Getting up to Mount Diablo is a wonderful drive that takes about 1 hour. From exit 39 Diablo Road, exit off the I-680. There are other approaches that will get you there too. On the drive up stop at the entrance gate to pay $10 for a day pass for this state park. There are large parking areas at the top with restrooms. We went up to the observation deck to scout for a path to the actual designated summit that is just below. Back to the parking area we discretely ducked under the railing and took one of the well worn foot paths to the clearing. Periodically during the activation, other people came past us on these paths. The summit is at 37.88159942627, -121.91380310059 with an elevation of 1173 meters (3848 feet).
When we were done with the activation, we spent some time in the visitor center exploring. There is a historic benchmark inside the center on the exposed bedrock. This is PID HS5120 at N 37° 52.902 W 121° 54.849 (NAD 83) Altitude 3864 feet.
T-Mobile phone service was marginal with just a few SMS intermittent text messages. There was no voice or data service. APRS was working great. I used my DeLorme Inreach for SPOTs via Iridium satellites for myself, KB6CIO, and my brother Lee, KF7URE. This was my brother’s first SOTA activation. Propagation was very good so he had many contacts. From time to time we had to take breaks to recover from the mini pile ups. We really enjoyed the view on this sunny day. The diligent chasers worked patiently giving Lee 26 contacts as I logged and “elmered” him. Three of these were S2S (Summit To Summit) thanks to the incredible coordination done by our chasers.
Some equipment notes: We used Lee’s (KF7URE) equipment for the entire activation and brought mine as a backup. His LifePO4 Battery Pack only had a 44% charge as his charger had failed. I was impressed as we ran 10 watts for the entire activation and never had to change to my battery. The antenna was a 35.5 foot insulated stranded 18 AWG wire on a 9:1 UNUN made by EARCHI. The Elecraft KX3 does an instant and excellent job with it’s antenna tuner unit to achieve satisfactory SWR. We used 25 feet of coax as a counterpoise and an additional 25 ft wire attached to the ground lug. The mast was a 10 meter / 32+ foot pole by PackTenna held to a dead tree with bungie cords.
Using the clearing along the ridge of summit below the visitor center, one drops slightly east, thereby causing poor line of sight transmission and reception on 2 meter VHF into some sections of the Bay Area. To get better transmissions and reception, we recommend making your 2 meter VHF contacts from upper parking lot that has a clear view of the Bay Area, then drop down to clearing to set up HF contacts.
There are also many pictures at the end of this blog.
Date: 19/Oct/2015 Summit: W6/CC-045 Mt. Diablo Call: KF7URE
|18:50z||KK6BNJ||144MHz||FM||146.52 59/59 Steve Valley Springs|
|18:54z||WB6DTB||144MHz||FM||59/59 Dave Oakley|
|19:09z||K6EL||7MHz||SSB||7.185 55/55 Elliot|
|19:11z||K6WFV||7MHz||SSB||55/53 Bob Santa Maria|
|19:16z||NG6R||7MHz||SSB||59/53 Palos Verdes|
|19:17z||K6CMG||7MHz||SSB||33/22 Chris Long Beach Airport|
|19:18z||W6JMP||7MHz||SSB||59/54 El Dorado Hills, CA|
|19:19z||NS7P||7MHz||SSB||44/44 Phil ELMIRA, OR|
|19:26z||KH2TJ||7MHz||SSB||59/52 PORTOLA, CA|
|19:29z||KH7SS||7MHz||SSB||59/43 WHITEFISH, MT|
|19:35z||WB0USI||7MHz||SSB||59/52 ROSEVILLE, CA|
|19:50z||K6WFV||7MHz||SSB||59/59 Bob again in Santa Maria|
|20:11z||N7KRN||14MHz||SSB||14.280 59/59 Washington State|
|20:16z||KF7JQV||14MHz||SSB||59/59 Bob Olympic Penn|
|20:17z||KJ6NHF||14MHz||SSB||55/58 Ground Wave|
|20:18z||W0MNA||14MHz||SSB||33/33 Gary Kansas|
|20:20z||VE7KBN||14MHz||SSB||55/55 British Columbia|
|20:21z||W0ERI||14MHz||SSB||33/33 Martha Kansas|
|20:26z||NK6A||14MHz||SSB||55/55 Mt Tamalpias W6/CC-063 S2S TNX! K6EL coordinated this!|
|20:28z||KD0YOB||14MHz||SSB||14.346 44/44 CO S2S TNX! W0C/PR-137 Delaney Butte|
|20:41z||AC1Z||21MHz||SSB||21.385 59/57 New Hamshire|
|20:46z||KB1HXO||21MHz||SSB||22/22 Ken Massachusetts|
|20:51z||K6EL||21MHz||SSB||59/59 Elliot Mt Davidson W6/NC-423 S2S TNX! He went up after working us from home.|
|18:49z||KK6BNJ||144MHz||FM||146.52 55/59 Steve Valley Springs|
|19:09z||K6EL||7MHz||SSB||7.185 Elliott 33/55 QSB|
|19:10z||K6WFV||7MHz||SSB||Bob Santa Maria 55/53|
|19:24z||K6CMG||7MHz||SSB||Chris Long Beach Airport 33/33|
|21:58z||KA6GND||144MHz||FM||146.52 57/51 Larry|