Sunday, June 19, 2016

Devils Head Fire Tower

Devils Head Fire Tower is an easy hike and it is close to Colorado Springs and Denver so that means it gets a lot of visitors on weekends and even weekdays. We decided to do this one during the week to forgo the weekend crowd. Steve was able to join Lynn and I which is always a lot of fun.

We did not know this but a tornado had come through this area since the last time we were here. The destruction was incredible. We chatted with a Forest Ranger that told us the story of how they got Bill (the Fire watcher in the Tower) out of there in case another one hit. It was very interesting.

Bill got out ok and and soon he was back at work. Bill Ellis has manned this fire tower for over 30 years. Amazing fellow!

 The last part of this hike is a steep set of stairs, I think it says 143 steps!

Lynn coming up the stairs 

Great views

Lynn and Steve making their way to the tower


The views

The views

Lynn with Bill

Bill likes to hand out cards to the visitors.

Bill had a card ready for me!

 After our visit with Bill we headed over to a nearby rock formation to stay out of the way of visitors and to have some space. Steve put up a new antenna and we were soon rocking some SOTA action.

Lynn pauses for effect (photo by WG0AT)

Lynn taking with the Fire Tower in the background (photo by WG0AT)

Steve's KX2 SN 006

Lynn working 20 meter SSB (phot by WG0AT)

Our view of the Fire Tower

The Fire Tower

Steve taking a drink while Lynn runs the pileup

 It was a fun day with great company. It did not matter that the propagation was not that good. We had a grand time. Devils Head Fire Tower is an easy hike with great rewards. I highly recommend it.


Sunday, June 5, 2016

Nothing to See Here and 9036 SOTA Activation with video

It has been a busy week for Lynn and I here in the Front Range of Colorado. Lynn is getting ready for a trip back home to see her folks, I am getting ready for a military exercise at work and we are both getting use to the new Elecraft KX2. Not to mention a F-16 landing pretty close to home. Thankfully the pilot got out safe and he landed the plane in a field away from housing developments.

Nothing to see here, just a downed F-16!
This is about as close as we could get to the wreckage. I am not sure if it is still there but I will check on the way to work tomorrow.

K0JQZ testing the mast (photo by WA6MVT)

Our new dipole came in at work (you can see it laying on the deck) and we decided to install a better mast to support the center. In the picture I am testing our installation. Tomorrow we will finish it. I must remember to bring some morse paddles as our MARS station has none.

Lynn wanted to get an activation in before the weekend ended so we decided to try 9036. It is close  to Lake George, Colorado but in the past the road had been closed which made it around 6 miles roundtrip however, the road was open so it was an easy hike.

Below is a photo Lynn took of me running a mild pileup on 20 meters. 40 meters netted me three QSOs and one S2S with Brad, WA6MM on Whaler Peak in the South Park range. Brad is still trudging through snow for activations. It was a thrill to get an unexpected S2S. I did not have good cell phone coverage so I was lucky Brad found me.

My APRS was not working either which I will have to look into. I am sure I just fat fingered a setting or a button got pushed while the radio was in my pack. I apologize to anyone that was trying to follow us on APRS.

K0JQZ on cw (photo by KC0YQF)

Video of the activation:

This is a short entry, 72