Tuesday, May 30, 2017

W6/SC-155 Mt Bielawski

Mt Bielawski is along Skyline Drive in the Santa Cruz Mountains. It is almost a drive up, and easy to get to from Castle Rock State Park. When I went on a Sunday afternoon, the Castle Rock lots were all full, so I continued up the road and parked on the side at the road closure (2017).
Road going past the summit.
From here it is about a quarter-mile walk up the hill on the west side of the road to get into the activation zone. There was a fence marking the edge of private property which I followed to the high point. Here I set up, lashing my pole to a fence post. There are a lot of trees here, and I could have gotten the antenna higher with a little effort. I had enough service to send out a spot, but it was not reliable. As I made three HF contacts, the mosquitoes started to attack. More calling didn't give any results, so I turned on the HT. There was a QSO going on between two stations, one on a Chabot 2 Benchmark, so I waited for them to finish then got my fourth contact with AB6SO. I think I have the most summit-to-summit contacts with that hill. The bugs were getting bad at this point, so I packed up and got moving.
Operating area.
To get here from the Castle Rock parking, you can walk along the road, or there is a trail on the east side which you take, then bushwhack up into the activation zone. Neither option is difficult. I recommend going when there aren't any mosquitoes, so not in the spring.

Trailhead: Castle Rock State Park.
Website: SOTA Site.
Maps: KB1KXL SOTA Hikes mapCastle Rock SP map
Route: Follow the road, then hike up into the A.Z.
Red Tape: None. Castle Rock lot fills up and it can be hard to find parking. Go early to avoid this, or park far away and hike in.


  1. I'm thinking of activating this from within Castle Rock State Park. The AZ seems to extend all the way over to the trail north of the summit. Might be more pleasant than bushwhacking!

  2. I don't think the AZ extends to any trail. All the maps I've looked at show the AZ is only on the South / West side of Skyline Drive. The forest in this area is open, its not hard to travel off trail here. Maybe you could operate from one of the roads that surround the summit, if they're in the AZ.