Sandstone Peak II

Anacapa and Santa Cruz Islands over Boney Ridge. Some interesting features in this photo, if you look closely. Just where Anacapa goes behind Boney Ridge you can just make out the white buildings of the ranger and lighthouse keeper. Similarly, just in frame at the bottom right is the radar facility on Laguna Peak for Point Mugu Navel Air Base.

19 FEBRUARY 2021 W6/CC-056

I left the car about 5am and started hiking with the predawn stars of summer overhead. I witnessed something I’ve never seen in all my years of observing the heavens. I stopped to rest and looked up at the stars. There was a straight, glowing line in the sky with maybe 12- 20 bright, sparkly points evenly spaced along this cosmic contrail. It was like a diamond tennis bracelet stretched out in the sky. Then it all slowly faded.

I think it was what is called a persistent train – or the path of a meteor I had just missed seeing. Usually persistent trains just look like a luminescent contrail that fades over a few seconds. I’ve seen those many times. What I’ve never seen is all the bright points evenly spaced along one. If I had to guess I’d say this was the result was an artificial meteor – or a piece space junk that had broken up while burning up in the atmosphere.

Sunrise over Saddle Peak (W6/CT-274) with 10,000′ Mount San Jacinto (W6/CT-002) in the distance. Castro Peak and Santiago on the right.

This trip went so much smoother than the trip to Temescal Peak a few days ago. I had all the components and got to try out my new, lightweight 20m doublet. While propagation wasn’t as good, I still managed to work Chris F4WBN in France and VE1PVH in Nova Scotia along with stations in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Georgia and others. I had two summit-to-summit contacts including my very first S2S on HF with WA7JTM on a 10-pointer in Arizona, and with Hal N6JZT right next door on Buzzard’s Roost (W6/SC-229). Thanks guys!

All is all I made 23 contacts on 40m, 20m 17m and 2m. I was pleased that the doublet tunes up on 40 and 17.

I had the summit to myself for about an hour around sunrise. This summit can get very crowded, but there is a nice place to set up to the east of the actual summit that is off the trail up to the top. This allows people hike up and to sign in the register without tripping over the radio gear.

I was soon joined by three nice young ladies and Kobe the dog and explained the SOTA program to them. That got several “Cool!”s 🙂 Eya took some photos and promised to send them along. I hope she does and I will post them here.

The station
The area still bears the scars from the Woolsey Fire
Here’s what I use for an end insulator for the new 20m doublet. It’s just a plastic strip cut from a large water bottle.

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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