Frazier Mountain x2

The derelict fire lookot tower on the summit of Frazier Mountain.

14 MAY 2022 W6/CC-003

This weekend trip was conceived and executed as a shake down run for my “gridpedition” to maidenhead grid DM17 in Nevada next weekend. This was a far different endeavor than my usual SOTA excursions mostly due to the fact that I wanted to bring along my Elecraft K3/100 and all the gear required to run a full soundcard digital station. This meant a lot more power than my little 3AH Bioenno LiPo battery could manage.

This was my third trip up Frazier Mountain and it is a pretty good place to do a big activation like this. On my last trip up here on November 25, 2020 I met Brian WA6JFK and Scott WA9STI. Scott had quite a bit of gear. He was running 100 watts from his KX3 and he also had 2.3 GHz gear.

This time around I brought two flooded lead-acid deep cycle marine batteries along with a 40AH Bioenno LiPo and a LOT of other gear. Pretty much everything I was going to take on the Nevada trip

I left on Friday afternoon from Topanga and, without any kind of campground reservation, was a bit nervous about finding a legitimate place to camp. I had seen that the Mount Pinos Campground campsites that could be reserved in advance were all filled. With only 5 other sites open for “day of” taking, I decided not to press my luck coming in late in the day, so I went over to the Chuchupate Campground on the road to Frazier Mountain.

To my very pleasant surprise I found that there was only one other party in this lovely campground. So I practically had the place to myself.

Campsite at the nearly deserted Chuchupate Campground

As expected, I forgot a few things. This wasn’t any big deal on this trip, but it would’ve been a big hassle way out in the Nevada wilderness the next weekend. One of the big kinks worked out of my system was powering the laptop. Because I was charging it on the Whitedog’s truckbed AC outlet, I didn’t want to run the truck that much. To prolong the battery life of the laptop I turned the screen brightness down. This made the screen very had to see — even in the shade. I’ve since figured out that the 40AH Bioenno LiPo will power an AC inverter very well. The Coleman inverter isn’t the cleanest and does create a lot of RF hash visible in the waterfall, but this is still a much better solution.

The propagation on HF was very strange with a lot of very steep and deep QSB. I did make a lot of contacts on FT8 – 30 in fact – including one to SA4BLM in Sweden. PSK-31 was not so bountiful. Only 3 contacts there and I had a lot of people from the PODX 070 Club looking for me. I hope next weekend is a lot better.

Because I operated off on on for over 7 hours, I had a lot of total contacts – 51 to be exact. I think that might be a record for me. I had a whopping 11 summit-to-summit exchanges.

A big, booming THANK YOU to all who chased. You all make this so much fun.

I also brought Chester the drone along and got some lovely aerial shots. Here is a little 2 minute video that points out some of the mountains surrounding Frazier Mountain over the derelict fire lookout tower:

Hree is the operating position from the “kitchen sink” activation
Chester snaps a selfie on the summit
30 fiberglass mast supporting my new 68′ doublet of 18 gauge speaker wire good for 100 watts
Mount Pinos at sunrise
Close up of the station. Note the faint computer screen — a problem that has since been remedied

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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