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

More information about the Summits on the Air program.

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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