Vollmer Peak – W6/NC-298 – 2018

Activation Date: 28 July 2018
Transport: Hike Distance: 1.25 miles
Elev. gain: 220ft Time: 20-25 minutes
Rig(s): VX-2R Band(s): 2m FM
Antenna(s): 12.5-inch whip
Cell Service: Strong (T-Mobile)
Parking: Seaview Trailhead
Trailhead: Vollmer Peak
Fees/Permits: None
Route: Vollmer Peak Trail
Dogs: Yes Toilet: Yes
Antenna Support: Trees
RF Noise: Moderate

After attending the Bay Area SOTA meet-up, I still had time to do a quick activation on the way home. Keeping with my clockwise trip around the Bay Area to avoid traffic and tolls, I chose Vollmer Peak. It’s a quick east-Bay summit with the parking a little over a half-mile from the top. It turned out to be a little bit of a rough activation!

Getting There

Drive to the parking lot where the “Seaview Trailhead” is.  The two times I’ve been there, parking wasn’t an issue—even on the weekend.

The Hike

It’s a very short hike. I still haven’t tried taking the road to the top, since I prefer single track trails whenever I can find them.  The trailhead for the Vollmer Peak trail is at the end of the parking lot.

Trailhead for Vollmer Peak

On the way up, there’s a view of the Bay.

Looking NW toward Marin

Arriving at the top, I decided to go back down a little bit, to be in the shade and use some nice high tree branches to set up my HF antenna.


I got out my end-fed half-wave antenna, tied my arborist’s weight to the end and threw it up to a branch about 35-40 feet off the ground.  I was pretty proud I’d gotten it on the first throw.  But then trouble started.  It was kinda snagged.  I tried wiggling it loose to get it to drop. No-go.  I tried pulling it back over—it just got stuck some more.  I pulled a bit harder and the antenna wire broke where it ties to the rope.  I stood there for a couple of minutes, trying to figure out how I might get my throwing weight and cordage back. I even briefly considered climbing the tree.  In the end, I decided I’d have to leave it there.  Maybe I’ll figure out a way to get it back at some point!

Cordage and throwing weight claimed by the tree!

I then went back up to the summit and worked on making some VHF/UHF contacts.  I wanted to make sure I at least tried to get S2S contacts with a couple of the guys from the SOTA meetup.  The RF conditions on this summit were a bit challenging for my VX-2R with its wide-open receiver.  With some work, I managed to make it happen!

Activation Log

Time Call Band Mode Notes
19:39z AA6XA 144MHz FM S2S
19:44z K6ABM 144MHz FM S2S
19:48z W6BSD 144MHz FM
19:49z K6EL 144MHz FM
19:51z W6KCS 144MHz FM