There were quite a few activators scheduled for today, so decided the night before to head up at Mt. Williamson, a great view point with trees and shade in the San Gabriels above Islip Saddle. Left the house at 5:30AM, stopped briefly at the Mt. Vetter trailhead at about 6:40. Dan (NA6MG) and Bob (K6TUY) were off activating Mt. Vetter.
Here is a picture of our two jeeps. I used to have a 4WD Cherokee like Dan’s, but it was stolen out of the Cal State Dominguez Hills university parking lot. My poor jeep was stripped of its engine and seats, then the crooks dropped it off on a residential street in Compton and set fire to it! I am sure the residents were not amused! So now I have a used 2WD Grand Cherokee. Maybe when I wear it out I’ll get another 4WD.
Then up the Angeles Crest Highway and parked at the Pacific Crest Trail to hike up the shady West side of Mt. Williamson. Headed up the trail, in the cool air the scent of the flowers on the bushes was wonderful. A young guy coming down was on his way to Canada via the PCT!
The summit ridge from about half way up. Every so often I would call K6TUY on the HT, but I’m pretty sure there was no line of sight path. The trail was pleasantly switch backed up steep slopes. The “summit” is a ridge about half a mile long.
View of Will Thrall Peak and Pallett Benchmark from the summit of Mt Williamson (8244 ft). There is a north summit about 10 minutes on that is actually 4 feet higher (8248 ft) , but this is the official summit! Anyway, it’s all in the activation zone. There used to be a summit register but it no longer seemed to be there. A Korean hiker came by and we chatted a minute. He then went on to the north summit.
And here, I am wearing my bright green St. Patrick’s Day 2013 LA Marathon shirt. I didn’t walk the marathon this year, my right knee is wearing out. About two weeks before the marathon, I had my intense day snow shoeing on Mt. Islip, and I realized I was healthy enough for the marathon. However, I had already signed up to do ham radio support at the 14 mile medical tent, so I had a good day doing that instead.
Lots of contacts over almost a three hour period:
144 MHz FM: NA6MG, K6TUY, KJ6FDM (Rico, 100 miles away at Point Loma, SanDiego!)
10 MHz: N7AMA, KT5X, W7CNL, KU6J (s2s W6/NS 203), W7RV
14 MHz: WA8REI, NS7P, W0MNA, W0ERI, WB5USB, WA2USA, NK6A, W7CNL, AE4FZ, W0CCA, K6ILM (s2s W6/NC-423), KG3W, K0LAF VE7CV, WG0AT, N7WM, N6ZA (s2s W7U/SJ-002), N6ZI, WB5BKL, K4PIC
I couldn’t get on 15 meters since the IC-706 was acting up – there is a self oscillation that causes the transmit to be on about 20 MHz rather than 21 MHz. This radio has ICOM’s so-called “fix”. The fix I use is to take off the top cover which stops the feed back, but I didn’t have my tiny Phillips screwdriver to do this.
During the activation I took a break and wandered along to the north summit to check out the views. Here is Twin Peaks, the peaklet way at the left on the ridge is called “Triplet Rocks” or “Rocky Point”; I called it “The Castle” when I first saw it some years back. It is one of the most difficult places to reach in the San Gabriels. A three mile scramble with no trail and no water. Very rugged and slow going. Then you have to get back up the ridge, climb down from Twin, and then go back up almost to the summit of Waterman then down to the Angeles Crest Highway.
Will Thrall, Pallett Benchmark (a SOTA peak), and Pallett Moutain.
Later, I found that I had got on HF about 15 or 30 minutes after Dan and Bob had shut down on Vetter. About 1122 PDT they called me on 2m from Islip Saddle about 1700 feet below. It was great to talk to them! They headed on to Table Mountain but my battery died before they got on the air. My LI battery is supposed to be 14AH, but in this kind of use it seems to be about 6 AH. And my IC-706 is a big power hog, taking 6 amps even at 5 to 10 watts.
After a few more QSOs and the battery dying, I headed down the mountain. Everything is very dry since we only had 5 inches of rain this year.
It had taken 1 hr 40 minutes to get up, and 55 minutes to get down. A great day of hiking and ham radio!