KA6U – Grid Activation Trip

I made my QSO with Peter from CN91 Aug, 16th… I’m not a grid hunter but has been a very nice and fast QSO.


From Peter QRZ.com page :

This is the QTH at the top of Grizzly peak. CN91 and CN81 are both accessible on Grizzly peak. Elevation is about 6500 feet. That is a volcano in the background. Last eruption 200 years ago. I was chased off the peak on Sunday morning when the storms started coming through that ending up setting the western US on fire with “dry lightning”. At 0900 local time I saw storm clouds in the distance. By 0945 I had the array down. While I was packing the tent a few minutes later it blew hard enough to blow sand.


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On the first night the crossbeam snapped.  The crossbeam had a center 6′ aluminum tube supporting two 6′ long non-conductive fiberglass tubes.  The right two antennas were dumped on the ground and I removed the mess and set up two-way power-divider for August 15 op.  Next day rebuilt crossbeam with 8′ steel tube and replaced broken antenna elements.  Thanks to Goran from Antennas-amplifiers.com for providing spare elements.  I cut the spares to length and replaced broken elements.

The PA144-CROSS-20-6AP antennas worked great: https://www.antennas-amplifiers.com/2-meter-cross-yagi-contest-eme-antenna.  First time I have had H and V pol and it made a big difference!  The antennas each weigh about 20 pounds and can be handled easily.


This is the CN90 operating location next to a logging road with the antennas pointed at moonrise. I operate in the passenger side of my car. The 2M amplifier sits on it’s side on the drivers side with three air conditioning vents blasting 55F air. With the air conditioning the amp can run as full power without overheating. During the days the temperature was 85 – 95 every day so I wanted to be in the car with the air conditioner. Sitting in the car idling with the air conditioner on burns about 1 gallon of gas per hour. I carried 15 gallons of extra gas with me.

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Yes I did say logging road. You have to be careful when using the logging roads because these trucks sometimes drive fast and don’t stop very well. The roads are one way so if you meet one you get to backup, sometimes for a km or more to find a place to get off the road. I have only had to do that once. I go into national forests with my Garmin GPS (and a backup GPS) and cruise logging roads until I find a combination of an acceptable view and correct coordinates for the Grid. Normally I plan on an hour once I arrive in the general location to pick a final site. For all of the locations, I was receiving signals within 10 minutes of projected Moonrise.


This is the CN92 operating location. This is a large alkaline lake. I heard signals 5 minutes before Moonrise.

This was the typical start of the day. I counted 26 traces. EU signals were often very strong. US signals not so strong. The switchable polarization worked very well for EU.



This is the DN03 operating location.  There were several logging roads that ran North/South across the DN03/DN04 boundary.  I found this perfect clearing. Moonrise direction is to right in this photo.

This was a typical day’s schedule:

  • At moonrise get hammered by EU for 3 – 4 hours
  • Work NA/SA stations until no more callers
  • Disassemble and pack the station.  First day took 3 hours, last day 90 minutes 🙂 (practice)
  • Typical temperature when packing station 90F between noon and 2PM local time
  • Drive approximately 3 hours to the next location plan to arrive 2 hours before sunset
  • Explore for maximum of 1 hour to find best possible site
  • Assemble and test station.  Normal completion time 10 PM local time
  • Have dinner and a beer
  • Sleep under the stars (yes saw meteorite trails every night)
  • Get up one hour before Moonrise have breakfast and test station
  • During nights it was completely silent.  No insect, birds, wind noise, nothing.  Truly amazing
  • The sunrises every day were spectacular, too busy to watch sunsets

I bring backup equipment:

  • Two radios, stabilized ICOM-9700 and ICOM 7100
  • Two preamps (I fried one of them….)
  • Two 12V power supplies
  • Two computers with all software loaded
  • Two GPS systems
  • Spare charged car battery so I don’t kill the car’s battery
  • Spare crossbeam
  • Spare antenna elements to cut to length if needed
  • Enough water for 7 days (start trip with enough for 14 days)
  • Generator repair kit
  • Tire puncture repair kit in case I get two flat tires


More other info and log here