[amsat-bb] WD9EWK from southern Nevada & northwestern Arizona, last weekend - report (long)

Patrick STODDARD (WD9EWK/VA7EWK) amsat-bb at wd9ewk.net
Wed May 4 04:11:12 UTC 2016


In addition to attending the ARRL Nevada State Convention ("NVCON") in Las
Vegas last weekend, I did a fair amount of operating from two locations
around Las Vegas, plus another location in northwestern Arizona. I worked
from 3 different grid locators in the two states, and also operated from
the Lake Mead National Recreation Area - a site operated by the National
Park Service, and my first activation of a National Park Service site for
the ARRL's National Parks on the Air activity in 2016.

On my way to Las Vegas on Friday (29 April), I stopped at a spot in
Kingman, Arizona, so I could park on 114 degrees West - the line between
grids DM25 and DM35. The spot I use is in a field west of old US-66, which
is now an Arizona state highway, and north of the I-40 freeway. At the time
I reached Kingman, there were AO-85 and FO-29 passes around midday, and I
wanted to work both passes to put these grid locators on the air. Kingman
is about 200 miles northwest of Phoenix, 100 miles southeast of Las Vegas,
and it was a nice stopping point to get out of my car and play some radio.
I worked 9 stations on the AO-85 pass, followed by 5 QSOs on the FO-29
pass, before I got back in the car for the 90-minute drive up to Las
Vegas and the convention.

Later Friday evening, I planned to make a drive to one of two spots in
the Lake Mead National Recreation Area where I could work some passes on
AO-73 and AO-85. I settled on a location just inside the park boundary at
the end of Lake Mead Parkway, which connects the I-215/I-515 interchange
in the Las Vegas suburb of Henderson with a entrance to the park. There
is a parking lot just inside the park boundary at a trailhead, before a
toll booth, and that parking lot was actually a nice spot to work lower
passes. I worked two pairs of passes on those two satellites - one pair to
the east (this included a 5-degree AO-85 pass), and a pair to the west.
Three stations on the AO-73 pass, and Paul N8HM on the low AO-85 pass, made
a good start toward my goal of working 10 different stations to make this
effort qualify as a National Parks on the Air activation. The later pair of
passes were more productive - 3 QSOs on AO-73, followed by 5 more on AO-85,
and the 4th of those 5 AO-85 QSOs represented the 10th unique station I
worked from the lake. This meant my evening at the lake qualified as an
activation of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area (site RC13) for NPOTA.

Saturday (30 April) started out with a big rainstorm. Between the rain,
lots of road construction around Las Vegas, and some unfortunate highway
accidents, it made for a tough time getting around. I started the day at a
spot I know very well for satellite operation - the DM25/DM26 grid boundary
in the south end of the Las Vegas metropolitan area, east of Las Vegas
Boulevard and the I-15 freeway. I had an SO-50 pass around 7am (1400 UTC)
that covered most of the continental USA, and stood outside to work this
pass. In the span of 10 minutes, 10 stations went in the log. Then I went
back in my car, making what should have been a 20 minute drive to the
convention in about 45 minutes.

After the convention ended Saturday evening, I made a return trip to Lake
Mead. I stopped at the same parking lot just inside the park boundary,
this time to work one pass each on AO-73 and AO-85. I had already made the
required number of contacts to be considered an official activation under
the ARRL's NPOTA rules, so these passes were to get this location into more
logs. Being a Saturday evening, not many were on. I worked 2 stations on
AO-73, and 3 on AO-85. Not bad for just the pair of passes to the east.

Sunday (1 May) morning started out like Saturday morning, but without the
rain. I drove to the DM25/DM26 grid boundary once again for an SO-50 pass
starting around 7.15am (1415 UTC). Eight stations went in the log this
time. Then the drive to the convention, which took about 20 minutes.

Once the convention wrapped up late Sunday morning, I made two stops for
working passes before driving home. I worked FO-29 and AO-85 from Lake
Mead around midday (1900 UTC), followed by an SO-50 pass in Kingman on the
DM25/DM35 grid boundary just before 4pm (2300 UTC). Four FO-29 QSOs and
8 AO-85 QSOs were logged from the lake, before driving around to the
visitor center between Boulder City and Hoover Dam, on the way to Kingman.
At the visitor center, I was able to get the National Park Service passport
stamps for Lake Mead and the National Park Service centennial, along with
some photos of the lake, before driving to Kingman to work the SO-50 pass.
At Kingman, during a busy SO-50 pass, I was able to make 12 QSOs with
stations across the continental USA, western Canada, and WA7HQD/MM sailing
off the California coast.

A comment... with WA7HQD/MM popping up on that pass, it became very busy
quickly. I wasn't at home, yet after hearing many stations unsuccessfully
trying to get through and work Doc, I made a call. There's no rule that
says I can only work the rare ones when I'm at home, or in the area covered
by a satellite VUCC award. I believe I was the first station to
successfully work WA7HQD/MM on that pass. After my QSO, several others were
able to make their QSOs with him. Even though I normally welcome stations
working me on any pass they hear me on, I appreciate that several stations
who were on that SO-50 pass, but worked me either on Friday afternoon or
other times in the past at the DM25/DM35 boundary, did not call me on that
busy pass Sunday afternoon. That is smart operating, what W1PA recently
called on Twitter "situational awareness". I did not know Doc was planning
to work that SO-50 pass, but know that several were able to work both Doc
and me for some rarely-heard grids on the satellites.

It was fun to get on the air from those grids in northwestern Arizona and
southern Nevada. I have been thinking about visiting National Park Service
sites here in Arizona to activate them on the satellites, like Fernando
NP4JV has been doing a lot, and it was a twist that the first time I
activated a site in the NPOTA activity came outside of Arizona. :-)  To
satisfy the ARRL's rules for NPOTA, I documented my presence at Lake Mead
as I would operating from a grid boundary under the VUCC rules - photos of
my GPS receiver and my station, along with screenshots of my mobile phone
showing my location on the http://aprs.fi web site. And the stamps from the
Lake Mead visitor center on my way out of Las Vegas, too. I tweeted some of
these photos and screenshots while I was up there.

All of these QSOs have been uploaded to Logbook of the World. Participation
in the ARRL's National Parks on the Air event is done using LOTW, although
I will also send QSL cards out to anyone who worked me and wants to receive
a QSL card (including the NPOTA site code, RC13, listed on the cards for
the Lake Mead QSOs). Please e-mail me directly with the QSO details, so I
can check my log for the QSO(s). There's no need to first send me a card or
SASE to get mine in return.

Thanks again, and 73!

Twitter: @WD9EWK

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