There’s gold in them there hills…activating PT-7940 W6/CT-060, September 28, 2015

Summit: W6/CT-060

Activation Date: September 28, 2015

ATT Data Coverage: Spotty

ATT Voice coverage: Not sure but presumed to be spotty

APRS Coverage: Not sure

Hike stats: 1.5 miles roundtrip and staggering 138′ of ascent up to 7940′, walk on dirt road and exposed summit.

Gold is so intertwined with California’s history, even our school kids could probably tell you about 1849 and its so significant we even named a football team after it!!

California’s gold story is ostensibly centered on a region east of Sacramento in the foot hills of the Sierra Nevada mountains and a ramble along highway 49 is really worth the time. So when (re-) planning the route to PT-7940 I was intrigued by the history of Holcomb Valley (epicenter of Southern Cal’s largest gold rush) in the San Bernardino mountains and upon arrival discovered that PT 7940 is actually located on the edge of an active gold mine!!

Holcomb Valley..horses grazing, houses on left and only 40 of so miles from 10+ million people!!
Holcomb Valley..horses grazing, buildings on left and only ~40 miles from 10 million people!!

Having parked the trusty Jeep, my first hint this would be a different activation was being confronted with a sign that video surveillance is active here in the middle of nowhere (well almost). Bit strange….

Video surveillance in the middle of nowhere
Video surveillance in the middle of nowhere

The next clue this is all quite a different activation is the ever increasing audible warning sounds of dump trucks backing up. I wonder if i’m going to be overrun by a dump truck on this trail. I sally forth and the road wiggles round offering up a vantage point to look back and see a modern day “strip” mining operation. Maybe super small on scale, maybe operated by hobbyists…who knows but its a genuine gold mine of soughts.

Looking over a modern day gold "mine" south east and toward Mt Bertha
Looking south east over a modern day gold “mine” toward Mt Bertha

A lonely weather beaten and lifeless tree trunk marks the peak of PT 7940 and its singleness is a fitting symbol to this activation.

My station setup starts with “surveying” the area and trying to determine the best antenna deployment to get this activation’s target chasers; for 40m its the LA basin and AZ/NM and for 20M its the mid US and east. The low elevation of the end fed relative to the hill had me worried that my paltry 12 watts SSB would be lost in the immediate locale but to my happy surprise 40m hummed and I netted my largest ever 40m chasers including Dave C (KG5EIU) in TX (1,200 miles!!) and Daniel D (NA6MG) who had helped me plan out these 2 days of San Bernardino activations.

My LNR and me "preying" to the cellular network to get my self spot out.
My LNR above me and me “preying” to the cellular network to get my self spot out.

I’m really loving the LNR 40/20/10 trail friendly antenna. Its exceeded my expectations on 40m and I’m looking forward to trying 10m one day. VK1NAM suggested via a comment that we try 10m and from Cal to Aus and that would be a noteworthy QSO for this beginner!!

Time Call Band Mode Notes
16:17z KG5EIU 7MHz SSB 47 TX and 45 RX
16:18z K7ZO 7MHz SSB 53 RX and 56 TX
16:18z W7RV 7MHz SSB 57 TX and 56 RX
16:19z WA9STI 7MHz SSB 57 TX and 57 RX
16:19z W7USA 7MHz SSB 37 TX and 55 RX
16:20z AA7DK 7MHz SSB 56 TX and 35 RX
16:21z K8TE 7MHz SSB 47 TX and 53 RX
16:22z N7AMA 7MHz SSB 46 TX and 45 RX
16:22z NG6R 7MHz SSB 58 TX and 53 RX
16:23z NA6MG 7MHz SSB 47 TX and 53 RX
16:26z NE4TN 14MHz SSB 47 TX and 44 RX
16:30z W0MNA 14MHz SSB 47 TX and 45 RX
16:31z W0ERI 14MHz SSB 47 TX and 45 RX
16:31z W4DOW 14MHz SSB 46 TX and 44 RX
16:32z N1GB 14MHz SSB 44 RX and 44 TX

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