Dan Koellen AI6XG
Signal Hill (7751) W6/NS-393 Activation
Updated: Dec 14, 2020
Looking east from Signal Hill, Donner Lake is in the background and Lake Angela in the foreground
Summit Trip Summary
Distance: ~ 2 mi one way
Elevation Gain: 675 feet
Time: ~1 hour one way
Route: Via Donner Ski Ranch Service Roads
Access: Donner Ski Ranch, Old 40 Bar and Grill
Parking: ~10 cars at Trailhead, more room at Old Donner Pass Road or park at Donner Ski Ranch
Bands/Modes: 20 mtr - CW, 40 mtr - CW
Antenna: zip cord 20 mtr dipole
Antenna Support: Mast on Metal Pole
Cell Service: Good (Verizon)
RF Noise: High Noise
Signal Hill (7751) is a ski summit with some room for activation, most of the peak is filled with cell and microwave transmitters. The view to the east looks over Donner Lake and Lake Angela. It is a relatively short hike so there is plenty of time for activation and maybe more hiking or another activation.
Since I activate Mount Lincoln in the morning and tackle Signal Hill in the afternoon I parked at the PCT Trailhead. If you are only activating Signal Hill then you could park at or near Donner Ski Ranch, there is plenty of room in the summer.
I ask permission in the Old 40 Bar and Grill to go on the Donner Ski Ranch service road , they never seem to care. Follow the service road up to the summit following the map, there are some other turnoffs that you don't want to take. The road gets pretty steep near the summit. You may encounter a few other people on the road including cell service personnel.
On the summit there are buildings, transmitters, towers and antennas. Otherwise it is pretty barren. On the east slope there is a metal pole in the ground that I use to attach my mast. The RF noise is high but does not prevent you from making contacts.
Simply return the way you came back to the trail head.
Signal Hill does not get its name because of the cell and microwave towers. It got the name because it was used as a vantage point to signal the trains on the railroad that crosses Donner Summit.