This activation would never have happened if it were not for an awesome ham, Mark, N6IB. As I was hunting for a summit in the central California area I chatted with him on DMR (Digital Mobile Radio) several times. He was, at that time, a radio technician for the county supporting their many mountain top sites. Each site I ask about seemed to need an extreme 4×4 vehicle, helicopter, or keys a locked gate. He suggested Blue Ridge as there is a paved road all the way there and no gates at all. I looked at the SOTA page and saw the “Not Yet Activated” which concerned me. There must have been a reason no one from SOTA had not done this one yet. I never found that reason. I had a scenic trip with a wonderful activation.
From highway 190 turn on Balch Rd (36.138990, -118.807677) in Springville. You will periodically see signs for “276” during the drive. The drive took me about an hour for the 19 miles. I go slower on the single lane and rougher parts of the road. You make a left turn on Mountain Road 276 at (36.288634, -118.815725). When you enter Sequoia National Forest (there is a large sign) the road changes to a single track with blind turns so watch for other traffic. Continue up that to Blue Ridge summit 36.28689956665, -118.83959960938 (N 36° 17′ 12.840? W 118° 50′ 22.524).
I found a Benchmark PID GT1847 Altitude: 5807 N 36° 17.212 W 118° 50.383 (NAD 83) on the rock in front of the propane tank which validated that I was in the right place. This also matched my GPS and imagery information.
The mountain is a bit noisy in the RF world for 146.52 FM so I never made any contacts there. I simply could not hear anyone. You may be able to find a spot that is quieter that is still in the activation zone. There were no noise problems on the other bands. If I did not have to drive home that night I could have worked more stations. The chasers were awesome with the propagation being a bit better than usual.
There was no cell service for T-Mobile. I could not do voice, text, or data.
APRS on 144.39 had intermittent service. My theory is that the RF noise from public service radios and paging systems was overloading my Kenwood TH-D72 front end.
Because there was no cell service and no APRS all SPOT’s were done via my DeLorme Inreach SE from the Iridium satellite system.
I had a very special contact with N6IB while he was showing the new radio tech around other sites. He meet me on 446.000 FM and made a contact from the lookout on Jordan Mountain (36.18700, -118.57920). He was 120 degrees and 16 miles away from me.
Date: 21/Oct/2015 Summit: W6/SS-429 Blue Ridge Call: KB6CIO Points: 6
|15:39z||NG6R||7MHz||SSB||7.185 59/55 Palos Verdes CA|
|15:55z||W7RV||7MHz||SSB||57/55 SCOTTSDALE AZ|
|16:03z||K6WPV||7MHz||SSB||55/41 Bob Santa Maria|
|16:08z||AA7DK||7MHz||SSB||44/44 Flagstaff AZ|
|16:15z||N6IB||433MHz||FM||446.000 59/59 Mark; Jordan Mnt Look Out; 120 degrees; 9114 ft; 16 miles|
|16:24z||W0MNA||14MHz||SSB||14.285 44/55 KS Gary|
|16:27z||W0ERI||14MHz||SSB||44/55 KS Martha|
|16:33z||KX0R||14MHz||SSB||55/57 CO Teri SOTA|
|16:35z||AE5B||14MHz||SSB||22/22 Good Operator|
|16:36z||K7HLN||14MHz||SSB||33/44 MT Bob|
|16:56z||N4EX||21MHz||SSB||21.385 22/45 Great Operator|
|17:25z||KA9EOK||24MHz||SSB||24.950 55/59 Bob Wisconson FT450 40M Dipole with Antenna Tuner|
|17:39z||NE4TN||28MHz||SSB||28.385 55/55 TN|
|17:40z||W4MPS||28MHz||SSB||22/42 QSB NC|
|17:44z||KD9ANY||28MHz||SSB||44/59 Indiana Danny FT857 CB Ground plane w radials|
|17:47z||ND6M||28MHz||SSB||55/57 W TN Jim Near Battle Fields Shilow|
|17:50z||WA8PGR||28MHz||SSB||57/57 Andy 756Pro SW Michigan|
|17:55z||W8NRH||28MHz||SSB||33/58 Columbus OH 100w FT1200 Windom Doc|