Sierra Pelona & Mount McDill

My older brother just retired after 35 years as an electrical engineer for the municipal power company in Anchorage, Alaska. We’ve hiked many mountains together but this was our first SOTA outing. Here we are on Sierra Pelona.

11 APRIL 2021 W6/CT-116

My big brother Mark and I have hiked many summits together over the years, but this was our first SOTA excursion together. Mark just retired from his 35 year job acting as an electrical engineer for a municipal power company in Anchorage, Alaska. He is not a ham, but he wanted to check out a SOTA activation. I usually burn him out on a grueling hike, but I decided to go easy on the retiree and do a couple of drive-ups. Mark has a rental car – a Dodge Charger – that he was willing to take on dirt roads. When I asked our Australian friend Lizzy what was the best vehicle for driving the outback, she said: “A rental.” 😉

I’d asked SOTA Goat Scott WA9STI about the roads up to Sierra Pelona and Mount McDill and he had some questions about the advisability of taking a passenger vehicle up there. The roads are narrow and steep. We passed a few 4WD vehicles and passing was tricky with dangerous drop-offs. All-and-all I think Scott is wise to recommend a 4WD, high clearance vehicle.

The approach roads are unmarked and a bit tricky to find

We had 14 QSOs on Sierra Pelona, including 2 summit-to-summit contacts. One of the S2S contacts were with K4AAE on a mountain in Tennessee. I used my doublet dipole. Here is my log:

Big brother Mark and the rental on the summit of Sierra Pelona

11 APRIL 2021 W6/CT-116

The drive over to Mount McDill from Sierra Pelona is also steep and narrow, but the road was in surprisingly good shape. It’s kind of like driving in Topanga Canyon. Mark and I had hiked up Mount McDill from Lincoln Crest on Bouquet Canyon road back in 2013. This time we drove to within 20 feet of the summit. The register was still there from 2010 and we found our previous entrees:

McDill was my 163 HPS summit in 2013

On Mount McDill I set up the PackTenna end-fed random wire. Compared to the doublet, the decrease in performance was noticeable. I will still carry both antennas, but the doublet is the preferred option when conditions permit. The doublet is trickier to set up.

We had two summit-to-summit contacts from one summit in Washington State

Here is our log from Mount McDill:

Mark on the summit of Mount McDill
Looking out over the San Andreas Fault to the Tehachapi Mountains. Note the hi-tech mountaineering footgear. 😉

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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