SOTA: El Sereno (W6/NC-191)

A race with the sun to activate the fifth peak.

I had pushed for five peaks in one day, trying to break my previous record of three that I had managed last year in France. While I got into position on El Sereno and made a contact, I did not manage to get four, so this peak does not count as a SOTA activation.

Other activators have described approaching this peak from the south, coming up Montelvina Road and continuing past a gate where the road becomes a trail. Given my route, I thought it made more sense to approach from the north along Bohlman Rd (37.217803, -122.031633), the other end of the trail. It’s probably not as nice a hike, but seemed like the best way to land five peaks during my own free day in the area. 

Google took me right to not quite the end of Bohlman road, where I encountered this sign:

In fact, the road seems easily navigable by car beyond this point and I suspect this has more to do with finicky neighbors not wanting traffic near their houses. Nonetheless, I parked to the side of the road just before the sign and continued onward. A trail continues downward and to the right just past the sign, goes past a microwave station, and continues to the trail head proper at this gate:

At this point, the sun was getting pretty low and the sign on the gate says the trail is open only until a half hour after sunset, so I hurried onto the trail and pitched the end-fed antenna into the tree. The activation zone is broad, so I didn’t walk too far. I fired off CQs on 40m and 20m and was picked up almost immediately by the reverse beacon network, with signals more than 20dB above noise on both bands. Despite that, I had only one reply. I have to assume that the lack of contacts was more due to lack of listeners at that particular time of day than a matter of poor conditions.

So, I ended up with five peaks visited and four activated, so not too bad. I turned the rental car around and headed back to San Francisco.


One thought on “SOTA: El Sereno (W6/NC-191)”

  1. The fun approach is from down town Los Gatos. It is about a 3.5 mile climb through 2400 feet, approximately. Best done on trail bike, but a hike would nt be bad. You have to get the trail head via Overlook drive.
    Brian N6IZ

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