SOTA: W6/CT-225 (Flint Peak)

While visiting some friends in the Los Angeles area, I had an afternoon free, so I visited one of the many SOTA peaks within a short drive of their house: Flint Peak.

 

According to Google Maps, there is a service road that goes right to the top, but it’s not that easy. East Glenoak Boulevard runs upwards, but the public portion of the road ends just beyond the School Canyon Golf and Tennis Club. There is a fence across the road at this point with signs that indicate that the site above is private property and not open for hiking.

I read through some posts from other activators who had been successful and followed their advice to approach the site from the other side. Figueroa Street ends in a cul-de-sac, but a fire lane continues from that point. Since the curb is painted red, I took that as a hint to park somewhere else and parked around the corner on Marengo Drive.

Signs at the base of the fire lane warn that the area is at high risk of fires, although LA has recently had drenching rains and everything is uncharacteristically green.

A path winds up towards a right of way for high tension power lines. As I crested the hill near the power lines, the buzz was loud (but turned out not to be an issue when I was operating a relatively short distance away).

After the power lines, the trail winds down again until it joins up with a paved road, near a sign that says “Radio Lateral”. I’m not sure what that means, but it sounds good.

The road goes to the entrance of the antenna farm and there are a few pine trees near the entrance to the facility to the north, but I did not want to really hang out in view of the facility. Instead, I took a deer path straight up towards the grassy hill on the east side of the hill. There are some relatively tall brushes here, and I tossed the antenna into one about five meters tall. It stretched downward to a feedpoint in another bush, about 2 meters up.

I hooked up my coax, laid out my jacket as ground cover, and worked HF with the radio sitting on my knee. I had posted an alert, so when I started transmitting on 20m and 40m, I was autospotted by the reverse beacon network via RBNhole. I ended up with 15 CW QSOs on 20m and 9 on 40m. At that point, I plugged in the mike and worked one SSB contact on 20m, and two on 2m. I did try calling on 10m and 70cm, but no response on either.

There is a power line in the photo above and tried to avoid pitching the antenna too near it. Despite these power lines and some even bigger ones down the hill, I did not encounter much background hum. Likewise, the presence of big FM and microwave antennas in the facility did not seem to impede HF or VHF operation in any way.

Checking my log, looks like I made contacts with the following states and provinces: AL, AZ, CA, CO, FL, ID,  KS, MS, NM, OR, QC, and TX.

This is an easy peak to get to from LA (presuming you have a car or take something like uber to get to the parking place I mentioned). A support pole would be a big help here, although I managed with a low end-fed antenna.

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