Activation Date: November 6, 2015
ATT Data Coverage: Goodish
ATT Voice coverage: Goodish
APRS Coverage: Not sure
Access: Park/trail head at N34 15 00 W117 38 19
Hike stats: 12.5 miles roundtrip and 3,800′ of ascent up to 8,700′, walk on forested trail to exposed summit.
Twice in three days I found myself at Icehouse Canyon. Both times its name was true to the environment generally being cold and colder.
Scott (AK6Q, creator of Elecraft mounts/covers) and I set off and passed the now familiar cabins and headed up to Icehouse Saddle. The trail conditions had mellowed since Wednesday but the effort required was just as real; -3,000 feet ascent in 3.8 miles. You get a sense of accomplishment reaching the saddle and have the choice of five or more unique peaks. Ontario is another 2.8 miles give or take plus 1,000 ft of ascent. The trail is distinctly more snowed over and icy in parts.
We hike, we chat and ascend our trail enjoying stories of youth and everything in-between then and now. It’s great to have a co-activtor and co-hiker.
We are keen to get to our peak and see what propagation offers us today but like so many peaks it seems that the real peak is hidden beyond the one you are hiking to and so it is with Ontario. The GPS clearly indicates we have further to go but the peak we want to be our destination isn’t in front of us. We walk further and around our faux peak steadily making progress toward today’s destination. The last tens of feet into the activation seem longer than we want and we definitely feel we are earning our points today and possible deserve a few more!
The views are clear and you can see deep into Riverside, Orange and LA counties from this vantage point and maybe even San Diego county. The aptly named and distinctive Saddleback mountains jut out of the horizon and are hard to miss.
Joint activations are perilous in the sense its easy to stomp on each other’s radio work. Scott and I are both phone operators and despite efforts to pick different bands, harmonics come into play. We really had located our two antennas too close but you live and learn. I was excited to nab my first SOTA 10m contacts some of which were all the way across the US and the voice fidelity etc sounded so much better than 20m. We work our HF stations and try to our luck with 2m.
The sky is deep blue and the sun shines on us but the air is cold and with a 10-20 mile an hour wind, prioritizing antenna location over operating location is taking its toll; it’s cold and I’m getting colder!!
Much of the immediate area around Ontario peak was ravaged by a wild fire 20 years ago and its surprising how bleak the trees still look with far more denuded stumps and trunks than green ones.
We fly down the mountain passing others who are taking their time to descend and the rather more ambitious ones who are still ascending albeit in the late afternoon. Our greetings always include a reminder that it gets dark quickly and colder even quicker and not to get caught on the trail. We are chagrined in that four or so guys under half our age (well mine) manage to make it to the saddle and then back to the carpark at the same time as us. Maybe our friendly reminder of darkness offered on their way up spurred them into action.
It was a fun activation and despite being on the doorstep of LA provided a wilderness feel and work out to boot. Almost 13 miles and 4,000 feet of ascent is pretty descent.
I enjoyed Scott’s company and look forward to hiking again with him.
|19:47z||NG6R||7MHz||SSB||59 TX and 59 RX|
|19:53z||AE9F||7MHz||SSB||34 TX ad 33 RX|
|19:55z||W7RV||7MHz||SSB||59 TX and 57 RX|
|19:57z||KH2TJ||7MHz||SSB||57 TX and 56 RX|
|19:59z||NK6A||7MHz||SSB||46 TX and 53 RX|
|20:07z||KK6QMS||28MHz||SSB||59 TX and 57 RX|
|20:08z||K4MF||28MHz||SSB||55 RX and 57 TX|
|20:09z||N4EX||28MHz||SSB||57 TX and 44 RX|
|20:10z||K4YA||28MHz||SSB||33 TX and 55 RX|
|20:10z||NK6A||28MHz||SSB||59 TX and 59 RX|
|20:12z||W4MPS||28MHz||SSB||55 TX and 52 RX|
|20:14z||NP3MR||28MHz||SSB||57 RX and 22 TX|
|20:19z||W0MNA||14MHz||SSB||59 TX and 57 RX|
|20:20z||W0ERI||14MHz||SSB||59 TX and 57 RX|
|20:25z||AA7DK||7MHz||SSB||58 TX and 53 RX|
|20:36z||KM6CEM||144MHz||FM||59 TX and 59 RX|
|20:38z||K6QCB||144MHz||FM||59 TX and 59 RX|