Sandia Crest

The Kiwanis Hut in the activation zone south of the RF maelstrom that is the actual crest

29 JANUARY 2022 W5N/SI-001

Back in 1989 my then-girlfriend wanted to show me her little Adobe in north-central New Mexico. As we drove through Albuquerque for my first time, I looked up to the majestic Sandia Crest and realized I wanted to go there. On the many subsequent trips with my now-wife to her little casita we never seemed to find the time to make the trip. This winter we decided to make an extended stay in the Land of Enchantment and it seemed the perfect time to make my long standing dream come true with a 10 point activation plus winter bonus.

The Sandia Crest is a number of sedimentary layers of rock sitting on a granite batholith that was uplifted in the Rio Grande Rift over the last 10 million years. The top rimrock is characteristically slick limestone.

There was quite a bit of snow on the way up Sandia Crest Road off Highway 14 but the road had been plowed. There was a sign that said chains were required past the Sandia Park downhill ski area. I had just purchased a new pair and I keep them in the truck.

The hike from the Ellis trailhead is only about a half mile and only about 300′ of elevation gain.

The summit is very broad with many trees suitable for antenna supports. There is a hut — the Kiwanis Hut that sits on the edge of the western scarp. The views over Albuquerque are absolutely breathtaking.

Many others have warned about the RF saturated environment and how this phenomenon overloads the front ends of some radios. My Yaesu FT-5DR had very spotty APRS coverage but my cell phone had good coverage from Verizon.

As usual, I forgot something. This time it was a pretty critical gear bag that contained my logbook, pens, pencils and a bunch of antenna stuff. I had to MacGiver a feedline from the Packtenna and use my cell phone’s recorder to log contacts. Apologies to all the faithful chasers for a somewhat discombobulated activation. Thank you all for chasing!

The Albuquerque Trailheads — a local hiking group at the Kiwanis Hut
The station was socially distanced in the trees on the east side
The station
The spectacular view south along the western scarp
Albuquerque and the Rio Grande River valley

Published by wringmaster

I'm a graphic artist in the movie business. When I was a kid I got interested in astronomy. When it would get too cloudy to observe the heavens, my buddy and I would sit at the VFO of his Hallicrafters S 38c like safe crackers trying to coax faraway signals out of that humble radio. My love of astronomy and radio survive to this day fifty+ years later.

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