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 aprs.fi. 


     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.

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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.

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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 aprs.fi.


     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!

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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.

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     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 aprs.fi

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Summit : W6/CC-063 – Mt. Tamalpais, Marin County, Ca. Elev. 2,571ft.

     This was pretty much a drive up summit with little necessary hiking involved.  However, there were still great views from the summit today! Rare clear day with perfect visibility of the entire San Francisco Bay Area.  

     One more from this vantage point. Closeup of the San Francisco Bay Area from the summit.

     View of radio towers from the trail leading to the summit. 

     My fiancé snapped this picture of my activation today. Great views of the entire Bay Area as you can see.

      Made 5 contacts pretty quickly on 146.52 simplex as my location gave me complete access to the entire Bay Area. Completed my activation with a woman visiting from the Philippines, DW7XCP. Thanks to everyone who gave me a contact and helped me finish the activation. AA1FD, K6KEL, W6GRD, N6DTR and DW7XCP.


     Sent out an APRS beacon before the activation. Here’s the screenshot aprs.fi

     Bro, chicks flock to SOTA activators. In all seriousness I am lucky to have a good woman who tolerates (and encourages!) my nerdiness by going with me on some of my SOTA outings.  

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Summit : W6/NC-268 – Rocky Ridge, San Ramon, CA. Elev. 2,032ft.

Contents of my pack I typically bring on my activations. Yaesu FT1D, Yaesu FT60, N9TAX slim jim antenna, paracord, external mic, notepad, pen, clif bar, Advil and camelback water pack. Fits nicely into an REI brand day pack

Front gate to the trail that leads to the summit.

Views of the tower from the summit.  The activation point is just a bit to the left of this site.

Gate leading to summit from original trail. FYI You need to get a park permit to bring your dog onto the summit as it’s part of the EBMUD protected watershed.

Views of Oakland from the summit.  Unique place to activate on the natural shelf that’s underneath and to the left of that circle hole in the rock face.

Obnoxious selfie taken while working stations at the summit.

One of the heads of cattle that graze on the park grounds. They seem indifferent to the presence of all the hikers.


I made 5 contacts today on 146.52 simplex. I had to use a few repeaters to get people to head over to the simplex but it didn’t take long to make all the necessary contacts. Thanks to KB7B, W6XZZ, N6MM, WA6EKS and NN6EE.

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Summit : W6/NC-400 – Bald Hill. Elev. 1,141ft. San Anselmo, Ca.

     Trailhead leading to the summit.  I had to park roughly a 1/2 mi down the road from this point.  All the areas to park around this trailhead have “no parking signs” all around.

     Beginning of the ascent to the activation point.  

     Views west once to the top of the summit.

     Oblivious to the amazing views of Marin, Rosie was enjoying herself as much as I was. 


     View from the summit overlooking San Francisco after making my 4th and final contact on 146.52 simplex. Thanks to AG6QR, W6OJR, KR6DD and N6MM for the contacts. 

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