Summit : W6/NC-434 – Summit: Bay Hill, Bodega, Ca. Elev. 761ft.

     Today I was passing through the Bodega Bay area and decided to see if I could find an easy summit to tackle on the way back to work.  I luckily found a drive up summit called Bay Hill.  It was very simple to do as all you had to do was park in an old driveway which faces the summit, get out and walk just a bit and you were in the activation zone.

     I hung an endfed antenna on a nail sticking out of a telephone pole along the road and ran the wire to some nearby bushes.  Worked 5 people in 5 minutes, all the while staring at the beautiful Bodega Bay. 

Captured here is the tail end of a conversation about my wire antenna and KX2 with AA7DK.

     This is the view from where I activated the summit.  It is within the activation zone with the actual summit being the small hill behind the fence on the right of the picture.  The owner apparently isn’t into having anyone on his property which I respected. 

     The views here are pretty spectacular of Bodega Bay complete with small hawks diving into the surrounding fields and coming up with snakes, lizards or mice.  This activation was a quick one with 4 activations on 20m and 1 on 2m simplex.  Thanks to W7RV, AA7DK, N4DA, N7ERU and KK6DQE.

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Summit : W6/CC-035 – Summit: Mt. Konocti, Kelseyville, Ca. Elev. 4,299ft.

     Today my fiancé Alie and I decided to tackle the Mt. Konocti summit. It was a 4 point summit and seemed like it would be a good hike on top of getting to play radio. Luckily the summer weather gave us a break and didn’t get above 85 degrees.

     About 1/4 into the hike you’ll reach your first resting point at which you can sit and enjoy the views of Clearlake. Alie and Rosie did just that.


     View of the summit from roughly less than a mile left in the hike.  

      When less than a few hundred feet from the top you pass a piece airplane wreckage from the Enzler airplane crash that occurred on a stormy day in 1970. 

     Once Alie and I were at the summit there were 2 gentlemen who were volunteers with Forrest Fire Lookout Association manning the lookout tower for the area. They saw us down on the ground and were nice enough to invite us to the top to get an even better view of the area. How extremely nice of them! And, of course, the views were actually that much better from up there.  

     Views of Clearlake from the Mt. Konocti CalFire lookout tower. So nice of the lookouts to let us up into their space and to explain how to us how they do their job. This is also where I made my first S2S contact with W6PZA. Great experience!

     Sent out APRS from the summit and tracked myself on aprs.fi  


     After what felt like a never ending uphill hike of 4 miles Alie, myself and our dog Rosie finally made it to the summit. The views were an amazing 360 degrees of surrounding Lake County including Clear Lake. I called CQ on 146.520 and though I could make out a few people talking I think my 5w wasn’t enough to reach them. I moved over to a local repeater which was actually housed not even 100 feet behind where I was standing. I was able to make contact right away with KK6TMN who was nice enough to spot for me on other local repeaters. I moved back to 146.520 and with the help of TMN I had a few people waiting to make contact with me. The list grew to a few more and after only a few minutes I was able to get more than the 4 needed contacts. I also was able to make my first S2S contact for 10 points with W6PZA who was activating St. John Mtn. W6/NC-004. This summit was one of the more challenging hikes but had the best reward so far. Alie and I both thought it was totally worth it! Thanks to KK6TMN, KI6NAT, WA7OEF, KA6OSX, KK6TNH, W6PZA and KK6TDG for the contacts. 

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07/05/2016. Summit : W6/NC-317 – Summit: Wiedemann Hill, San Ramon, Ca. Elev. 1,854ft. (2nd Attempt)


     Success! I made it into the gated community. Several of the houses within the community are still under construction. And, wouldn’t you know it? I’m totally in the market for a 2.9 million dollar track home……or at least the guard at the entry checkpoint believed I was when I said so. I made sure to have a webpage for the development handy on my phone so I could show them the ones I intended to drive past and look at. To be fair I did at least drive by. I can honestly say that after looking I wasn’t interested in purchasing one of these houses today. Heh 

     After driving to the very top end of the gated community I hit the gate that lead to the summit. It was locked with a “no trespassing” sign though it had several locks acting like a chain which suggested many different people were able to access it. “Why not me?” I figured….

     On my way up to the top with Rosie the rescue pitbull. If you’re in the Bay Area and are considering pet adoption I can’t stress enough how great Tony LaRussa’s animal shelter (TL-ARF) was with my families adoption of Rosie. They made it very easy to adopt her and even gave me 90 days to make sure she was the right fit. If she wasn’t I was given the choice to bring her back for a full refund of my adoption fees. It’s wayyyyy passed the 90 days at this point.  😎🐶 /adoptionpitchover

     Views looking east into San Ramon while at the top of the summit.

     I was able to find the summit marker once at the top. This is where I decided to try the activation from despite how windy it was. Improvising, I put my radio inside my partially unzipped jacket to shield the wind which seemed to make a huge difference.

     Views looking west at the bay while standing at the summit.

     Sent out an APRS beacon at the summit and then screencaptured while looking on aprs.fi

     There was a ton of wind once I made it to the top. However, considering how much effort I’ve put into figuring out this summit I didn’t mind too much. Within 5-10 minutes I had several contacts from all over the Bay Area using 5W and a 12″ whip antenna. Thanks to KM6BZL, N6HRO, N6NXI, KG6NUB, KC6SVW, AG6Q and W6OG for taking the time to allow me to be able to log them as contacts!

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Summit : W6/NC-317 – Wiedemann Hill, San Ramon, Ca. Elev. 1,854ft. (Failed Activation)

     I decided today to try and tackle the Wiedemann Hill summit after looking at it several times on the SOTA goat app. I noticed the clear way in was through a gated community but that the guard shack would prove a worthy obstacle. I figured I’d try to take the advice of K6ILM’s (K6EL) write up and instead approach the summit from the backside and head northeast to hopefully hit it. His suggested route took me into a different un-gated community that bordered the Dublin Hills Regional Park. The suggested route led to a gravel road inbetween two houses at the end of a cul de sac. Since his write up the road has been gated with no trespassing signs. Since the trail is visible not even 100 feet behind the gate I ignored the signs and hopped the fence with no problem. How you choose it is up to you. 


     Once you jump the fence you find yourself here with a small pond on your right. The trail marker will lead you north on the Calaveras Ridge Regional Trail. After looking at google earth and trying to reverse track from the summit backwards to my starting point this seemed the most logical choice.

     Rosie and I on our way to see if we can make it to the summit.  

     Mile 2 of the hike I came across a few wild pig traps. I also noticed tons of what appeared to be boar scat all along the trail. If only CA allowed silencers…

     Continuing up the Calaveras Ridge Regional Trail with my sidekick Rosie hoping to find a clear path to the summit. 


     Here is the fence line where the property ends at Dublin Hills Regional park ends. From here I think you’d need to continue across the fence line and head another 1-2 miles northeast in order to hit the tower that sits on the summit point. By chance I was able to talk to K6EL (the station that wrote the guide I referenced for this hike) while listening in simplex. I sent out an APRS beacon which he found online and said he would try to find a workaround on the map from his home computer. After some time he came back and said it appeared my only route was to hop the fence and follow a ranch truck trail for a bit before hitting another fence boundary. From there he said there was another road that met up to the summit road. We both thought it wasn’t the best approach ethically and since I wasn’t feeling too tresspassy on this particular day I called it and hiked the 2-3 miles back to the car. Oh well… There’s always next time.

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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. 

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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!

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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 aprs.fi

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