Black Mountain SOTA activation 2020/06/27 (Field Day)

Black Mountain SOTA activation 2020/06/27 (Field Day)
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Continuing with my SOTA exploits. This time my target was W6/NC-150, Black Mountain located in Rancho San Antonio county park near Cupertino, CA. The summit is accessible via 11.2 mile out and back PG&E trail. Elevation gain is 3146 feet. Beware of poison oak, ticks, rattlesnakes, mountain lions and feral software engineers wandering into the park from Silicon Valley.

I have already tried to activate Black Mountain few months ago but was not able to copy call signs fast enough. Was fairly optimistic about the activation this time as I expected quite a few folks to participate in the Field Day contest. Also I can copy a tad better now.

The plaque at the start of the trail

The plaque at the start of the trail

Temperature in summer often reaches 100 F and more. There is some shade in the lower part of a trail and some trees on the very top but most of the time you are fairly exposed - sunscreen and a head cover is a must.

Getting there

I recommend to hit the trail early as Rancho San Antonio parking fills up by 8:30 AM on weekends. Park parallel here and go to the PG&E trail trailhead on foot.

In the hills

In the hills

The first section of the trail crosses gently rolling hills.

The crossroads

The crossroads

After crossroads the trail starts to climb more sharply, generally closer to the summit it gets progressively steeper and more rocky but does not turn into a scramble.

Power line. Moffet field and hangars

Power line. Moffet field and hangars

As you climb a nice view of Silicon Valley, Moffet field and the Bay opens.

Activating Black Mountain W6/NC-150

The antenna

The antenna

Set up my rig in a shade and started calling CQ. Was able to activate quickly - bunch of folks were contesting so getting my four mandatory QSOs took less than five minutes.

Stations worked:

Time UTC Call sign RST sent RST received Frequency Mode Location
19:30 N1CLC 599 599 14.060 CW DM12KW
19:31 WB7VTY 599 599 14.060 CW CN95ai
19:35 WB5USB 599 599 14.060 CW DM65rc
19:35 K6HPX 599 599 14.060 CW DM42lf
19:56 AD7KG 599 599 14.060 CW DN40an
19:56 N5RZ 599 599 14.060 CW EM00mj
20:05 NW6P 599 599 14.060 CW CM86xh

Again not much luck on VHF/UHF - heard a lot of people but they didn’t hear me.

Silicon Valley and the Bay

Silicon Valley and the Bay

Close to the top

Close to the top

The quarry and Silicon Valley

The quarry and Silicon Valley

If you feel like it you can bump the difficulty a notch up and do a loop using the trail on the other side of the canyon to get back to the parking.