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My AO-40 portable adventure in Nevada



Well, my first all-out portable adventure on AO-40 seemed to be a success...
I left Phoenix at about 7am, and took the "long" route towards Las Vegas, 
meaning going west then north through California, rather than straight 
northwest and then over Hoover Dam.  That way I would get into Nevada and 
DM25 about an hour sooner.  In spite of making good time and lightly 
travelled roads, it still was very close in terms of getting into Nevada by 
AOS, right at 19Z.

Finally got into the state on US Hwy 95 about 1840Z and started looking for 
a spot to operate from.  Found a nice parking area at what appeared to be a 
trailhead to Christmas Tree Pass.  Got setup and started 
listening...nothing...nothing...weather was mild, about 50 deg F but a 
light rain and about 15-20mph winds.  Maybe the antennas blew off target 
(the tripod I use is a loose swivel; it doesn't lock in azimuth)...nope, 
still on target...nothing...nothing...hmm, the S-meter is a bit higher than 
usual, converter is working...
Now Christmas Tree Pass is a major radio installation, at least 8 towers 
visible from the road.  And it turns out, hey, my azimuth points RIGHT AT 
the radio site!  Odds of there being some sort of 2.4GHz system up 
there=1.0.  So pack it up and head up the road some more to put some 
angular separation between the satellite track and the radio site.

Drove about 10 miles more up US95 to another nondescript wide spot in the 
road and setup.  Got the MB right away at its usual strength and 
immediately started making contacts.  About 50/50 SSB/CW.  Many SSB signals 
in particular were quite loud, well above the beacon :-(  But several EU 
hams got a new state out of the deal.

Operated about 2-1/4 hours until the window to EU became quite 
limited.  That's when the policeman paid me a visit.  He wanted to know 
what I was doing here.  So I made the usual ham radio explanation...no, he 
says, why HERE...why not somewhere else?  How do I tell him it's the first 
wide spot in the road that didn't suffer from radio site interference?  :-)
Anyhow, the trooper (very professional the whole way, BTW) takes down 
everything...literally...the makes/models of the radios in use, the 
frequencies they were tuned to, my license plate (a toughie, it's my 
callsign), all my driver's license info, all my amateur radio license info 
(always have it with me), my employer, occupation, etc...it's been awhile 
since I got the 3rd degree, and being somewhat anti-establishment I wanted 
to tell him it was none of his d*** business unless he cared to state what 
statute I was violating (and he said up front that I was not breaking any 
laws), but I decided discretion was the better part of valor...especially 
since I had to be in Vegas by 8pm for some actual paid work and having my 
compatriots bailing me out first didn't seem like the best course of action.

Finally he tells me...he was actively dispatched to check me out.  It Turns 
Out that (and I knew this and had forgotten) there is an active LORAN 
station outside of Cal-Nev-Ari (NV).  This of course is a military 
installation, and here I am just outside of it with my antennas pointing 
more-or-less towards the station.  I think my odds of arrest may have been 
50-50, rapidly approaching 100% if I had given the trooper any stick.

Well it was time to quit anyway.  Nothing like an extra adreniline rush for 
the last hour into Vegas.  Somehow it seems fitting.
The final log:
DK2ZF  1924Z Hi Rolf!
DL1RG
F1NGP
DC8TS  Hi Hardy!
SM0DY
F6BEG
F6FLE
I0DLP
F1YJ
F1AFZ Christian and I had a sked, glad that worked!
F8GB
DL8GAP
KB8VAO Hi Steve
IZ1ERR
PY6ASV
DO3GI
F1TE
F6CBC
W6ZQ Hi Ron
W8WRP  2145Z

20 total Q's.  Not bad!  The LOC was DM25NI, Clark County, NV
Station:  uplink Yaesu FT-100 20W to 9el vertically polarized yagi
downlink: 38"x26" BBQ grill dish, AIDC3733 (fully converted) to Kenwood TM-255A
Antennas on 10' military mast/tripod
QSLs:  Direct/SASE returned same, all others via buro.

We will do it again!  I hope to run a bit further north and put DM27/28 on 
the air, as I understand there are some needs there as well.

----
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