[amsat-bb] XE2/WD9EWK last weekend, QSL cards

Patrick STODDARD (WD9EWK/VA7EWK) amsat-bb at wd9ewk.net
Wed Aug 4 14:17:47 PDT 2010


Last weekend, I made a quick trip to Mexicali in northern Baja 
California.  I had a couple of vacation days I needed to use, and I 
wanted to see my friends out there.  I had not been there since February, 
and in particular I wanted to see how things were since the Easter Sunday 
earthquake that hit that area in April.  I also had about 3 weeks left on 
my 6-month XE ham permit, so I took the opportunity to work some passes 
while I was out there.  

This trip was the first time I took my all-mode satellite station (two 
FT-817NDs) into Mexico.  I did not do this on my trips earlier this year 
and in 2009 to Mexico, and wanted to try out the SSB birds from there.  
I used the same bag that I carried my radios in when I went to Canada 
for the radios this time, to keep things a little more organized if 
Mexican authorities were interested in what I had in my truck.  That 
worked out very well, as I received the red light when I first entered 
Mexicali last week.  Mexico uses a red/green traffic light to "randomly"
determine if a Customs inspector will take a look at you and your vehicle
and other stuff, and I had to allow a Mexican Customs inspector to look 
through my truck.  After the quick look, including seeing my bags with
radio gear and my Elk log periodic antenna laying disassembled in the 
back of my truck, I was allowed to enter Mexico without any further 

Thursday (29 July) started out with the 4-hour drive from Phoenix to
Mexicali, and working an AO-27 pass shortly after crossing into Mexico.  
I parked at a shopping mall less than 2km (about a mile or so) southeast 
of the downtown Mexicali border crossing, and worked an AO-27 pass from 
grid DM22gp at 2039 UTC.  I logged 11 QSOs, and probably lost a bit of 
weight in sweat from the humid 115F/46C heat.  

After working that pass, I met up with David XE2DAK, and we decided
to make a quick trip south of Mexicali onto the Laguna Salada dry
lakebed just across 32 degrees South to grid DM21.  As we were reaching 
the southern edge of Mexicali, we stopped in grid DM22hn for the west-
coast AO-27 pass around 2221 UTC to make 6 QSOs.  Then we continued the 
drive to grid DM21. 

Once we parked at the same spot I used in February, along route 5
connecting the border with the seaside town of San Felipe further to 
the south, I worked an AO-51 pass just after 0000 UTC followed by an 
FO-29 pass as XE2DAK took pictures and video.  Twenty contacts were 
logged on AO-51, and then 5 more QSOs on the FO-29 pass.  David and 
I saw trucks with Mexican Army soldiers going north on the highway, 
including one very-well-armed Humvee, but nobody stopped to ask what 
we were doing on the side of the road.  When those two passes wrapped 
up, we returned to Mexicali for the evening where we met up with Alex
XE2BSS/N2IX and Larry KI6YAA.  

On Friday (30 July), there wasn't much operating.  I was with Alex
XE2BSS/N2IX and his family in Mexicali for the day, and I did not try 
working satellites until late in the afternoon.  From the "Ciudad 
Deportiva" (Sport City) athletic complex near the USA border in Mexicali 
(grid DM22gp), a place I worked from in 2009, I worked an AO-7 pass 
followed by an FO-29 pass. Two QSOs on AO-7, and 5 on FO-29.  Not too 
bad, considering AO-51 was down at this point and I wasn't planning to 
stay there for later passes.  Larry KI6YAA and Larry Jr. KI6ZXU came 
over to see me work these passes, and KI6YAA took video of those passes.
I also received the XE2/KI6YAA QSL cards from his trip to DM10/DM11
on the Pacific side of Baja California the previous weekend, a very
nice bonus.  :-)  

Saturday (31 July) was my last day in Mexicali.  Another hot day in
the desert valley out there, around sea level, and I worked only one
pass.  AO-27 was going by in the mid-afternoon, and I was giving 
another demonstration for local hams in that area at XE2DAK's house
(grid DM22go).  Ten QSOs went in the log on this pass.  A few hours
later, I crossed back into the USA and drove home that evening.  A
quick, and fun, trip.  :-)  I will post some videos on YouTube from
this trip in a few days.  Thanks to all the stations that made 
contacts with XE2/WD9EWK!  

QSL cards... I am finishing up the design of all the QSL cards from
my Canada trip last month, and now will add the printing of additional
XE2/WD9EWK cards from last weekend.  I have received many requests for
VA7EWK QSLs, and a few requests for XE2/WD9EWK QSLs.  I will attempt 
to mail all of those cards in the same envelope, and I hope to start
mailing them out in the coming week.  There is no need to send me an
SASE, but I do appreciate them when they show up with the QSLs.  I *do* 
want to receive QSLs for VA7EWK and XE2/WD9EWK, to see how close I can 
get to various awards while operating from these two countries.  

July 2010 was definitely my busiest month for travel with satellite 
operating, with 1879 miles (3024km) of driving in Canada in addition 
to the distance covered by the flights between Phoenix and Vancouver, 
followed by 679 miles (1091km) of driving on the 3-day trip to Mexicali.  
And many grids - 9 from Canada, plus DM21 and DM22 in Baja California.  
Maybe not a record in terms of numbers of grids (ND9M's trip earlier
this year will have that covered for a long time!), but certainly a good 
way to get some that are not normally heard in the log.  It was a fun 
month, and I have already started thinking about potential destinations 
for "road trips" later this year and in 2011.  



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