Monday, March 20, 2017

W6/NC-191 El Sereno

This is a fairly easy peak near route 17, south of Los Gatos. The drive to the trailhead is long and winding up Montevina Road. It was not busy on Sunday morning when I went, so I didn't have to share the 1.5 lane road with many others. Just before the gate at the end there is a pull-out opposite the last driveway. Park here and head up the hill. There is a junction a quarter mile down the road, but continue straight on the Montevina Ridge Trail. When you get to the top, the trail flattens out. It is densely forested, so you probably won't find the actual highest point. Find a spot on the side of the road to set up. This open space preserve is popular with mountain bikers, so make sure you don't get run over while operating.
Looking down the road from my operating position.
There are lots of trees, but they are all short, so I found it was easier to just use my pole to hold up the antenna. Like my activations yesterday on San Bruno Mountain and Mt Davidson, the bulk of the chasers were on 30 meters. I had a long QSO with W6JL, who answered my first CQ. He then claimed the frequency right after our 73's, so I had to move and re-spot. Sorry to any chasers who saw my first spot. When I switched to 20 meters, I heard a Mexican station call CQ right before I was about to, so I tried to work him, but he didn't hear me, then a number of loud stations moved it, so I moved on.

I had some success on 2 meters, working three people, and none on the higher VHF/UHF bands. This was the first summit in a long while where I've not gotten colder sitting on top. I think this means the cold and rain are nearly done for the season. In all I made 17 contacts. It seems that I always get fewer than 20 contacts. Maybe next time I'll try for more than 20.
View on the way back. 

Trailhead: Top of Montevina Road. There is a pullout on the right side with space for a few cars.
Website: SOTA Site
Maps: SOTA Hikes map
Route: Stay on the Montevina Ridge Trail until you reach the highest area. This mountain has a broad, flat summit, without an easy to find high point. I believe it is also possible to hike up from downtown Los Gatos. This is popular mountain bike route, I believe.
Red Tape: None.

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