Black Butte and Shadow Mountains HP, 28 July 2017

Both peaks are located in the Mojave desert, east of Palmdale, west of Interstate 15, and south of Edwards Air Force Base. Three points summer bonus for SOTA!

Drove up the 14 freeway, made my way to Palmdale Blvd where I headed east, then south on 235th Street for 1.4 miles on a good dirt road, then right to the base of Black Butte (3581 ft, W6 ND-311) where there is plenty of room to park at this informal shooting range, littered with shot gun shells! Black Butte has been activated once before, by Dan NA6MG.

Joshua Trees at dawn


Lots of shooting activity here, none at this hour on this Friday. Temp about 70F/10C


Up the obvious ridge to the summit, took about a half hour. There is a very rough firebreak/4WD road to the summit, I suppose you could drive to the summit if you wanted. I think the “road” goes left along the base of the peak on the southwest side from the parking area, then up the south ridge. I hiked up the west ridge

The “road”and the Three Sisters


Saddleback Butte to the north


San Gabriel Mountains to the south


At this early hour, not as much activity as there would be a few hours later

13:42z KT5X 14MHz CW
13:43z W5YA 14MHz CW
13:46z N4EX 14MHz CW
13:48z AC1Z 14MHz CW
13:51z W0MNA 14MHz CW
13:53z W0ERI 14MHz CW
13:59z K6HPX 10MHz CW
14:00z W7RV 10MHz CW
14:09z KB7HH 7MHz CW
14:10z KX0R 7MHz CW
14:14z K6HPX 7MHz CW


Nicer view of the Three Sisters


Then the hike down, I was farther right than I wanted to be, so went down a steeper section, not the ridge I came up. The rocks demanded some care but it was OK

Jeep parked down below


Then about a 50 minute drive over to the Shadow Mountains: east on Palmdale to 240th, then north to Avenue J, west to 200th, then north to Avenue G, then east on Ave G. This becomes Shadow Mountains Road, there are a few doglegs but the road is very smooth, good for driving. They must grade it a lot. No washboarding.

Turned left on the rougher road to Shadow Mountains High Point (4120 ft, W6 ND-270). Someone has bought the property at the turn; used to be abandoned but they are building a new house there. About a half mile up the road, parked at the obvious spot just before the road diverges; left to Shadow, right to the USAF comm installation on a lower summit

Shadow HP, with derelict comm site up there. A 20 minute walk


Glad I left the 2WD Jeep where it was. You could take a high clearance 4WD up the road but it was rough in places


I was able to set up in the shade! It was about 90F/32C by this time.


Bands were much more active now

16:39z NG6R 14MHz CW
16:40z K6HPX 14MHz CW
16:41z W6WW 14MHz CW
16:41z W0MNA 14MHz CW
16:42z K5OT 14MHz CW
16:42z W0ERI 14MHz CW
16:43z K4MF 14MHz CW
16:43z VE2JCW 14MHz CW
16:44z WA7SB 14MHz CW
16:44z K6MW 14MHz CW
16:46z AA7DK 14MHz CW
16:46z VE7OM 14MHz CW
16:47z KG6LI 14MHz CW
16:48z NE4TN 14MHz CW
16:49z K9OZ 14MHz CW
16:49z WW7D 14MHz CW
16:55z W7RV 10MHz CW
17:01z N5PR 10MHz CW
17:02z AC7P 10MHz CW

SOTA Peak 3996 SD-463  is the second hump from the right, activated by Dan NA6MG


Big Joshua Tree on Shadow Mountains Road. Lots of driving today but it was nice, little traffic on good paved and dirt roads.


73! Hal N6JZT

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