ARS BumbleBee Contest July 25, 1999
Near Conifer, Colorado
Latitude 39 Degree 31Minute North
Longitude 105 Degree 30 Minute West
July 25, 1999
View Log - Log of all contacts made
View QSLs Received - Images of all QSL cards received
My original plan for the Bumblebee sprint was to operate from South Dakota with good friend WU0H. When he ended up having to work that weekend I was on my own. There is a huge granite outcropping just a couple miles from my house. I'd always wanted to operate there and it looked like this was the time. Since it is only two miles away it was a short hike, but since it was basically a huge granite boulder, that last few feet of the hike were pretty much straight up. When I got to the top, I was surprised at the ruggedness. Basically, a 5 foot by 35 foot boulder field. The two long sides were sheer dropoffs of 75 to 150 feet. There were, however, some beautiful views. The picture to the right is the view to the east (note the radial wire running over the rock).
This is the view to the west.
To the south..... And finally.... to the North
When I arrived at the top I didn't know for sure if I was going to be able to get an antenna up amongst all the boulders. My antenna is a vertical made from a 20' fishing pole. The radiator is a piece of TV twin lead with one element cut for 20 meters and the other cut for 15 meters. I usually attach the fishing pole to a handy dead limb. Up here there were no handy dead limbs. I usually spread the 20 & 15 meter radials about 15 foot from the base at a 45 degree angle and use them to guy the antenna. Up here there was no room spread radials. I carefully eyed the flat ground 100 feet below me thinking how easy my antenna would go up but the appeal of an antenna on top of a 150' rock tower was too much and I went to work I got the pole up and wedged it between two handy boulders, wrapping several miles of string around the boulders and the pole to get it to stay put. That done, I very cautiously climbed up and down boulders, hanging wire radials over cliffs or tying to anything I could wrap a string around. Definitely nothing scientific about this antenna configuration. All I wanted was an erect antenna and a low enough swr that my sierra would put a load into the antenna. I figured my 150' tower would take care of the rest. I got the antenna up about 25 minutes before the contest began. Five minutes later I had the sierra hooked to the antenna and battery, the bulldog paddle and radio shack mini headphones hooked to the sierra and I was ready to test. With the strange radial configuration I was using I was anxious as I loaded her up and checked the swr. Viola!!! SWR was almost flat on both 15 & 20. I immediately launched into a pre-contest qso with W8VQ, Len in Columbus, OH confirming that I could communicate! At 11:00 MST I was on the air in the Bumblebee. It seemed that my 150' rock tower theory worked like a charm. I ended up with 69 qso's: 60 on 20 mtr and 9 on 15 mtr. Seemed like I was getting excellent reports from everyone. My only concern was that it seemed my 150' rock tower was boosting my xmit signal more then my rcvd signals. It seemed like many times I would hear a very, very faint signal answer my CQ but not be able to dig the call out for the QSO. After the contest was over, I wrapped up with a very nice little rag chew with N0HJ, John near San Rafael, CA whom I had worked on both 15 & 20 during the contest. All in all this was a very satisfying experience. The extra challange of climbing the boulder and getting my antenna up in the middle of that boulder field make the whole thing a little more worth while. I might have started a whole new hobby of operating from challenging places. Speaking of difficult places, note the operating position at right. I was squatted in behind a boulder, legs nearly dangling off the edge of one of the aforementioned 100' drop offs. Anyway.... had a great time, hope to see you next year. 73, N0SXX - Gary Slagel