Little America, WY

DN41, 42 43, 52, 53 6-28, 29-09

Phil Lee W6HCC

On Sunday, June 28, 2009 I traveled to Western Wyoming. I planned to work Bill, K0RZ at home in Louisville CO on 1296.1 MHz and 433.1 MHz. I left home shortly after 1100 hrs and arrived at DX41xs at 1640 hrs. The trip was uneventful, west on I-80. I turned off the interstate at exit 61 and took the frontage road to the top of the hill. There I turned north and went about a mile to a gas well site. I had been there before to work 10 GHz.

Signals were good and we made contacts on both bands with little difficulty. On 433.1 we first used CW and then repeated the contact on SSB. We both made Spectran recordings of the signals. The distance was 275 miles. I took pictures of the gas well site and returned to Little America for the night.  (Click thumbnails for photo and captions)

Little America is an interesting place. There were hundreds of semis in the parking area. I had a great time after dinner, just walking among them and trying to learn how to identify the different makes of the tractors pulling the semi-trailers. I found Freightliner (horizontal bar grill), Peterbuilt (vertical bar grill and oval logo), International (diamond logo), and Volvo (diagonal bar on grill). There were a few Western Star and Sterling, but not too many. I refueled the Excursion at the truck terminal. I like to get fuel with the truckers, since I am much more likely to get fuel that is clean and has no water. With a range of over 700 miles, I can refuel the Excursion in the morning and drive all day without needing a fuel stop.

The next morning I started early. I was on the road at 0603. I planned to travel to DN43wa and work 10 GHz as well as the lower bands. There were two roads into the grid. I took the one nearest the Green River. I thought there would be at least one site that would look to the southeast. No such luck! I drove about 15 miles into the grid and all I saw were hills. Every time I thought I was coming to a high spot, there was a hill down boresight. I backtracked and crossed over to US189 on ‘forty rod road’. It is a good 2 lane highway and it only took about 15 minutes to get to US189. I drove north into the grid. There was a nice hill with a tower on the top, but I could not find any way to get up. There were no good sites on US189. I drove up a hill that had a road (?) that was only 2 wheel tracks. I encountered mud holes and cows. The road ended on the “Warren Bridge Road”. The sign said that there were 12 public fishing areas accusable from the road. The road was on top of the hills above the Green River with roads going down to the water. I followed the road for about 2 miles until it turned toward the river and down hill. I stopped on the highest point and took a compass bearing. The line of sight just missed a ridge to the southeast, but it was the best I could do. I had been driving around for about 2 hours and I decided to stop and set up — poor site or not.

There was a shoulder (ditch) on the edge of the road that was just about wide enough for the Excursion. There was room to set up the 433.1 antenna and the 4’ dish for 10 GHz and 1296 MHz. Cell phone service was good. I called Bill and we ran for about an hour on 10 GHz with no signals heard either way. We decided that my site was bad and that Bill’s LOS was only 3 degrees north of Long’s Peak. This probably was not going to work. I set up 1296 MHz. Things were a little better on this band. We struggled for about an hour with a few short tropo signals and I got the data from Bill. He did not have much from me. I decided to set up 433.1 and see if that was better. It was!! I got a good signal from Bill and copied a full sequence. He had to wait a bit longer to get the data from me. (Bill: had 1500 watts, 4 yagis, I had: 75 watts, single long yagi). After we finished 433.1 we went back to 1296 and were able to complete the contact.

My next grid was DN42wa. I had worked from this grid before on 10 GHz. The site is at the south end of the Fontinelle reservoir. It is on a hill overlooking the highway and has a great view to the southeast; there is a pipeline control (36 inch H2S line) and a microwave tower. A well graded earth road accesses the site, Fontinelle reservoir Boresite. At the site I met two workers from Exxon. They were checking the valve site. They asked what I was doing—turned out that one’s brother was a ham. He wrote down the frequencies that I was working to tell his brother. Signals were good for a range of 297 miles. We completed contacts on both 1296 and 433.1. No signals were heard either way from Don, N0YE or Wayne, N0POH on 433.1. During my operation, a big black cloud came over the site. As I was loading up, it rained buckets for about 5 minutes. I took down the electronics and hid in the truck. It soon stopped and I was able to finish taking down the setup.

Since it was only 1600hrs I decided to go over to DN52ea. It was a little over an hour away and, while we had worked it on 433.1 several years ago, we did not have it on 1296. The route is via WY28. They are working on the road, and I sat for several 10’s of minutes waiting for a control section to allow me through. I finally got into the grid, but there were few roads leading off WY28. I found 2 wheel tracks that went out in the sage brush to the top of a small hill. There was no place to set up, so I pulled off into the sand and sage brush. I call it the ‘sage brush site’. Since we already had 433.1 from DN52, I only set up 1296. Signals were intermittent scatter. Bill had a CW schedule at 1730, so he set up his transmitter with a full data sequence. He took the phone with him to the CW radio and told me to let him know if I heard anything. After about 5 minutes, a good tropo burst came through and I easily copied all the data. I called on the phone and as soon as he was ready, I transmitted to him. We completed the contact on the same burst. There were a lot of little bugs and mosquitoes at the site. Thank goodness my daughter, Lori had urged me to take some mosquito repellent (Cutters) with me. I quickly loaded up and headed back to Little America for the night.

My plan to go to Green River UT and DM48 proved to be too much. It would have been 14 hours of driving (over 700 miles) and then whatever operating time we needed — Tooo MUCH!!

Plan B was to go up to Lander WY, then north of Ft. Washaki to a site in the Wind River Indian Reservation. I had been there on 10 GHz and it was a good location.

I went to Rock Springs for breakfast and then took US191 north to Farson and then east on WY28. The work on the road was a pain and I took about 30 min longer that needed to get to Lander. I traveled north on US287 to the site above what is shown as an airport on the topo maps, but is really a sand and gravel pit. They had added a fence on the south side of the graded earth road to the site, so I had to park on the north. It is not level and the Excursion was on quite an angle. Signals were good and we completed the contact on 1296 and 433.1 with little difficulty. I tried 433.1 with Wayne and Don, but no signals were heard either way. I might have detected Don’s signal with Spectran.

I returned to Lander, got lunch at the local McDonald’s and headed home. The roads were good and I averaged 62 mph. The Excursion got 21.4 miles/gallon even though I locked it down at 75 on the freeway all the way to Cheyenne.

73, Phil W6HCC

Log of K0RZ in DM79JX with W6HCC in DN41, DN42, DN43, DN52, DN53

June 28, 2009 W6HCC in DN41XM, 276 Miles
433.1 MHz
2302Z CW Phil copied W6HCC, K0RZ, DM79, R from Bill
2303Z CW Bill copied K0RZ, W6HCC, DN41, R from Phil
2311Z SSB Phil copied W6HCC, K0RZ, DM79, R from Bill
2313Z SSB Bill copied K0RZ, W6HCC, DN41, R from Phil
1296.1 MHz
2330Z CW Phil copied W6HCC, K0RZ, DM79, R from Bill
2331Z CW Bill copied K0RZ, W6HCC, DN41, R from Phil
2340Z SSB Phil copied W6HCC, K0RZ, DM79, R from Bill
2342Z SSB Bill copied K0RZ, W6HCC, DN41, R from Phil

June 29, 2009 W6HCC in DN43WA, 331 Miles
10368.1 MHz
1601Z Bill Tx CW
1620Z Phil Tx CW
1627Z Bill Tx CW
1639Z Shutdown, no signals heard at either end.
1296.1 MHz
1650Z Bill Tx CW
1658Z Phil copied W6HCC from Bill
1714Z Phil copied K0RZ from Bill
1725Z Phil Tx CW
1740 QRT to go to 433.1
1808Z Bill TX CW
1812 Phil copied DM79, R from Bill
1812 Bill copied W6HCC, K0RZ, N0YE from Phil
1838 Bill copied DN43, R from Phil
433.1 MHz
1741Z CW Phil copied W6HCC, K0RZ, DM79, R from Bill
1742Z CW Bill copied K0RZ, W6HCC, DN43, R from Phil

June 29, 2009 W6HCC in DN42WA, 294 Miles
1296.1 MHz
2058Z CW Phil copied W6HCC, K0RZ, DM79, R from Bill
2059Z CW Bill copied K0RZ, W6HCC, DN42, R from Phil
433.1 MHz
2116Z CW Phil copied W6HCC, K0RZ, DM79, R from Bill
2117Z CW Bill copied K0RZ, W6HCC, DN42, R from Phil

June 29, 2009 W6HCC in DN52EA, 271 Miles
1296.1 MHz
2330Z CW Phil copied W6HCC, K0RZ, DM79, R from Bill
2332Z CW Bill copied K0RZ, W6HCC, DN52, R from Phil

June 30, 2009 W6HCC in DN53NA, 284 Miles
1296.1 MHz
1733Z Bill Tx CW
1739Z Phil copied W6HCC, K0RZ, DM79, R from Bill
1740Z Bill copied K0RZ, W6HCC, R from Phil
1750Z Bill copied DN53 from Phil
433.1 MHz
1806Z CW Phil copied W6HCC, K0RZ, DM79, R from Bill
1810Z CW Bill copied K0RZ, W6HCC, DN53, R from Phil