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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 is a short video at: Summit Video ( https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/p6gl8ZmlTqTltydZUB4-TCzkN2fbZqw8ymGnlOjHSRM?feat=directlink )

There are also many pictures at the end of this blog.

LOGS:

Date: 19/Oct/2015 Summit: W6/CC-045 Mt. Diablo Call: KF7URE

Time Call Band Mode Notes
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
20:13z K6EL 14MHz SSB 59/59 Elliot
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
20:42z N1GB 21MHz SSB 57/57 VT
20:44z K4MF 21MHz SSB 55/44 Florida
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.

 

Date: 19/Oct/2015 Summit: W6/CC-045 Mt. Diablo Call Used: KB6CIO Points: 2

Time Call Band Mode Notes
18:49z KK6BNJ 144MHz FM 146.52 55/59 Steve Valley Springs
18:56z WB6DTB 144MHz FM 59/59
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
22:04z W6PZA 144MHz FM 59/59 Ron
Parking Lot 2

Parking Lot 2 Summit Museum

Parking Lot 2

Parking Lot 2

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Mount Diablo Summit Museum

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Benchmark inside

Benchmark inside

Plaque on observation deck

Plaque on observation deck

View from observation deck of summit

View from observation deck of summit

KF7URE Lee with KB6CIO Bob

KF7URE Lee with KB6CIO Bob

KF7URE Lee

KF7URE Lee

KB6CIO Bob

KB6CIO Bob

KF7URE (Lee) Backpack

KF7URE (Lee’s) Backpack

Elecraft KX3, Microphone, Power Cable.

Elecraft KX3, Microphone, Power Cable.

Mast bungie corded to dead tree

Mast bungie corded to dead tree

30 foot mast with 30 foot antenna

10 meter / 32+ foot mast with 35.5 foot antenna wire

9:1 UNUN with 25 feet of coax and 25 ft counterpoise wire.

9:1 UNUN with 25 feet of coax and 25 ft counterpoise wire.

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25 ft coax which is the counter poise running to KX3

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LifePO4 Battery Pack

LifePO4 Battery Pack

A view from the summit

A view from the summit

A view from the summit

A view from the summit

A view from the summit

A view from the summit of the museum

North Mountain (another summit)

North Mountain (another summit)

A view from the summit

A view from the summit

8 young adults climbing a rock below us.

8 young adults climbing a rock below us.

A visitor

A visitor

KF7URE Lee and KB6CIO Bob

KF7URE Lee and KB6CIO Bob

 

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