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Summit recommendations along tourist routes in W6/W7A/W7N?

Hello all,

in October I will be travelling along some common tourist routes in California, Nevada and Arizona. My family will join me on this trip (I have to show them around :wink:), so there won’t be as much time for SOTA as I’d like, but the opportunity to do a few quick activations in new associations would be too good to pass up.

Our (preliminary) route will take us from San Francisco along the coast to Santa Barbara, then through Death Valley to Las Vegas, via I-15 to Lake Powell, from there to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, and finally to Los Angeles via US-66/I-40.

As there will be older family members who aren’t big hikers, I’m looking for recommendations on easy summits along the route. Here is my wishlist:

  • Short hike (< 1 hour round trip) from where a rental car can take us
  • Easy path with little elevation gain (say, 300 ft max.)
  • Fence post or similar available on summit for quickly putting up an antenna pole
  • Nice views or other attractions to keep the non-hams in good spirits are a plus

Any recommendations on summits that more or less fit these criteria would be very much appreciated. Of course also any other must-sees/must-dos that I may not have thought about :smile:

I’m looking forward to many QSOs with chasers (or maybe even activators!) I’d never have a chance to work during activations in Europe!

vy 73,

Manuel HB9DQM

Manuel, Just a bit NE of San Francisco is Mt Diablo W6/CC-045. Very easy and a nice view.

73, Hans PB2T

Rental car? You can go anywhere in that! That’s almost as good as your friends 4x4 :wink:

W7A/CN-013, near the Grand Canyon, is an easily accessible summit. See wikipedia and related links for more information.

I’ll be looking for your alerts!

73
–Chris K7TAB

Are you going to stay in Flagstaff or Williams Arizona? Lots of easy ones around if they aren’t snow covered.

Pete
WA7JTM

Thanks, Hans @PB2T and Chris @K7TAB for the pointers, that’s exactly what I was looking for!

Pete @WA7JTM — yes, we’ll most likely stay in Williams AZ. I guess the activation counts are the best indicator to find easy summits :smile:

73,
Manuel HB9DQM

Many easy ones near Williams…Bill Williams mtn, Beacon Hill, Moore BenchMark. Bill Will might be a drive up if no snow…Beacon is a short walk.

Pete
WA7JTM

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Thanks again to all for the inputs – the trip was a full success, and I thought I’d share my experiences here in case someone else is looking for the same thing and stumbles upon this thread in the future.

I ended up activating the following summits:

  • W6/NC-423 (Mount Davidson)
  • right in the middle of San Francisco
  • ~25 minutes walk from Forest Hill metro station
  • very nice views
  • relatively few people (compared to e.g. Twin Peaks)
  • line of sight to a huge area/population, plenty of QSOs on 2m with the handheld
  • W6/CC-045 (Mount Diablo)
  • drive-up about two hours from San Francisco
  • very high prominence => excellent views
  • quite crowded
  • W6/ND-144 (Dante Benchmark)
  • 10 minutes walk from Dante’s View parking lot in Death Valley
  • nice views
  • despite a crowded parking lot there was nobody else at the actual summit
  • W7N/CK-227 (Lone Mountain)
  • 20 minutes drive from Las Vegas strip + 20 minutes uphill hike
  • good views of the city
  • seems quite popular with the locals
  • W7U/WS-124 (Shinob Kibe)
  • located a few driving minutes away from the fastest route between Las Vegas and Page AZ (Lake Powell)
  • 20 minutes uphill hike
  • W7A/CN-013 (Grandview Benchmark)
  • about 1.5 miles from the Grand Canyon South Rim road
  • drive-up, unpaved, but suitable for normal cars (or just walk from the paved road, as I did)
  • very flat and huge AZ
  • lookout tower at summit (uppermost section locked)
  • refreshing getaway from the crazy tourist crowds in Grand Canyon National Park
  • W7A/CS-038 (Beacon Hill)
  • 15 minutes drive + ~20 minutes hike from Williams AZ

On Mount Davidson, Elliott @K6EL came to visit me on the summit shortly after our QSO, which was very cool of him!

I was mostly activating in the afternoon, so Europe DX didn’t have much chance, but I got a contact to ZL1BYZ once, and on an early morning activation worked SA4BLM and heard (but not worked) HB9AFI.

Equipment was a KX3 with internal NiMH (to avoid Lithium security check issues), an AlexLoop, and an EFHW with a 10 m pole.

All in all these were not activations to be particularly proud of, with little hiking, but my duties as family tour guide didn’t allow for more. I will definitely return to W6/W7 some time, with more radio gear and SOTA as a top priority :slight_smile: There is so much to explore (and activate) here, it’s unbelieveable.

73,

Manuel HB9DQM

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