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SOTA Activation: Occidental Peak, Los Angeles County, California - January 29, 2016

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On midwinter trip to Southern California to visit family, once again we set aside time for several SOTA Activations.  This report details the Activation of Occidental Peak, very close to the famous Mount Wilson Observatory.  I has previously Activated the adjacent San Gabriel Peak, and had observed Occidental close by.

Access to Occidental Peak is vis the Mount Wilson Observatory Road, a paved road generally open year around.  Mount wilson Road itself is accessed via SR 2, the Angeles Crest Highway.  From where we were staying in Burbank, CA, it took about an hour to drive and arrive at the TH location.  Just look for the thousand foot red & white antenna, and park across the street.

The weather was mostly sunny, but increasingly windy.  We started the hike along right side of gate / fence.  Follow closely by or just below the fence line, all the way to a Helipad.  Proceed straight and slightly downhill from west end of Helipad.  The trail is a boot beaten path, but generally easy to follow.  There are a couple small areas with a little exposure and crumbly rock.  It took about 55 minutes to reach the summit.  The summit formation was as described by other Activators.  A narrow slot amongst the scrub trees & brush that afforded opportunity to set up my HF antenna.  In 30 minutes of operating I managed a total of 10 contacts, split between 40M SSB & 2M FM.

On the return trip the wind was picking up substantially,  we could also see more high level clouds starting to filter into the San Gabriel Mountains.  Within 2 days, Southern California was hit by a very powerful El Niño event with winds in excess of 70 MPH in places, and very heavy rains.  This event impacted out SOTA outing to Joshua Tree Nationa Park a few days later. 

Thank you to all my Chasers and Contacts!  I worked: W6FHZ; WA1NER; KW6MYK; KB6WWI; KM6CEM; KK6QMS; KB6CIO; KX6A; N6HEG; WI7E.