Sunday, January 4, 2015

Harold Beacon Benchmark W6/CT-126

Between the holidays, change in assignments at work, and a bad cold, I haven't been out for an activation in a while.  I tried this peak a couple weeks ago, following the directions in Dan's post (NA6MG).  On that trip, I forgot my map and had entered the wrong SOTA coordinates into my GPS.  I spent an hour driving around the numerous dirt roads.  When I got home, I loaded eight coordinates into my GPS so that I would not get lost on the dirt roads.  I also entered the correct SOTA coordinates.  The red line on the Google Earth Map below, is 3.15 miles on the dirt road.  The green line is a .74 mile hike (according to GPS) from the parking area to Harold Beacon Benchmark. It was in the mid 30's when I arrived.

The coordinates for the parking area are N34° 31.786' W118° 09.375'.  From the parking area, follow the STEEP trail up to the ridge and go left (S/W) along the ridge.  After the initial steep climb, it is an easy walk along the ridge.

After the steep climb, follow the trail to the summit.  Here is the final approach to the summit.  An easy stroll after the steep climb.

On the summit, I saw three Los Angeles County survey markers.

Roxy wasted no time settling in for the activation.

I used this bush to support the 16' "Black Widow" pole.  I think next time, I will have the matchbox positioned at the lower end of the slope.  I have set it up both ways and it doesn't seem to make much difference.

With the recent rain/snow and winds the last couple weeks, there were some great views.  Here is a view of Sierra Pelona W6/CT-116.

There were also views of the California Aqueduct and Lake Palmdale.  Lake Palmdale is a private fishing lake for members of the Palmdale Fin & Feather Club.

It is hard to see in this photo, but in the extreme distance just below the far off mountain, I could see the windmills near Tehachapi.            

Here is a view of the ridge from the summit.  The second photo is from the top of the steep trail.  The photo doesn't do it justice.  When I had finished hiking down the steep trail, which was more difficult than going up, two motorcycles stopped at the top.  I was impressed as one by one, they coasted down the trail without falling.

Radio conditions were less than ideal yesterday.  I had 10 contacts on 20m from all over the country and one on 2m.  Not sure what happened, but when I put up the 40m antenna and posted a spot, no one could hear me.  I heard NA6MG, Dan (Southern California), and W7RV, Tom (Arizona), but they couldn't here me.  No contacts on 40m or 12m.

Thank you to all chasers and spotters!

2m - KA6AIL