There is a SOTA rule that if the latitude and longitude of a summit changes too much, a new mountain appears! I forget what the exact criteria are. Anyway, several mountains disappeared and reappeared with new references with the new W6 summit update. Mt. Williamson is one of them; the former summit was W6 CT-011 and was actually the lowest of three summits, at the south east end of a half mile (800m) ridge. The highest summit is at the north west end of the ridge, so this is W6 CT-247.
Started the hike on the shady west side from the so-called “un-named saddle” on the Angeles Crest Highway. The other route is on the sunnier east side from Islip Saddle, which I tend to do when the weather is colder. Today it was predicted to be hot.
I saw that Mountain Goat Oleh KD7WPJ was going to activate the summit, so I would probably meet him. Also, it was Field Day so a lot of stations would be around on the air prior to the contest start at 1800Z. I would be testing my shortened EFHW 20m/30m/40m wire antenna.
Looking west from the start point along the Angeles Crest Highway. The trail begins behind me to the right.
Smoke from the San Gabriel fires we are having. From left to right, Mt Waterman (W6 CT-012), Buckhorn Peak, Winston Peak
Just under 2 hours to the north summit. Set up the EFHW, first running up the mast about 10 ft, then sloping down to the ground. Also hung the 2m j-pole in a tree.
SOTA Beams Mountain Tuner. I have found that the 10ft (3m) coax shield is adequate as the counterpoise. So I do not have a separate one hooked to the black terminal.
A coil at the end of the 20m half wave wire, then about a meter and a half or 2 meters of wire after that. The coil is 63 turns of narrow gauge wire (24?, 26 AWG?) on a 3/4 inch PVC pipe (1 inch OD); I had exactly that much wire hanging around in the junk box, so should be about 30 uH according to the online calculator. Coil is about 3 inches long. I got the idea from the PA3HHO website where he used 34 uH and about 2m after the coil. https://pa3hho.wordpress.com/end-fed-antennes/multiany-band-end-fed-english/
For 20m, I disconnected the coil since I felt that would give the best efficiency. For 40m I used the coil and wire stub. With the wire stub alone, I found that the Mountain Tuner could achieve a low VSWR on 30m, even though the wire is too short to make a 30m half wave
Today’s gear. If you look close you will see that I brought the little Pixie transceiver too! I brought a MFJ tuner to check the VSWR. The Mountain Tuner has no VSWR indicator, but I found that I could get reasonable low reflected power just by tuning the receiver noise by ear. Adjusting the Mountain Tuner tuning knob slightly and watching the meter, I could get the VSWR to 1.5 or even better. I did not use the tuning function of the MFJ gear.
I set up first for 2m. Dan NA6MG and I talked on 2m, I asked him to go to the 7023 kHz frequency of the Pixie. He could hear me at a good 579 with my perhaps 200 mW of power, his 100W was also about 559-579 on the insensitive Pixie receiver. The latter is just a mixer with no RF amplification, followed by an audio amplifier.So by my rough calculation the Pixe RX is 30 dB to 40dB less sensitive than a regular receiver. It would be interesting to check this with proper test equipment. Dan was about 25 miles (40 km) away.
Lots of pre-Field Day activity on 2m, and worked chasers on 20m and 40m. Called CQ on 30m but no takers. When I got home I saw that RBNhole had picked me up OK from the RBN on all three bands. But that I had about half a dozen RBN skimmer hits on each of 20m and 40m with good SNR, but only one on 30m. So maybe a different configuration like a longer wire stub to make a true half wave would help on 30m.
Towards the end of the activation I worked Oleh KD7WPJ as he came up the mountain (and then again as I went down the mountain)
2m FM: NA6MG K6CMG S2S N6HEG K6KWI N6VHF WA6NVL K6YOA S2S KD7WPJ KF6PRR KJ6CAV
20m CW: N1EU NS7P VE6UX NG6R VA6FUN NA6MG
40m CW: NA6MG (PIXIE!) K6EL N7CW W6JMP WA7JTM K7JFD K0DTJ N6HC
I packed up as I waited for Oleh to reach the summit. He chose a shady spot to operate from
Oleh started working on 2m, then changed over to 30m He told me later via email that he did not get any takers on 30m either
View of Twin Peaks w6 CT-064 on the way down, with fire smoke haze beyond the far ridge (Monrovia Peak W6 CT-028)
Hot and sunny weather today
73! Hal N6JZT
PS a couple of my many previous activations of Mt Williamson
An old SOTA CT-011 page seems to be here: