Piñata welcome committee

A four legged greeting on Mt Islip (W6/CT-010) September 4th, 2015

Summit: W6-CT-010

ATT Data Coverage: Very good

ATT Voice coverage: Not sure but presumed to be OK

Hike stats: 7 miles roundtrip and 1700′ ascent, well shaded trail, exposed summit

I almost missed this colorful piñata that someone left on the peak as I was drooling over the four concrete slabs that presumably someone different had rather nicely constructed. “How considerate” I thought as this should make putting up my base mast easier. This has always been the clumsiest phase of getting a vertical up…you think you have a guy line secured, only to see it loose tension while fiddling with another and this seems to repeat it self for each of my four guy lines.

Piñata welcome committee
Piñata welcome committee
A dream come true...pre-installed antenna anchor points
A dream come true…pre-installed antenna anchor points

As this is a team activity and activators need chasers and visa versa I had resolved the day before on Waterman to use 40m and 2m as well as 20m. We all know that propagation is a bit of a crap shoot and so I was really happy that within moments of calling CQ I netted 4 contacts on 40m as follows;

  • K7ZO, K8TE, NG6R and W7RV

Pretty cool I thought as this peak is now activated without even using 20m or 2m.

Reconfiguring my Buddipole vertical from 40m to 20m isn’t too involved and consists of shortening the radial, shortening the antenna by 7 or 8 inches and bypassing the 40m loading coil. 20m proved really good and in stark contrast to Waterman the day before. I was amazed to make contacts out as far as New York and Maine using my heady 10 watt output. All in all I nabbed 10 contacts on 20m as follows;


and finally to help out the crew directly below and around the San Gabriel’s I managed to make 3 more contacts on 2M FM.

  • KN6CCW, KM6CEM and K6QCB

All in all my best activation to date especially when coupled with the fact that the hike in and out was really beautiful and the views from Islip, especially for a paltry ~8,200ft peak, really impressive.

Looking north-ish from Mt Islip peak
Looking north-ish from Mt Islip peak
Looking west-ish from Mt Islip peak
Looking west-ish from Mt Islip peak

There’s a partially derelict building on the peak of Islip. Not sure what it and the nicely placed antenna anchor points were originally, maybe a fire lookout station or possibly even a radio station. Nevertheless my eye was caught by two pieces of graffiti inside the building, a bit schizophrenic in nature and I’m definitely more a supporter of “love life” than “make shit happen”.

Love life or make shit happen?
Love life or make shit happen?

Years ago I was hiking on the JMT in the Sierras when I happened upon a chap that looked like Father Christmas. Being the friendly soul that I am I asked him where he had come from to which he replied, “the Mexican border”. At this point I began to suspect the chap was traveling with a few of his marbles missing and when he then told me he was heading to the Canadian border I was throughly convinced he had lost half his marbles. Poor chap, alone in the wilderness, marbles missing…… However, a little voice in the back of my head was saying PCT, PCT, PCT and I quickly realized I had met my first Pacific Crest Trail through hiker and my esteem immediately shot up for Father Christmas and I was instantly reassured in my mind that all his marbles were present. Much of the in and out to the peak of Islip is on the PCT and hence the trail is well groomed and maintained. Classic in nature, being narrow with rocks strewn along it, it winds around and up the side of the San Gabriel’s flanked by views and trees that make this is a beautiful journey in and out.

I enjoyed this activation immensely and I would like to try it again in the winter with snow shoes but that would actually require it to rain in California which seems rare these day.

The first 1/4 mile of the hike on PCT
The first 1/4 mile of the hike on PCT


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