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QRP to the Field contest - April 26, 2003

Hidden Valley, Golden Gate Canyon State Park, Nr Golden, CO
April 26, 2003

View Log - Log of all contacts

Once again I'm surprised at all the cool places there are to be in Colorado!  I had planned to operate the qrpttf contest while backpacking the Colorado Trail from Kenosha Pass back to the Lost Creek Wilderness.  When it snowed several times at my house in the two weeks leading up to the big weekend, I decided that spending a night or two at 11,000 feet might be more cold then fun and I rethunk my plans.   The qrpttf theme this year was operating from ghost towns, or any ol' abandoned buildings that might resemble a ghost town.  I found reference to this old abandoned homestead in the book 'Colorado on Foot' by Robert L Brown.  The location was Golden Gate Canyon state park and I'd never been there because the park was only 20 miles or so from the Denver metro area and I figured it would be pretty busy with people.  I was tremendously surprised when, after a short one and a half mile hike, I arrived at this homestead site with no company at all.  And....I spent about 5 or 6 hours there, on a beautiful spring afternoon, and only saw one other person.

The park is about a 15 mile drive from Golden, CO and easy to find.  I arrived at the trail head at about 10AM and was at the site by about 10:30 or so.  The first glimpse if the homestead has you looking over a small reservoir about 200 yards away from the main house.  A nice sign marks this spot and explains a little history of the homestead.  I can't recall the names but the place was homesteaded in 1876 and was farmed by four generations of the same family until 1950.  The main cash crop was potatoes.... fairly typical of mountain farming.  I crossed the small creek (to the right in the picture below) and looked things over a little more closely.  As I walked around the rear of the cabin I peered inside at an old ice box.  Further up were an old shed  and the barn.  I looked back from there to see the whole site with the reservoir in the background.  Having answered my small thirst for history and education I turned towards radio contests.  

Being in Hidden Valley, the homestead was beautiful but not well suited for radio sport.  My antennas would have a bad time squirting RF above the valley walls.  In order that I would have a fighting chance I selected a site about 200 yds up the side of the hill (but still within site of the homestead!!).  I had the 44' doublet atop the 33' kanga pole within a few minutes.  I hooked up the k2 and found that the antenna easily loaded on all bands.  I had a small scare when the palm paddle wouldn't work (found later to be a broken wire) but I had thrown in my lil bulldog paddle as a backup so it wasn't a big problem.  I originally had the operating position in the shade but shortly decided to move out to the sun.  The bands didn't seem good.  I wasn't sure if it was band condx or those dang valley walls blocking the RF!   At the end of the day the log showed 69 QSO's with 33 SPC's for a total of xxxxxx points.

This was just a great place to operate from.  The location was beautiful and for a place so close to millions of people, it was secluded.  Golden Gate Canyon state park has about 50 miles of trails and I plan to explore it further.  This was one of those perfect days!

View of the homestead as you first arrive

Old 'icebox'(?) inside the back door.

Here's what the place looks like from the back side

Whats left of the barn

Old storage shed

Antenna was 44' doublet on top of a 33' Kanga pole

This is where I operated from

K2 and bulldog key

You can see the homestead roof in the very center of the photo.