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K7MDL: June VHF Contest Rover Trip Report

This was a rover effort jointly with N7EPD this year. It was nice to have him along. I usually do these long trips solo. His sharp ears and CW proficiency netted us a chance contact from a mountaintop in DN09 to KI7JA/P operating 2M QRP from CN94 mountain top.

Our route started in Seattle, headed north through CN87, CN88, CN89, CN99, and DN09 (Mt. Kobau Fire Lookout eastern British Columbia) for the night. The eastward path through CN89/99/DN09 only had a view westward keeping the first days QSO count to only 70. At one mountain lookout in the CN99 BC Cascades we did manage to squeeze out a 2M CW QSO back into Seattle to work W7FI.

The second day we continued south in Eastern BC, Eastern WA, to Tunk Mtn Fire Lookout in DN08, and Lake Chelan in CN98. The forest road was snow blocked at 6000ft so we doubled back 15 miles, on the way slicing open a tire on forest road just 2 hours before the end of the contest with 3 more grids to activate and make Chelan Butte in CN97 by 7:15pm.

Tire fixed, we hit the highway, 6M opened up and we had a great shot southward the whole way, crossing CN98/DN08/DN07/CN97, working stations as fast as we could log them, crossing grids and reworking many of the stations minutes later.

We reached Chelan Butte in CN97 with a nice 360 degree view of eastern Washington, Lake Chelan, and lots of contacts. We ended up with 188 QSOs mostly operating the remote mountains and eastern side of Washington and BC.

While we were equipped with all bands from 6M though 10GHz, we made no contacts on 903MHz, only 1 in 1296MHz (amplifier power got kicked off for 2 attempts), and nothing above 2.4GHz could be made - we were pretty isolated. The high bands were definitely tough to get this year but the scenery was worth it. Looking a the results below you can see 6M was the usual utility band, and despite being in some similar locations last year, we were able to log a few more grids this year. We ran 120W or less on all bands into yagis on the truck, except for 6M which used a 6M KB6KQ loop antenna.

Antenna setup, top to bottom:

  • 6M loop
  • 2M 7el yagi
  • 1296 loop yagi
  • On the bottom row was the 222 yagi, 432 yagi, 903 loop yagi.

The front support masts are solid 1.25" fiberglass rod. The rear is a hitch mounted 6061 thick wall pipe. I have a heavy duty roof rack mounted support channel running the length of the roof that I can put brackets onto without damaging the roof.

K2 in the back operated by N7EPD on 2M - 1296

IC 706 in the front operated by K7MDL on 6M

The pictures below are in the order of each site visited as I worked my way clockwise around the state. It starts in Western BC and ends at Chelan Butte. Click a picture for a full-size view.

5500ft scenic overlook in EC Manning Provincial Park, BC CN99

Mt. Kobau in BC DN09

Heading towards the US border near Lake Osoyoos in BC DN09

Tunk Mtn Lookout DN08

Heading towards Chelan from Tunk Mtn Lookout DN08

Blocked by snow at 6000ft. above Lake Chelan CN98

Chelan Butte CN97

Rover Setup

6M IC-706mkIIG 100W, KB6KQ loop
2M K2 + XV144 + B108 for 70W, 7 element Cushcraft (was a 10 element but I remove the front 3).
222 K2 + XV222 + Mirage brick for 100W, 9 element end mount yagi
432 K2 + XV432 + Teledyne Brick, 10W + 120W amp, 13el end mount yagi
903 K2 + XV144 + DEM903 + 100W amp and 18el loop yagi
1296  K2 + XV144 + DEM1296 + 16W + 50W amp and 28 elements loop yagi

2.4, 3.6, 5.7 and 10 Ghz was carried along but no contacts attempted. Also no contacts made on 903.

Summary Score (Unchecked)

      QSO  Mult         Grids
50    101    x1   101    43     4343
144    51    x1     51    14       714
222    14    x2     28      4       112
432    21    x2     42      8       336
903      0    x3       0      0           0
1296    1    x3       3      1           3
10G     0    x4       0      0           0
        188Qs    225Q  70Gr
        9 Rover Grids Activated

225 Qpts  x  (70 grids +  9 grids activated) for 17,775 in EWA section.