Maidenhead grid DN12 is very sparsely populated. Here is a lonely stretch Highway 95 looking south.
13 MAY 2023 W7O/SE-007
|Vehicle:||4×4 high clearance suggested|
|Cell Coverage:||Excellent (Verizon), No APRS|
The main reason I selected this summit on my wanderings to New Mexico is that grid square DN12 is seldom activated – especially in the PSK31 mode. So I was looking for a drive-up that I might reasonably set up a 100 watt digital station and hand out as many endosements to the PODXS 070 club members as I could.
My original plans called for setting up a camp and spending the night, however after shattering a tent pole the night before on Winnemucca Mountain in high winds, I scratched that idea as the winds persisted and it looked like rain might move in. Apologies to the 070 folks who were unable to reach me on this one.
W7IMC suggested from his 2014 activation that 4 wheel drive was required. I found the route I took to be in reasonably good shape. It’s the kind of road I used to drive with my rear wheel drive passenger cars. I don’t suggest that, but — and this is a big but — if this road is not muddy, snowy or icy, it’s actually a pretty good road that accesses the communications facility. Just remember you are in the middle of nowhere, but with good cell coverage.
I did encounter a stretch of snow on a section with a bit of a drop off on the right. It took a few tries to safely pass by. the photo below is on the way down after it had melted quite a bit. There was also a stock tank crossing that was pretty muddy. I was glad to have Whitedog the 4×4.
The view at the top is spectacular. Steens Mountain (9,733′) dominates the northwest. The plains of Idaho go on seemingly forever to the entire east. The Oregon Canyon Mountains command the southwest. This is beautiful country in a very austere way.
Weather was perfect as I set up. Rick N7WE in Florida and Barry VA7GEM in British Columbia coordinated with the PODXS 070 Club as they did on my “GridPedition” to DM17 two years ago. Thanks guys! Strangely cell coverage was excellent but APRS was nonexistent.
As I worked the bands the wind began to pick up again and cumulus clouds started moving in from the east. I didn’t get to stay as long as I had hoped because I just didn’t want to risk driving down a muddy road. This turned out to be wise because it poured after I got back on pavement. I had 4 summit-to-summit contacts kicked off with my SOTA partner-in-crime David N6AN on Cerro Negro Benchmark back home in the Los Angeles Basin. Christian F4WBN in France got the DX award and I was very happy that Rick N7WE managed to pull me out of the waterfall gibberish. He was a respectable 459 on my end.
All in all this grid/SOTA activation was a blast! Thanks to all who participated. I heartily recommend getting out and doing whatever kind of activation you might be comfortable with.
Here is the previous day’s activation of Winnemucca Mountain and grid DN11
Leave a Reply