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Owen's Valley mobile operation

Howdy all,
    Every year I co-ordinate the cummunications support for a 5 day bike
ride from the Bear Mtn. Ski Resort in Big Bear, Calif. to the Mammoth
Mtn Ski Resort in Mammoth, Calif.  This year I decided to try to operate
satellites from some of the grid squares along the Eastern slopes of the
Sierra Nevada mountains.  It was my intention to announce my schedule
via this mailing list in advance, but I was so busy getting ready for
the ride that I did not do so.  I did however mention on several
satellite passes my plans so at least some people knew in advance of my
    The plan was to take my Yaesu FT-736 and power it with a 300 watt AC
inverter from my truck.  For antennas I used Ho-Loop antennas from M2
with a ARR GaAsFET Preamp mounted at the 70cm antenna.  From tests I had
done at home, those seemed to work as well or better than anything else
I had tried.  For pass prediction times I brought a laptop with Nova for
    Wednesday 10-11 the ride began in Big Bear, but I did not take the
effort to set up the station because it was snowing.  Time prevented me
from getting operational until the second evening of the ride in
Ridgecrest - DM15eo.  This is where the first problem was encountered.
I was unable to power the 736 with the inverter.  I'm not sure if it was
being overloaded or RF got into it, but whatever the reason, the
inverter would shut down whenever I tried to transmit.  Since I had real
AC power available, I just plugged into the nearest wall outlet and made
4 contacts on one UO-14 pass before I had to get to bed.  I decided that
I needed to build a DC power cable for the 736 since most of my
operating would be while on the road and I would not have AC power
    We left Ridgecrest too early Friday morning to get into the Radio
Shack there.  This was a bit unfortunate as it prevented me from
operating from DM16 which I really wanted to do as it's a pretty rare
grid (there is not much of anything in DM16).  Just to make life worse,
my temporary power wiring to the preamp shorted and burned up - don't
forget to fuse even temporary wiring.  Friday afternoon the days ride
ended at Lake Diaz near Lone Pine.  Unfortunately I got to town about 15
minutes after the Radio Shack store in Lone Pine closed.  Saturday the
riders rode to Bishop where I was able to get into the Radio Shack there
before it closed.  I was able to get the parts to build a functional DC
power cable for the 736 and replace the burned wiring for the preamp.
The first decent pass was too late for me however.
    Sunday morning everything was ready to go and I was able to position
myself at a fixed location at a time when both AO-27 and UO-14 were
going to go over (unfortunately at the same time).   AO-27 was a higher
elevation pass so I operated that bird.  I worked 4 stations.  On the
next pass I had crossed into Mono County and UO-14 was higher so I
worked it and got 5 stations on that pass.  Monday I was heading home
and made 5 contacts on 2 separate UO-14 passes.  I really wanted to try
again to activate DM16, but it would have meant waiting around for over
an hour and I really wanted to get home.
    All in all, it was a somewhat sucessful trip from a satellite
operating standpoint, but I decided I need to improve my receive
capability.  Here is a list of the stations I was able to contact from
each location.  If you need a QSL card from any of these locations,
please send me a SASE (my wife is complaining that I'm spending too much
on postage).  Those of you that have already sent QSL cards can
disregard the SASE.  Stations marked with a "*" I have received your QSL
card.  I will do my best to get cards out next weekend.  Dates and times
in UTC.

10-13  UO-14  Ridgecrest, CA  Kern county  DM15eo
    K6YK,  KA6MZE,  N7SFI,  KC0COU

10-15  AO-27  Near Bishop, CA  Inyo county  DM07qk
    KF6GYM*,  W6ZQ*,  N6EMP,  N7SFI

10-15  UO-14  Old Sherwin Grade, CA  Mono county  DM07qm
    K6YK,  N7SFI*,  N8KXA,  N6EMP,  KJ6JO*

10-16  UO-14  Lake Diaz, CA  Inyo county  DM06xn
    N7SFI,  K6YK,  W6ZQ

10-16  UO-14  Red Mtn, CA  San Bernardino county  DM15ei
    K6YK,  N7SFI

Looks like Randy wins the prize for contacting me on every pass I was
able to work.

Jim Walls - K6CCC
626-302-8515    FAX  626-302-9999
AMSAT member 32537 / WSWSS member 395

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