Grid Expedition to DM17

Sparsely populated maidenhead grid square DM17 straddles the Nevada/California border and is home to the infamous Area 51. The red X is Magruder Peak in the Palmetto Mountains were I plan to set up with some good eastern exposures.

The Weekend of MAY 21 & 22, 2022

Over the years as I began to fill up my HF log I noticed that some of the maidenhead grid squares were harder to contact. I began to wonder about the lonely places in this country and my imagination was fired up when I would make contact with these remote quadrants. What was life like out there?

This question was the seed that germinated the idea for this expedition.

The green indicates grid squares that I have worked and confirmed. The yellow squares are grids I have worked but no confirmed. The white squares are grids I have never worked.

Because this is to be more than a SOTA run to a couple of summits and because I want to make contact with my fellow hams in the PODX 070 Club via PSK-31, I needed more gear than I would bring to a summit. I will be using my K3/100 and a 68′ multiband dipole along with an external Asus Xonar U3 USB soundcard

Here is the setup on a trial run on Frazier Mountain, That’s the Scarlett 2i2 on the left instead of the Xonar U3

Another big inspiration for undertaking this endeavor has been watching the “gridpedition” of fellow 070 club member Dick Rohrer KC3EF. When Dick vacations with his wife, Kathy drives and Dick operates 20m PSK through sought-after grid squares. I always enjoy filling in a few new grids and I get a kick out of following Kathy and Dick in their adventures. It sounds like something I would like to do in conjunction with my SOTA activations.

UPDATE MAY 8, 2022

It looks like the tentative dates are going to stick. We plan on leaving Topanga Canyon Friday, May 20, 2022 and driving as far as we can that day. My nephew is going to ride shotgun and do the camera work for the little movie I hope to produce from this adventure.

This route assumes that California Highway 168 is open through the White Mountains. If not, we will head over Highway 6 into Nevada.

Less than one week to go. Last weekend I took all the gear up to Frazier Mountain to give all the digital gear a trial run. I forgot several things and worked out quite a few bugs in the operation. The main problem was that my new laptop needed a more reliable power source than the AC outlet in my Tacoma. I found an old Coleman AC inverter around the shack here and coupled that with a Bioenno 40ah LiPO battery. I was running the sceen at 50% brightness to save the battery but that made it very hard to see in the bright mountain environment.

I also forgot my Asus Xonar U3 external soundcard but I have double redundancy there with a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 that I pressed into service. I also could’ve used the laptop’s internal soundcard. Pays to have a few different ways to play!

A big thank you to Rick N7WE for helping me to establish a link back to the PODX 070 club while I am the hinterlands were cell service is unlikely. Rick has been extremely helpful. Also thanks to Barry VA7GEM for offering to do west coast duty.

Trip Report May 26, 2022

The “gridpedition” was wildly successful and a whole lot of fun. I’ll have a full report in a few days but, in the meantime, enjoy the video. Turn up the sound!

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