[amsat-bb] September Mini Gridexpedition
zack.kd8ksn at hotmail.com
Mon Sep 20 14:57:15 PDT 2010
First off I wanted to say thank you for all the QSOs during my mini gridexpedition to Colorado! I made 138 QSOs on 21 passes from 3 grids in Colorado and 3 in Kansas - EM08 (KS) mobile on the way out, DM78, DN70 and DN60 portable in Colorado and EM08, EM19 and EM29 mobile in Kansas on the way back. Hopefully I got some of you a couple new grids. I have already received several QSL requests, and I will respond to these as soon as I get the cards in. Unfortunately, the cards will probably not be in from UX5UO print for 4-5 weeks. I will try to send out an email when I have a better ETA. If you would like a QSL, please send your request to my address listed on QRZ.com. An SASE would also be appreciated to help defray postage costs.
Operating conditions were very favorable for the most part of the trip. Interference from mountains was very minimal, and the weather was fantastic! I did not do much operating at the beginning of the trip, only the mobile operating in EM08. We arrived on Friday and spent the next couple nights at an RV resort south of Colorado Springs. On Saturday we ventured up to Pike's Peak (DM78), and I was able to operate one AO27 pass before we had to go down due to the thin air. My Mom overheard the interesting conclusions people were coming to as to what I was doing - "He is a Ham Radio operator"; "He is with the Air Force Academy"; "He is talking to the world". I thought these were pretty good.
The following day (Sunday) I was able to get on from DM78 for a second time on an early morning SO50 pass. It was nice to be able to work a few of the eastern stations along with K8YSE/p who was doing a satellite demo at the Findlay hamfest.
Sunday afternoon we traveled up to Estes Park in the Rocky Mountain Park and setup camp for the night at a park campground. Operating became a little more consistent over the next few days from DN70 with 13 of the 21 passes being done from this grid.
On Wednesday we took a little side trip down to Grandby on the southern side of the park to do a DN60 grid activation. I really wanted to do the DN70/60 boundary, but there was no suitable place to operate along Rt. 40. We ended up driving about a mile into DN60 before taking a gravel back road (and I mean back road) up into public land in the hills in search of a higher spot to operate. Just to give you an idea of how back road-ish it was, there were cow skeletons along the road. It was true "cowboy country". Anyway, we found a spot about a mile up the road and got set up about 45 minutes before the AO27 pass at 1929z. This enabled me to get on the 1905z HO68 pass and work a few stations. Four contacts were made on HO68 with 21 on AO27. I hope that everyone that wanted this grid was able to get it. I wanted to stay longer, but we needed to get back across the mountains (which is a 2 hour trip) before dark.
Operating continued from DN70 until we left on Friday. Friday evening I was able to get on AO27 from EM08, SO50 from EM19 and AO51 from EM29 (KS side). It was really fun to be able to work into the birds with a quarter wave mounted on the van roof. I could only hear between approximately 35-75 degrees which kept operating mobile short, but it was fun to make a few more QSOs using different equipment.
Videos of the Pike's Peak operating and the DN60 grid activation have been uploaded to YouTube (look under KD8KSN), and to my QRZ page as well. The footage was not the best, but it gives you an idea of how high Pike's Peak is, and how remote the DN60 activation was. Pictures have also been uploaded to my QRZ page.
Thanks again to everyone who supported me during this trip, and for all the contacts! I certainly hope to return to more rare grids in the future.
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