Friday, September 12, 2014

Cerro Noroeste W6/SC-001

I am still recovering from a strained calf muscle and wanted to do an activation today.  As I can only do limited hiking, I needed to find a summit that I could drive most of the way.  With high temperatures in the LA basin, Cerro Noroeste at 8300 feet, seemed liked the perfect summit.  I left my house at 5AM and was at Forest Road 9N27 at about 6:30 AM.  From the 5 fwy, exit Frazier Mountain and drive towards Pine Mountain Club.  Turn left at Forest Road 9N27 (N 34 51 666 W 119 12 575), about three miles past Pine Mountain Club.  Follow the nicely paved road to the end at Campo Alto Campground.

As I got to the Forest Road very early, I did some geocaching along 9N27, picking up twelve geocaches.  The top picture was within 100 feet of my activation site and contained an arrowhead.  The bottom picture, the largest of the caches I found, was placed by a Boy Scout troop.  As one of my sons is an Eagle Scout, I had to find this one.  Brought back a lot of good memories of camping and backpacking with him.

Shortly after entering the Forest Road, I came to an open gate.  I was happy to see it was open.  If you come up during the winter, I would call the Ranger Station to make sure the gate is open.  At the top is Camp-O-Alto.  There is no charge to camp, but you do need an Adventure Pass.

There are several camp sites with tables in the activation zone.  There are also clean restrooms (clean by remote campground standards).  I was surprised that on a Friday, there was only one family camping.  There was orange tape across the top of each fire pit, prohibiting fires, due to the extreme fire danger.

There are plenty of trees in the area that will support an antenna.  I used the tree to the left of the table to support the matchbox end of my End Fed half wave antenna.  I used a tree to the north to support the other end.  My rock throwing is getting better and I had the antenna up in no time.  I used two antennas today, a 20m and a 40m.

By the time I finished setting up, Roxy was already settling in for her nap.  There was no verizon coverage, so I spotted myself via APRS from my HT.  I knew conditions were going to be difficult today and I was a little concerned when no one answered my CQ.  After a few minutes, Gary, W0MNA, came on the air and had me at 2/2 from Kansas,   Chasers began to trickle in and I was relieved when I had four contacts.  There was a lot of noise on 20m.  40m was better and I made a Summit to Summit with WN6E, Martin, who was on Betha Peak, W6/CT-054.  I did try 2m with no luck.    I am a member of the PAPA System and we can hit repeaters in most areas from the border to north of Santa Barbara.  I usually try to hit a repeater when I am out just in case of emergency.  No luck on the PAPA System, but I was able to make the Catalina Repeater.

There were some nice forest views from my activation site.  I was enjoying the cooler weather and in no rush to go home where it would be hot.

As I was packing up, Roxy was ready to go home.

As I headed down the hill, I stopped by this deserted ski lodge to check for a geocache.  After a lot of work, I found the cache.  It was fun exploring this place.

The drive up towards Cerro Noroeste provided some nice views of the surrounding mountains.

When out on a SOTA adventure, always be aware of the extreme fire danger in our mountains.

Although conditions were difficult today, I had a great time on Cerro Noroeste.  I am looking forward to coming back for a camping trip.  Thank you to all chasers and spotters!



Summit to Summit - WN6E 40m - Bertha Peak, W6/CT-054


  1. Mike, I am glad to see you had a good activation. I would have expected nothing less from "the most interesting man in the world."

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