W6/SD-016 & W6/CD-013

Yesterday I decided to take advantage of the “Summer Bonus” in the desert section and headed to the Mojave Desert. First up was Kokoweef Peak W6/SD-016. I was surprised that temperatures at 5:30 AM were just shy of about 80 degrees F or 27 degrees C. The beta provided by @NA6MG was spot on, and the activation went perfectly. Kokoweef Peak is actually a pretty cool summit - the mountain itself is a mine, and although the hike to the top is a slight bushwhack, it traverses over several open mineshafts and has some awesome looking cacti. This summit was a unique for me and pushed me over “100 Uniques” in the SOTA Program. On the top, I was rewarded with awesome SOTA DX: 9A/IZ3NVR. I almost had a completed QSO with a station in GW land but the rolling QSB made it just hard enough to prevent that. After making about 22 contacts, I headed back.

Next, I headed to Teutonia Peak W6/CD-013. By 9:00 AM PST, the temperatures had already climbed to just over 100 degrees F or 38 degrees C. The hike to the top was along a well-marked trail, and my activation there was also a success with about 21 contacts.

As an aside, if you are interested in a fascinating story about the Mojave Desert and a remote phone booth that used to be located just west of Teutonia peak, I’d highly recommend checking out the NPR interview and listening to the audio of the interview. You can also Google “Mojave Phone Booth” and find more about the topic.

After taking in the scenery from Teutonia Peak, I headed back and thought I would activate one final summit, so I headed over to the Kelso Sand Dunes. The Sand Dunes are slowly migratory, but have about 650 feet of prominence from the surrounding desert floor, and are in fact a 2 point SOTA summit (with 3 bonus during summer months). Unfortunately by then the temperatures climbed up to about 111 degrees F or 44 degrees C. That heat was too much for me and after taking a few photos, and slamming two bottles Gatorade I headed home.

This Sand Dune is a SOTA Summit! W6/CD-019. All previous activations have been in the winter to early spring for a good reason!

In all this was an excellent expedition. Although it was a little hot at the end, I did appreciate the summits I was able to activate. I am learning to enjoy the desert sections more with every activation there.

Thanks to everyone who chased me, this was a great SOTA day with lots of contacts and a good experience.


Great recap and photos David. When I saw you on Sotawatch I thought “Really, the Mojave Preserve in August just for 3 bonus points?” However, the Mojave is an awesome place anytime of year. At least it’s a dry heat!

Tried to chase you but seem to have issues receiving from areas out that direction.

73! Ted

1 Like

Went through the Mojave in July a couple years ago. That in itself was a chore. To have done 2 activations in August is quite commendable!

1 Like

I’ll try to fix my malfunction :rofl: Although Kokoweef had a nice summit and I could have set up 40m easily, I was in a time crunch with the rising sun. On Teutonia Peak, I climbed one of the stone buttes and the summit area was quite small. The 20m EFHW was perfect given the space, and I wouldn’t have been able to run 40m. I’m actually considering getting one of those small verticals by Elecraft (I think?) with their small QRP tuner so I can work more bands on a small summit area. I am also going to start experimenting with a random wire and the Elecraft T1 ATU for that same reason. I think on the more technical peaks it is easier to focus on climbing and a successful activation whereas running up to like Islip or something allows for more band flexibility. I’m still trying to find that balance :grin:

This terrain and heat reminded me of areas in Afghanistan (Helmand Provence). I might try to do a couple more out there before the desert bonus window closes. It is nice activating 6 pointers like their 9s. You definitely pay in sweat and waking up early though.

Thank you for your service

1 Like