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The Voyage up South Baldy ---

Station summaries:

N1IRZ, Dave Finley, operated exclusively 20m CW with his nice new QRP+ using a dipole "up 10,700 ft." --- stretched between the crane boom and a weather station mast (with a 200 mph anemometer on it with two busted vanes on the propeller!). Dave worked 14 stations on 20m, so 14 QSOs x 5 = 70 x 3 afield = 210 pts.  AB5WT, Doug West, operated 40m CW with his NorCal40 using a dipole stretched from the weather station mast to the corner of the comet observatory bldg.  (about 90 degrees from N1IRZ's dipole). I don't have his log, but Doug worked about a dozen stations. (I've phoned, but Doug no longer returns my calls!) 

NA5N, Paul Harden --- operated 40m CW with my mini-rack of modified MFJ's (only the 40m rig was contest "legal") off a dipole up 10,700 ft.- stretched between the Land Cruiser and a 14-ft portable mast taken up for the occasion. Found a big wooden cable spool with a big cable being laid, but abandoned 200 feet from my dipole. Deciding it's a better "desk" than what I brought, it took 20-30 minutes to roll that thing up to my dipole, where indeed it made a nice operating position once I got it on its side. I worked 17 stations, so 17 QSOs x 5 = 85 x 3 afield = 255 pts. 

W5UXH, Chuck Broadwell operated 40m CW with his NN1G and an inverted Vee off a portable telescoping guyed pole ... a neat arrangement. To Chuck's credit, he was the only one to actually hike to the ~11,000 foot summit and had a coupla QSOs. There is a lightning research facility using different parts of this mountain top. At the very summit, Chuck encountered an acre of solid metal plates and mesh to attract lightning. While probably excellent for a vertical, it seemed to suck electrons out of Chuck's wire antenna. So down the peak he hiked to join us about 2pm and set up his station near the western ridge (just before it drops thousands of feet to the valley floor). There he received some better signal reports. 

Another team member was K9PV, Howard Peavy. He came up the mountain later and stopped at a campground around 9500 feet several miles before the summit.  We had worked a couple of times on 40m and he was running around a dozen contacts inside this gorge, surrounded by rocks and trees. He camped the night there and haven't seen him since to get a final score from him. His QTH seemed to be as effective as ours!  

We all had fun and a good time in spite of the poor (mostly cold) WX. I was a bit disappointed in what appeared to me to be a weak turn out for the event, but then again, 40m was just kinda soft Saturday. 7040 was trashed for long periods by QRO ragchews, Amtor, etc. I called CQ several times on 7050 for long periods and never got an answer from a participant. I would like to see future QRP contests encourage 7040 to 7050. 7050 was in the clear most of the time. There isn't anything that sacred about 7040. 

In terms of operating from a high mountain top ... to be honest, I really didn't see where it offered any tactical advantage or improved performance, EXCEPT for no power line noise and associated QRN. For FD and other QRP events, we may just cross the Rio Grande and set up atop a good old Mesa for probably the same effect. But the trip to the mountain WAS enjoyable. I also think "QRP to the field" might enjoy a better participation if held just a little bit later. As other reports indicate, much of the country is still experiencing snow, cold and winds this time of the year. 

73 de NA5N, W5UXH, AB5WT, N1IRZ and K9PV

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