Black Butte

Whitedog – my brand new SOTA machine.

11 DECEMBER 2021 W6/ND-311

After activating Table Mountain I got a chance to put Whitedog, my new Toyota Tachoma SR5, through his paces out in the Mojave desert. I left Highway 18 at Avenue 293 and switched into four wheel drive on the dirt. The approach is pretty level but goes over a few bumps and through some deep sand. My old Audi would not have been happy.

When I got to the east side of the base of Black Butte I discovered that there were two parties of target shooters squeezing off all manner of ordinance. After thinking about it for a while, I got back in Whtedog and drove around to the west side. I could still hear semiautomatic and fully automatic gunfire in the distance, but there was no target shooting debris where I parked, so I decided to chance it.

My hike went straight up the side of Black Butte and quickly left the sandy floor of the Antelope Valley and my way became littered with the characteristic black basalt that gives this Butte it’s name.

The hike is about a half mile and goes up about 500′. It took me a half hour. I had summit-to-summit contacts with Mark N6XZN on Onyx Peak and with a group on 9,465′ next door to Onyx. Thanks to all chasers and S2Sers!

There is excellent cell coverage from Verizon on the summit.

While I was operating an ultralight aircraft came overhead and flew within a couple of dozen feet of my mast knocking it over. This was waaaaay closer than the 500′ that the FAA dictates pilots maintain.

One note: besides a lot of target shooters, I passed a lot of what appeared to be clandestine marijuana grow operations. Next time I do this summit I think I will plan on being here very early in the morning and hopefully avoid any contact with any of the general lawlessness that seems to be endemic to the area.

The station with the low end of the Packtenna
Looking west toward the Lovejoy and Saddleback Buttes over the high end of the Packtenna
Obligatory selfie
Looking south to the San Gabriel Mountains

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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