Grand Junction

DM59 –  DM58 – DM57

Phil Lee W6HCC

        On November 5th through 6th 2007 I traveled to Grand Junction CO for a shot back to Bill, KØRZ in Louisville CO.

DM79jx. I left home at 0640 hrs and in spite of Denver traffic jams arrived in Grand Junction a few minutes before noon. I met Mark Lewis, NØIO and we had lunch at a local Wendy’s. I planned to be on the air at about 1400hrs.

The shot was over the continental divide of the Rocky Mountains and relied on aircraft scatter to be successful. I had communicated with Mark for help in finding a location. I thought of the Grand Mesa, but he made a trip up the mesa and found some of the roads gated shut for the winter. He also found that some of the roads were very muddy. Not a good plan!

Plan B was the area on the west side of the Grand valley near Glade Park. It was not as high as the Mesa, but had a good view back toward Louisville. The route to the site goes from southern Grand Junction up Monument road and then takes DS road southwest. The site that we found was a large turnout along DS road. The grid was DM59qa and the distance was 200 miles. It had a great look across the valley and through a low place in the mountains. It appeared to follow the canyon of the Colorado River and I-70.

I took a compass sighting and set up the 4’ dish and the x-band rig in the excursion. At first no signals were heard. After about 40 minutes of weak aircraft scatter signals Bill was able to copy his call and mine. About 6 minutes later he copied my grid. At 2:56 MST I got a good burst and copied Bill’s call, my call and Bill’s grid. A minute later I copied the R’s completing the contact. This was grid number 46. I saw some signals from Don, NØYE, but a complete contact was not possible. Mark, NØIO was able to copy signals from bill, but none of his transmissions were heard by Bill or Don.

I decided to move on the DM58. We continued southwest on DS road until our GPS indicated a change in grid. We were at the top of a small rise, but there were trees and a spur of the next hill in the way. After some indecision, we continued down DS road to CS road. This is a paved road which heads east and then down the hill. At the edge of the plateau we found a large turnout with a good view east. The horizon was much like the one at DM59. The grid was DM58px and the distance was 203 miles.

I set up the system and in about 15 minutes I had a good burst and copied all the data from Bill. Two minutes later Bill had all my data. The entire contact was completed in 3 minutes. The grid count is now 47. After we finished the contact I sent a carrier and Bill recorded strong signals with Spectran. The recording was unusual in that the frequency shifted both up and down from nominal. We speculated that we were seeing reflections from an aircraft flying in a race-track holding pattern.

I returned to Grand Junction, had dinner and spent the night at Comfort Inn. The next morning after a good breakfast at the Inn, I set out for DM57. The route took me west on I-70 to US191. On US191 I went south to Moab UT and then to Monticello UT. My tops maps showed a road leading west into the mountains which should have some good sites. I stopped at the welcome center to try to find the road leading out of town to the mountains. The welcome center was closed! As I prepared to leave a man came jogging up the road. I asked him if he know how to get to the ski area on the mountain. He was very knowledgeable and told me exactly how to get there. I was actually on the right street and had only to had west.

I headed up the hill. The road was paved and rose steeply. I was soon in an aspen forest and could not see out to the east. This could be a problem!! I stopped at a small campground and took a sighting. Still more trees. I continued up the road and came to a small lake called Monticello Lake. Here county road 103 went northeast. It was a good graded earth road. I decided to give it a try. The road climbed a small hill and then came out into an open area with a beautiful view to the east. The horizon was about 40 miles and in the clear. This was the place!!

I set up the system. I needed to nose the excursion into the ditch on the left side of the road to allow the dish to swing to the bore sight. I had good cell-phone service and called Bill. We ran carrier and code for about 2 hours from 10:25 until after noon. Very little was heard or seen. At one point Bill copied portions of my call and his. I saw some carrier traces, but heard no sounds. My batteries were getting weak and I idled the engine to keep up the voltage. Still no contact. I decided that we could do no more and we terminated at 12:21 MST. The distance was 273 miles and over some 13K mountain peaks on the Continental Divide. We had hoped for a contact in DM57gv but none was possible. This is the first failure on the “grid quest”.

I returned to Grand Junction, met Mark and got the “nickel tour” of his shop and plant. It was very interesting. I decided to drive home that night. I left Grand Junction at 1717 and arrived home at 2158. A long trip but 2 more grids in the bag. The total distance was 1036 miles.

Log times from KØRZ: . Local time is -7 from Z times listed:
DM59qa :November 5, 2007 Start: 2050Z, End 2228Z. 200 Miles
2139Z KØRZ W6HCC copied by KØRZ
2145Z DM59 copied by KØRZ
2153Z R copied by KØRZ
2156Z W6HCC KØRZ DM79 copied by W6HCC
2157Z R copied by W6HCC
DM58px : November 5, 2007 Start: 2315Z , End 2342Z. 203 Miles
2232Z W6HCC KØRZ DM79 copied by W6HCC
2232Z R copied by W6HCC
2234Z KØRZ W6HCC DM58 copied by KØRZ
2235Z R copied by KØRZ
2341Z W6HCC’s strong carrier recorded by KØRZ using Spectran. Both increasing and decreasing doppler shifts noted.
DM57gv : November 6, 2007 Start:1725Z, End 1921Z. 273 Miles
1839Z KØRZ copied partial calls from W6HCC
1914Z W6HCC saw KØRZ carrier for a few seconds on Spectran.