Summit : W6/NC-073 – Cow Mountain Ridge, Ukiah, Ca. Elev. 3,572ft.

     While on a weekend camping trip my friend Dave and I decided to tackle the nearby Cow Mountain Ridge summit in Ukiah CA. After driving about 20 minutes into the mountains on a dirt road we hit this sign letting us know it was another 8 miles to the top.

     Views looking east into Clear Lake, Ca. on the way to the summit. 

     Views west looking into Ukiah, Ca. from the halfway point.  

     View of the KNTI FM broadcast towers from near my activation spot. 

     Sent out an APRS beacon from the summit.

     Views west looking out over Mendocino County CA with the ocean just on the other side of the mountain range. This was my setup with an improvised table using an old pallet sitting there and an REI collapsible backpacking camp chair. Used the fishing pole to hoist up the antenna a bit and connected the radio to the Bioenno LifePo4 battery. That and a little water all fit nicely into my hiking backpack allowing me to activate the summit. 

     Here’s a little video of my station setup making contact with KE6EBZ. He was located on the coast in Fort Bragg CA which is on the opposite side of the mountain range far in the distance. We were able to hear each other both 5×9 on simplex. Pretty amazing. I was able to make all the contacts necessary within 5 minutes of setting up. This is a great portable solution for long distance 2m simplex communications. Thanks to the following contacts for helping me out : WA6KLK, KJ6ZVS, KJ6ZVR, KK6RPX and KE6EBZ. 


Summit : W6/CC-023 – Cone Peak, Big Sur, Ca. Elev. 5,155ft.

     On our way up to Cone Peak my fiancé and I had to pass through Fort Hunter Liggett. They were doing all day live fire drills which could be heard throughout the day during the activation.

     Slightly unrelated, I saw one of my dream import Toyotas, the BJ74 I believe. Couldn’t help but notice the Mudrack  sticker on the back window.  

     Sign at the trailhead leading to the summit. It was absolutely beautiful here with the exception of being eaten alive by every fly and mosquito type know to man.

     Beginning of the trailhead leading to Cone Peak.

     Views looking north from the trail leading to the summit. 

     After a long trek to Cone peak I was able to pull out 4 contacts on 146.520 simplex. Here’s a view looking east from the summit. Thanks to KG6WSH, W6NPQ, WB6JWB and KK6PTS for helping me with the 4 needed contacts. Very remote and very awesome summit!


Summit : W6/NC-435 – Tiburon Peninsula, Tiburon, Ca. Elev. 748ft.

Road leading to the “summit”. Drive up the road. Park. Activate. Easy summit.

This water tower is where I’d advise you to park as parking is limited. This tower also is across the street from the activation point as it shows on the SOTA map.

Views northeast from the activation. As you can see it’s literally set in the middle of a residential neighborhood.

Bench where I sat while activating. As you can see it’s not much of what you’d traditionally think a summit to be. Either way it was fun enough.

While the views of San Francisco were spectacular, I’d have to say this “summit” is one of the less exciting I’ve activated. It’s very much a drive-up summit with no hike really whatsoever. The good thing about it again are the views which also means your line of sight is great. I made 4 contacts without much effort on 146.520 with a little help advertising on local repeaters. Thanks to KK6YRG, N6MM, N6DOK and N6SPP.

APRS beacon sent out at the summit and screencaptured on


Summit : W6/NC-082 – Geyser Peak, Mercuryville, Ca. Elev. 3,458ft.

     So my fiancé and I decided to tackle a summit in Sonoma County for my birthday today. Using the SotaGoat app we decided on Geyser Peak in a small blip of a town called Mercuryville. After about a 2 1/2 hr drive we got to this gate leading to a dirt road.  The road appeared to be an access route used in the maintenance of the 

     Within 100 yards of the gate there is a make shift shooting range with targets that are randomly placed along the road in the trees for the next 300 yards or so. So, maybe be careful if you approach this summit from a different starting point. I mean unless getting shot is your thing

     View east of the geysers on top of other various peaks. The mountain furthest out was where the valley fire ended as it tried to make its way into Sonoma County.

     Views north from near the beginning of the hike.

     Halfway point of the hike with the radio towers in the distance upper right.

     Almost to the top after a 2 mile hike wherein we gained about 1500ft in elevation. Most of it was gained in the final 1/4 mi of the hike.

     My partner in crime and I. I really lucked out finding someone who not only supports my nerdy hobbies but wants to be a part of them. 

     Views south from the summit overlooking northern Sonoma County Ca. 

     Radio and repeater towers on top of the summit.

     APRS beacon sent out from the activation point and screen captured from 

     Views of Santa Rosa, Windsor, Cloverdale and Healdsburg from the summit activation point. Beautiful day with temps in the 80’s. Clear views in every direction. Made 5 contacts though I forgot to write down one of them. Oh well. Thanks to KG6NLW, KK6STO, KK6ZDE and as always N6MM who seems to dig my signals out of the muck.


Summit : W6/CC-045 – Mt. Diablo, Mt. Diablo, Ca. Elev. 3,849ft.

    After a 3 hour reroute at the fault of google maps and a long slow drive up to the summit, I finally reached the Mt. Diablo visitors center. Felt a little like I was cheating as I was able to drive right up to it. After checking out the inside of the center I hiked down a trail around the backside to keep it honest. 

     Views to the north of the Mt. Diablo visitor center.  

     Clear views looking east during this beautiful day activation.  

     Using the Yaesu FT1D and the N9TAX Slim Jim antenna it was no problem at all to make contacts. With the height I was at I didn’t even really need to untangle the antenna 

     APRS beacon sent out from the summit.

     FINALLY(!!!!) made it and activated Mt Diablo after all the wrong turns and bad google maps directions. I didn’t end up having time to activate North Peak as well today due to getting lost along the way. Oh well, I know now how to get to it next time. I made the contacts needed quickly on 146.520 simplex from all over including Modesto and a town that was said to be 100mi north of Sacramento! Thanks to W7AIT, WB6DTB, W6WQ, K6BMD, N6NTM, N6MM and WB6TCF.


Summit : W6/NC-298 – Vollmer Peak, Orinda, Ca. Elev. 1,905ft.

     Gate leading from the parking lot to the summit. The road is paved all the way to the top and is just shy of a mile up. Easy hike with great views

     Trail marker and American Tower placard at the gate in the main parking lot leading to the summit.

     Views to the east looking towards Orinda, Moraga etc. 

     Views of the Briones and San Pablo reservoirs from the summit. 

     Radio towers at the activation site on the summit. There was minimal RF interference which made making the 4 needed contacts easy. 

     Views of San Francisco with the Golden Gate Bridge on the right.

     APRS beacon sent out and found on

     Crystal clear 5×9 reception from the surrounding areas. Picked up my 4 simplex contacts on 146.52 within minutes before turning right back around for the car to pick up @alieventure from work. Thanks to W6OJR, N6MM, N6DOK and KC6SVW for the contacts!


Summit : W6/NC-150 – Black Mtn, Santa Cruz Mtns. Santa Clara County, Ca. Elev. 2,820ft.

     Here’s the gate at the trailhead that leads to the summit. I would recommend a mountain bike if you have one. I saw quite a few mountain bikers while hiking and I regretted not bringing my own. Also parking near here is tricky. There is a winery right near this gate. I parked back there on their property after asking a worker. He told me they lock the gates at 2:30-3:00pm and that as long as I came back by then I would be fine. Otherwise, on the other side of the winery gates on the public streets there are several “no parking” signs and I was advised the very rich neighbors loved to have your car towed. I warned ya!

     A few minutes after starting off at the trailhead you’ll see this tower letting you know you’re on the right path.

     No dogs? Sure… Ok. Who’s going to have my back against the mountain lions? Anyway, if you activate this summit it says you aren’t supposed to bring your dog. FYI. 

     View of the towers sitting on top of the summit as seen on the hike up. 

     View from the halfway point of the hike up. Despite the clouds the views were still crystal clear. 

     Found the summit marker set in place in 1938 by the Army Corps of Engineers.


     When I made it to the top there was tons of interference on the radio as you can hear here. Despite the noise I still was able to get 5 contacts rather quickly to complete the activation. I had a little help from KI6BEN when he was nice enough to announce my activation on a few local repeaters. Thanks again to KI6BEN as well as W6BID, N6MM, KK6IJ and NV6DOK for making the contacts I needed. 

​     Thanks Yaesu for making the FT1D with AM radio receive capabilities. Got to listen to a few innings of Giants baseball on the hike back to the truck 

      APRS beacon sent out from the summit and then tracked on