I recently took a trip with Dave, N6DL and Rick, WB6VFZ, to the radio hilltop called Santa Rita Peak. This peak is located north west of Joaquin Ridge, which is just north of Coalinga and just about due east of another ham / commercial site, San Benito Peak. Joaquin Ridge used to house the 147.33 Mhz W6IYY repeater, but due to many unsolvable repeater interference problems, a new site (this one) was developed. This site also holds the K6ARP (ex KE6TCY) digipeater. It once was on 145.01 Mhz, but is now on 144.390 Mhz. The digi runs an GE MVP radio and a PK80 with Paccomm tnc200 5.0.0 software. Software settings are listed here. Here are a few pictures of the site.
This is a view from the high point of the hill, looking north. You can see another user of the hill with microwave dishes on their tower. It also appears that the State of California has a remote weather station on this hilltop too.
This is a view of the ham radio vault on Santa Rita. It was made from an old military comm box.
The top view is from under the door of the vault. The digi antenna is a Comet antenna (looks all metal) with a bend in the middle. A few of the radials (only one is left) are missing too! I need to see if repair parts are availible for this antenna. Do you have a phone number for Comet antennas? We were going to climb up there with the ladder you see, but the wind was blowing and it was about 40 degrees outside.
Here is a view of the old radio and TNC that makes up K6ARP. The radio is a Icom 25A, running about 15 watts. The new radio is a GE MVP radio, which I need to get a picture of. The tnc is a AEA PK80, which is a TAPR 2 tnc, revision 2 clone. The software in it is Paccomm 5.0.0. The ICOM radio has a nasty habit of reverting to 146.010 mhz when the power goes away (thats why we have a crystal controlled GE now!). This radio is run from a 12 volt battery bank, along with all the radios and goodies on the hill. A separate gell cell is being looked at now to retain just this radio's memory incase the AC power fails. A charger from the AC line keeps the main battery bank charged.
The hilltop is in a highly minerialized zone. There are Asbestos mines in the area. The rocks look odd, and when the soil gets wet, its really slippery (thats a nice way to describe it -- WB6VFZ...) Here is a picture of one of the rocks I picked up. It doesnt look quite as impressive as it does in person, but you can see some of the swirling thats in it.
If you have any corrections, please email me.
Photos by Byron, WA6YLB 7-9-00. Page made by Byron WA6YLB. 12/28/97. Last modified 12/21/05