Mount Diablo Activation: Great Family Activity

It’s been a thrill to discover this community and it has been a joy to discover that my 6YO daughter has gotten very excited by the concept of “points” and is no longer takes any convincing to get out and do some summit hiking!

On April 23 we tried to activate the double peaks (w6/cc-045 and w6/cc-051) of Mount Diablo in California but failed to do so because I neglected to pack the coax. There was some work being done on the local tower by a service team who generously offered to let me look through the back of their truck but they only had massive industrial coax. I was worried this would deter the YL but she was just happy to tell everyone about how we couldn’t activate because daddy forgot to pack the cable. She was then very excited to make and use a checklist for our second attempt.

We started camping at the “live oaks” campground which is nice and shady and not too exposed and near the very fun “Rock City” with many great scrambles and caves.

At the campground in the evening ran our first POTA (K-1176) and our first QSO was turned out to be another HAM who has just done the double peek SOTA and now running a POTA in the same park. After we got the ball rolling my ham in training got on the mike and ran a good 10 QSOs on her own.

We ran this POTA with a TS-590sg and a home built EFHW (got the YL to wind the torroid and do a little soldering) and were really happy with the performance. Reached out as far as georgia despite the campsite being down in a valley.

On sunday we got an early start up to the parking lot below the Mount Diablo summit and did the short hike up to the peak. It was a beautiful day with the lower land around the peak veiled in fog. We initially tried to set up (with park ranger permission) on the observation deck with a mag loop and a xiegu 5100, but the metal railing wreaked havoc with the SWR and it was very windy and exposed.

We moved down to the end of the trail just on the other side of the (possible for drive-up) parking lot and set up in a sheltered spot. We were only able to log two contacts and it was fairly cold, so we decided to hike over to the north peak (W6/CC-051) and try our luck there before coming back to the Diablo peak.

The hike over was beautiful on the summit trail with some very steep sections on the final approach to the north peak. My YL was responsible for bringing the antenna, tripod, and of course moral support.

At the north peak the actual summit is nestled between two radio towers so after a lunch there we found a spot as far from the masts as possible but still be within the “summit zone” We fired up the xeigu and mag loop and were able to fairly quickly activate the summit including several summit to summits and summit to parks. We kept the activation short because the wind was quite strong so we began the hike down. There are some beautiful formations just next to the peak as well, one of the few times I have encountered formed crystals in the wild.

For the return hike, we decided to take the more direct return route to the Diablo peak following a trail running of the spine of the ridge. It was a trail I would not recommend for descent. There was a great deal of loose rock likely due to the heavy winter rains. We got quite filthy scrambling up but had a great time.

We returned to the Diablo summit and got set up again, but this time decided to try CW. The YL has been learning an she took over the key to get us the remaining contacts to activate the summit! Very proud, these were her first CW QSOs. Still need to work on her copy but thanks for the patience of the chasers who helped us activate!



Be sure to tell your YL that Ken says she has a nice CW fist!
Love those crystals!

BTW, Mt. Diablo is well known to puddle-jumper airplane pilots; it is THE landmark for getting back to the bay area from over in the big valley.
All Best,

Anthony, in each of your first three SOTA activations, the first chaser was WW7D. But, the North Peak log has him as WW7P… probably due to handwriting? To fix that, go to the database, then logs, then click the eye, then the pencil symbol, and do the fix.

Elliott, K6EL

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Thanks for the S2S! Glad we were able to catch you. See ya next time…



Thanks Ken! She’ll be thrilled!

Thanks for catching this, I’ll review the log tonight and make the fix. YL was running the log for us this time when she wasn’t on the air :slight_smile: