Granite Benchmark (W6 CT-132) 4593 ft, 30 March 2018

Granite Benchmark is one of the medium-size peaks near Bouquet Reservoir. It does not get activated very much, being rather far north of Los Angeles; for me a drive of about 100 miles. I would be the fifth SOTA activator of the mountain.

I drove via Little Tujunga and Sand Canyons. This road had been closed for about a year after the Sand Fire of 2016 and I wanted to check it out. Along the road is the turnoff to the unpaved Mendenhall Ridge Road leading to Iron Mountain, and the Santa Clara Divide Road leading to Magic Mountain. The latter had an “Area Closed” sign on it, the former did not have any closure signs on it, though as usual the gate was shut to prevent vehicles from going up.

Above Bouquet Reservoir, in the dark, I missed the turn off to forest road 6N04 (Leona Divide Road) from the main road. Hard to see it in the dark! Returned, then drove carefully up this dirt road about two and a half miles to the large parking area near the powerline road to the summit. My new Subaru Outback handled the road well, though luckily it was not deeply rutted

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Beginning the hike up the powerline road. It follows a rolling ridge about a mile and a half to the summit. Elevation gain is about 400 feet. Took about 40 minutes to the top

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Looking back to the forest road 6N04 and Bouquet Reservoir

The road ends about 100 yards from the true summit, so pushed through chaparral to get there from the last power pylonDSCN0686

The weather was mild, windless and sunny, perfect for SOTA. I had anticipated QRN from the power lines as reported by other activators. As it was, the noise was low on 20m, S2/3 on 30m, and S8 on 40m. Conditions were good, working DJ5AV on 20m, EA2LU called me but we were unable to complete a QSO.

14:49z W0MNA 14MHz CW
14:49z W0ERI 14MHz CW
14:50z W4KRN 14MHz CW
14:51z W2SE 14MHz CW
14:54z K3TCU 14MHz CW
14:55z K8LJG 14MHz CW
14:57z DJ5AV 14MHz CW
14:57z K4MF 14MHz CW
14:58z K5QR 14MHz CW
14:59z ND0C 14MHz CW
15:00z NG6R 14MHz CW
15:02z W5ODS 14MHz CW
15:07z NU7A 10MHz CW
15:10z K6MW 10MHz CW
15:11z KA5PVB 10MHz CW
15:13z KG3W 10MHz CW
15:17z W7RV 7MHz CW
15:18z NS7P 7MHz CW
15:19z K0RS 7MHz CW
15:22z WA6MTL 7MHz CW
15:23z N7LP 7MHz CW
15:24z K6EL 7MHz CW

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Leona Valley and Portal Ridge to the north. Portal has been activated by Dan, NA6MG.

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The powerline road along the rolling ridge

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Granite 3 benchmark, placed in 1938. I also found Granite 1 benchmark, placed in 1932

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Took half an hour to hike down. Here, nearing the 6N04 road that I drove up in the dark

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The track up the hill is a motorcycle trail!

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My 2017 Outback I bought with 7000 miles on it. Got it in January, this was my first drive with it on unpaved roads It did well and has good ground clearance.

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Down the road

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This is the start of the road 6N04, right at the Angeles National Forest sign. You can also park on the other side of the main road if you want to hike all the way.

So it was a good test of the new Subaru, a mild hike, and a good ham radio operation.

73! Hal N6JZT

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