Through the Snow to Kratka Ridge

My XYL and I did the climb and I activated Kratka Ridge W6/CT-014 in the Angeles National Forest for 8 points + 3 for winter bonus on Dec. 3rd. The hike to the 7,515’ peak was almost 100% snow covered by 1 to 3 inches of crusty & sometimes slippery snow. (What were we thinking?) It is about a one mile climb with hardly any flat spots, so mandatory breaks were required occasionally. Hey, I just hit six decades and I can’t say my XYL’s age, but we were high school sweethearts one year apart in graduation :slight_smile:

(Sheri found the perfect Christmas tree on the way up):grin:

One hour and 36 minutes later the reward was a great tree covered peak, sunny skies and no wind!

The sun had melted all of the snow up top, so it was dry and super comfortable! The temp was probably in the fifties, but it felt like 72 in the sun. We ate some lunch and I set up my Buddiepole style vertical for 20 meters and fired up the Yaesu 857D on 15 watts (yeah, I know, it’s an Anchor… a KX3 is dreamed about).

I checked the SOTAWATCH page for other activated summits for S2S. I saw one on 14.343 but I couldn’t hear or raise him. I went to post a spot and then Yikes, No, No, No!!! I lost all cell service!:scream: (T-mobile stinks!:stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: Time for an APRS radio :slight_smile: ) I called a few CQs on my “alerted” freq of 14.337, but no takers. Looked around and I hear VE6VID (Malen) calling CQ SOTA on 14.343 from a 6,000’ summit in Alberta, Canada. We connected S2S 53(me) & 59! I asked if he had internet so he could post a spot for me on 14.337. He didn’t have internet but a couple chasers came on simultaneously and said something about posting. I announced a QSY to 14.337 so I could give Malen his freq back. On .337 W0MNA Gary answers my CQ and tells me he posted my spot. What a great guy, thank you Gary!! Next up my QRZ gets answered by Gary’s XYL, Martha WOERI. Gary & Martha are so dependable, never met them but I’d give them both a big friendly kiss on the cheek if I did! OK, not Gary, just Martha… haha! And, in case you didn’t know, Martha recently hit 100,000 chaser points! HOLY TRANSISTORS Martha, that’s Awesome!!!

So Gary & Martha started a huge pile-up for me that resulted in 18 more contacts, including JH1MXV in Japan and another S2S from KC4WZB (Joel) in Georgia. Not bad for 15 watts. Several contacts were in the greater (or not so great) LA area, all sounded like they were right next to me, 20-30 over. Usually we would go over the top of each other this close on 20 meters. Maybe the signals were smog bouncing? After 14.337 quieted down, I freq surfed and answered a CQ for contact #22 and then it was time to hit the trail before the snow got harder as the temperature started dropping as the sun was lowering (why does it always do that when you’re having so much fun?)

I have been doing SOTA since June of this year and this was one of the most fun and gratifying activations yet. Thank you again Gary for posting my spot, and thank you to all chasers for the fun contacts! Thank you SOTA organizers and managers for all that you do! We love the program, the mountain peaks, the challenge of ham radio, and all of the great people we are meeting due to this fun hobby!

73, Climb on, Rock on!

Ron - Kilo-Six-Charlie-Papa-Radio out!



Great talking to you Ron.
Kudos to your YL and you for the hike and activating, especially with the load you carried.
I had internet when standing and when I got seated I too lost it. I started to scramble up to gain internet again when I heard a few chasers volunteering to spot you. One thing I love about SOTA is the support given to the activators while we are on the summits. Gary has been there for me as well.

I hope to talk again S2S with you.


Glad I was able to get you spotted. Always fun to work Kratka Ridge. Glad you had a good pile-up. Thanks for the contact and SOTA points.

Gary A. - W0MNA


I saw your spot on Kratka but I was too late getting on to work you and 20 meters ground wave to my QTH in Granada Hills might have been difficult anyway. Kratka is one of my favorite peaks as I have done it three times and usually spend 3 hours up there because of the view, sun, and its protected area. So it was nice to see your photos. My last trek was on 1/12/2018 so I will have to wait until 2019 to try it again and hopefully in the winter. The snow for me was similar to what you described with about 2 to 3 inches but I used MICROspikes on my boots to prevent from slipping. I always use APRS to spot myself with the D72 HT and worked 53 stations on 2, 17, 20, 30, 40, and 60 meters both SSB/FM and CW with a KX3 to a 29 foot random wire. Hope to get you on an S2S some day.

Scott WA9STI

Saw ya on the alert from Menifee (W6/CT-216). Tried but no bueno. Did manage to grab Malen (VE6VID)… Maybe next time?


You bet Malen! I don’t think I’ve had any S2S my last few activations, so it was great getting two!
RRR on doing S2S again!
73, Ron

W0MNA Gary,
Thanks again Gary for posting and spotting me. My heart really sunk when my phone lost all service, especially since I had service most of the hike.
73, Ron

Great advice on the microspikes. My hiking boots were pretty grippy, but Sheri slipped a couple times. I want to get a multi-band antenna going like you. I’m working on a popular one now that just won’t balance on the 3 bands it is suppose to, so I keep hauling the 10 lb vertical up the hills. Ditto on S2S, and I checked my log, I’ve chased you twice, both this past August. Great to hear from you!
73, Ron

Yes I did! See above.
73, Ron

I’ve used a Buddipole in a vertical deployment often and found it pretty straightforward to go from 20m to 40m by adding a loading coil and extending the length of the counterpoise. I like to offer 20m and 40m QSOs to catch local and distant operators.

FWIW…the San Gabriels are a good place for 2m FM operation.

Well done on the activation!

Paul W6PNG

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Thanks Paul. Yeah, I’m trying to get away from the vertical, as it’s too heavy for longer hikes. I would like a 40M coil for it though, for general field ops. Do you know of any good sources?

RRR on 2M FM for the San Gabriels. I posted on my alert that I would have 146.520 on, and I had one call, but I was too busy enjoying my 20M pile-up to answer him!