Saturday, September 13th: Every once in a while a blind hog finds an acorn and such was the case with Brushy Face. Brushy Face has been inactive as long as I’ve been involved in Summits On The Air and as such it was one of those summits that I secretly hoped no one would attempt and I would one day be able to claim it as first-activator.
Brushy Face presents a challenge in that the summit is on private property. In fact, someone’s home sits right atop of the summit:
When I had originally scouted Brushy Face, I was new to SOTA and unfamiliar with a lot of the rules and regulations regarding activating a summit. I thought my only alternative would be to knock on someone’s door and ask if they’d mind if I erected an antenna in their driveway for a few minutes. In fact, there are ways that this summit could be activated so long as I was within 80 vertical feet of the summit, which is what I did.
Getting There – Driving
You’re gonna have to use your GPS. I’m too lazy to type up directions for this summit.
This summit sits within an non-gated neighborhood. There are a twisties with steep roads but if our Prius can get up there, then your vehicle shouldn’t have any excuses. I parked in the cul-de-sac at the end of Upper Brushy Face Road. There is a small water tower mounted with several radio antennas and a radio shack, all painted green. You’ll know it when you see it.
I had reservations about setting up shop and activating without first talking to someone. Luckily the house in the cul-de-sac was having a party so I interrupted a couple of folks to tell them what I planned on doing and ask if they’d have a problem with it (they didn’t). Truth be told, they looked like they were having such a good time, I’d rather have hung out with them than play radio.
Hey, just being honest.
Getting There – Hiking
You might have already figured out that I drove all the way to the top of Brushy Face. Past the top, actually. So after finding out that I wouldn’t be stepping on any toes, I hiked down 80 feet outside the activation zone and returned to the cul-de-sac. It’s someone level at this point on the mountain but it isn’t long before it becomes steep so you won’t have to walk far.
NorCal Doublet made from 22ga speaker wire, suspended from a ~31′ Jackite fiberglass pole in an inverted-V formation.
The trees up here didn’t really cooperate with stringing up an antenna and I didn’t want to lolly-gag fussing with tossing wire into the trees so I secured the top of the lower section of my pole to the roof rack on the car and securely placed the foot of the pole in the corner of the floor board. From there I raised the antenna and weighted down the ends of the micro-cord I have attached to the end of each wire of my antenna.
I had Verizon 3G here so I spotted myself via the SOTA Goat app. I didn’t expect that I’d actually be activating this mountain so I didn’t drop any alerts prior to my arrival. Several minutes into calling CQ and I thought this would be my undoing. I called CQ for 4 minutes after spotting before I made my first QSO and it was another 5 before my second. I’m obviously getting too used to having folks waiting on me hand and foot when activating — so waiting more than a couple minutes is a bit unusual in my experience.
I managed 2 QSOs on 40m before moving to 20m. It was late in the afternoon and I was starting to get worried that I wouldn’t obtain the 4 QSOs I needed for this to be a successful activation. In-between switching bands I saw a couple other active summits being spotted so I tuned the dial in that direction but never heard them. I collected 5 more QSOs on 20m before shutting it down due to weather.
My SOTA station:
I don’t believe the area in which I was to be private property and would have probably been able to get away without asking for permission — but I played it safe and asked anyway. Your mileage may vary.
If you’re an Alex Loop operator, this would probably be a very quick summit for you (minus time/effort taken to hike out of/in to the activation zone). Next trip I’ll probably bring a Buddipole just to make antenna set up a bit more convenient.
My apologies if I were short with anyone there at the end. I had grey clouds overhead and it began sprinkling. The rain ended up holding off until later in the evening but I didn’t want to get caught in the rain with my radio gear unprotected.