but I got a 57 from Chris F4WBN in France and similar reports from a dozen or so stations stateside. Martha and Gary W0ERI and W0MNA reported that they had seen the thermometer drop to -18ºF overnight in Kansas. Martha cheerfully said that the temperature was now up to 0ºF. And I thought I was cold sitting in the predawn wind. 🙂

All told, I made 32 contacts on 40m, 20m and 2m FM. 20 meters was the most active band.

It was 41ºF in Topanga When I left the car. Brrr. 😉

All and all it was a great hike. There was tendrils of ground fog in upper Topanga Canyon and Trippet Ranch when I started out in the starlight. Here is my track:

Eagle Rock (No, not that Eagle Rock) near Eagle Springs in Topanga State Park
Sun coming up over Downtown Los Angeles

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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