Monday, July 10, 2017

W6/NC-400 Bald Hill

Bald Hill was the second peak on my SOTA Sunday in Marin, after Pine Mountain. I hiked in from the north side, starting at the Deer Park Parking Area and Trailhead. Park, then walk south around the Fairfax-San Anselmo Children's Center. There were signs indicating this area might be closed during school hours. On the other side, turn left at the football field. On the left side there is a trail that climbs up to the ridge. I didn't have a map, so I went straight here and climbed up a ways before I realized my mistake, and had to turn around.
Main trail on the right. Turn left here, and on the left side of the field is the trail up.
This trail, the Deer Park Trail, is closed to bikes and gently climbs to the ridge via a series of switchbacks. Just up from the intersection with the fire road is another junction. If you take the path to the right you can avoid some extra climbing that the fire road does. On the other end of the trail, take the road to the summit. Maps label it as the Worn Spring Road. Like the name implies, the summit is bald. There are no antenna supports, so I set up my pole and doublet and got on 30 meters. After a few CQs I quickly got four stations. I went up to 20, but there seemed to be a lot of activity, so I called on 40 meters instead. I quickly found that any metal left in the sun got very hot. I had to keep my paddles in my shadow so they'd stay cool enough to use. I also put my water in the shade of the small bush so it wouldn't get so hot.
Mt Tam behind my station. Maps claim the peak on the right is the highest by a few feet.
After a few contacts I went to VHF. KI6JJW across the Bay answered my CQ, and we had a long QSO after switching up to 220 then 440. With his beam I was able to run on the lowest power setting, about 0.5 watts on 440. After talking with him, I think there's something up with my radio on 220. He said 220 is usually quiet, but my Kenwood is usually noisy on the band.
On the way down.
I was getting hot, so after we said 73 I packed up and headed back to the car. There was still plenty of light, so I headed over to the Tiburon Peninsula to activate that peak.

Trailhead: Deer Park Parking Area, Fairfax-San Anselmo Children's Center.
Website: SOTA Site.
Maps: AA6XA SOTA Hikes map.
Route: Deer Park Fire Road. At the field, left to Deer Park Trail. At the ridge, right on Buckeye Trail and Worn Spring Road to the summit.
Red Tape: None. Parking area may be closed during school hours, when the kids are around. If this is the case, it looks like there is also access from the south.

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