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N4UFO/P USA flag USA

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My intention for this page is to be a place to see pics & check for info on my rover ops: past, current and future. 73, Kevin N4UFO

 

Important links & info:

- I have a public twitter account just for announcing rover updates and information: @UFOrover  (You are not required to have a twitter account to watch this page. I will use it in the field whenever possible to announce upcoming passes, changes in plans, etc.)

- Internet based APRS tracking map of position reports sent from a tablet or smart phone over the cell phone network: N4UFO-5

- While I am using the '/p' designator online and may say 'portable' while operating, I use only my callsign for logs & LotW uploads.

 

Planned/current ops:

(May 10th) We are on another trip 'out west' again, but not as far as last time. On this trip, satellite ops will be secondary to other activites; mostly just catching some early morning & late evening passes from the motel kind of a thing. We are planning to stay overnight in Santa Rosa NM (near DM74/75 line) and Alamosa CO (near DM67/77 line) as well as a couple nights in Wall SD (DN83, not too far from DN93). I will use N4UFO-5 for tracking but bringing along my N4UFO-9 tracker for backup (links above). I will try to announce possible passes on my twitter account. Hoping to be able to give out a few 'new ones' to many of my satellite friends!

UPDATE: Due to a mild case of altitude sickness coming over the mountains in New Mexico & into Colorado, along with the big late spring storm in the Rockies and upper plains, we have altered our travel plans for the rest of our trip. We stayed a couple extra days in Denver laying over until the weather got better and will set out on Sunday (May 21st) towards Cleveland by way of Kansas, the mid-west, etc. Hopefully, the weather will be nice for the rest of our journey. - Having experienced snow & near freezing temperatures, my daughter says she plans to tell people we 'visited winter' while on vacation.

 

Past portable ops:

Grids I've operated from, both near home and on a cross country trip out west.

 

Pics and info on previous ops (click images to open full size in another window)

EM86ti/EM86th - Johnson City TN - FO-29 & SO-50: 29 JUL 2016

 

Western US trip - Three weeks and 6376.2 miles on the road. Worked from Nevada grids DM16, DM19, DM27, DM07/08/17/18, DN01/11, DN00/10 & DN21 - May 8th through the 15th. Also worked from EM52, DM73, DM63, DM64, and DM54 on the way out, as well as DN90/91 on the way back.

This 'grid expedition' was part of a three week vacation & 'other purpose' trip with my daughter. We drove out through the southern states (SC, GA, AL, MS, LA, TX, NM, & AZ) stopping and doing a few touristy things along the way. The highlights were visiting with a friend in Lubbock, stopping at the International UFO Museum in Roswell, visiting White Sands National Monument in Alamogordo, touring the VLA (Very Large Array) in Socorro, stopping for pie in Pie Town, NM, seeing the Meteor Crater in Arizona and then stopping at Hoover dam before embarking on just over a week of grid ops in Nevada.

Operating in Roswell & Tularosa NM (DM73), White Sands NM, roadside operating in the shade (DM64), dreaming of hooking up to a dish at the VLA, stopping for pie, and the meteor crater:

             

 

We stayed the night in Henderson NV (Las Vegas) on May 7th, and headed up to Tonopah on Sunday May the 8th, stopping at a rest area in Armagosa Valley (DM16) for two satellite passes (FO-29 & SO-50) on the way. We stayed in Tonopah for 4 nights at a wonderfully quirky motel and casino called the Tonopah Station. There is not a whole lot in Tonopah... it is a small town sitting at about 6000 feet with one grocery store, a handful of restaurants and gas stations and a few interesting tourist stops, mostly of historic, geologic and mining interest. But it was right in the middle of a number of spots I wanted to operate satellites from. I operated from DM19 on Monday, where the scenery was just gorgeous and the weather was fantastic. Then on Tuesday May 10th, my daughter and I drove down to the Little A'Le'Inn on the Extraterrestrial Highway and afterward operated from DM27 just a few miles up the road from there. On Wednesday, I ventured out into the middle of the desert to the DM07/08/17/18 grid intersection; again, spectacular views, like on Monday but just a little bit warmer. I was kind of surprised to find I was not the first to go there... a geocache was located right in the spot I needed to operate from. (Fortunately, there was enough room to squeeze my car in, between the actual geocache - a glass bottle surrounded by rocks sitting next to my front tire - and the wooden markers.)

Beautiful mountain views in DM19, stopping at the Little A'Le'Inn for lunch then operating along the ET Highway (DM27), and views from the DM07/08/17/18 grid corner in the middle of the desert:

             

 

Thursday May 12th we drove up to our second 'base of operations' in Winnemucca NV where we stayed 3 nights at the best rated motel in town and ate some pretty good food. Friday May 13th (FRIDAY the 13th?!!) I ventured out on a lonely road to the DN01/11 line and worked the daytime passes from there. Saturday the 14th I drove out to the DN00/10 grid line out on a dirt road west of town, where I was lucky to be far enough away from the nearby mountains to catch the low eastern passes of FO-29 & SO-50. I returned on Sunday to the same spot to catch a couple more passes for people who could not make the Saturday passes. Then that afternoon we drove over to Wells NV for a night where I caught a couple of XW-2 passes to give out that grid to a few folks out West.

Views from the DN01/11 line & the long road back up to the main highway, views from the DN00/10 line on a dirt road outside of Winnemucca, and the view from the motel parking lot in Wells, NV:

             

 

After Nevada, my daughter and I had some other things scheduled, so you might say I 'closed up the radio bag' for several days. I had planned to operate from several rare grids in Nebraska, but after delaying for a day in Wyoming due to several inches of snow forecast, I ended up only operating from one grid line (DN90/91) on the side of I-80 not too far from North Platte. By that point, we were both pretty tired & worn out and had a lot of driving to do to get home, so the sat ops bag went back into hibernation.

I took along a laptop and a 3G 'hot spot' and was very happy to get excellent coverage at all the locations I operated from. (did I mention I was in the Nevada desert?) I tried to upload to LotW as soon as possible, to give out 'instant QSLs', but on one day the LotW server was down and on another occasion a few logs had to be reviewed back at the motel for missing QSOs in the audio recordings. All logs have been uploaded. If you are missing an 'LotW QSL' or want to get a 'hard copy' QSL, please contact me.

 

The purpose of this expedition was to pass out rare grids to those that needed them. (Most of these grids are/were rare... heck, I know I still need them!) A considerable number of operators have been roving around the country working me from grids that I needed for several years now. I specifically picked these locations as ones that many of those ops still needed. In short, I wanted to 'pay them back' for all their efforts and the consideration they have shown me. But I also wanted to 'pay it forward', so I did my best to publicize my efforts so everyone could work me, old and new ops alike... I apologize if you did not get the info in time to work me from a needed grid or were unaware of my trip. And I am also sorry that my ops were limited to mostly daytimes passes while some were, unfortunately, still at work. But I determined early on that with the remoteness of the locations, distances to travel, etc., trying to operate at night in the desert was just NOT a good idea.

Thanks for making my trip a success! We had a great time and I sure enjoyed working all of you 'from the high desert'!

 

EM96ma - Iredell County, NC - SO-50: 15 AUG 2015

FM04dv - Rockingham, NC - SO-50: 14 AUG 2015

EM97oa - Draper, VA - SO-50: 13 AUG 2015

EM85xq - Marion, NC - SO-50: 29 JUN 2015

   

EM94mx - Rock Hill, SC - SO-50: 28 JUN 2015

EM96ma - Iredell County, NC - SO-50: 01 FEB & 07 FEB 2015

 

About portable satellite ops:

For anyone wondering what portable satellite operations is all about, it is taking gear into the field to operate over amateur radio satellites for the purpose of participating in the VHF/UHF Century Club awards program, commonly called VUCC. The basic idea of VUCC is not unlike DXCC, with the primary difference being the pursuit of Maidenhead grid squares, as opposed to foreign countries or DX entities. Normally one 'collects' grid squares from home by working stations in other locations. But in the event there are no active satellite stations in a particular grid square, someone might travel to that grid to 'activate it' or 'give it out' to others. Simply put, it's a bit like going on a DXpedition... except you don't usually have to show a passport.

My portable gear consists of two complete stations, plus computer & digital equipment. I have an IC-W32A HT and an Arrow II antenna that I originally used on the FM birds. I have since acquired a second Arrow II with carrying bag and created a shorter boom extention for the first one to make it a 'short Arrow'. I have added a pair of FT-817s for operating on linear satellites and an Elk log periodic antenna. In addition to the main gear bag, there is a smaller shoulder bag that contains extra batteries, chargers and other accessories including a highly accurate GPS, a compass, a multimeter, and a camera. This extra bag has a 12v sealed lead acid battery to run the 817s at full power away from my vehicle, such as when operating at a grid boundary line or the junction of four grid locators. Then I have a Dell Windows 7 laptop for storing information and uploading logs, a 7" android tablet for online communication and tracking, as well as a 3G Wi-Fi Hotspot to allow internet connection from almost anywhere I can get cell service.


 

 

A note about chasing rare grid ops:

If you have not heard a rare station yet on a pass that they plan to be on or they 'lose the bird' for a moment in the middle of a pass... PLEASE, DO NOT start repeatedly calling them. Some, like me, may be running only 5 watts (or less) and may get temporarily knocked out by someone else keying up at the same time or, in the case of the linear birds, someone with a strong signal activating the AGC in the transponder and knocking weaker signals below the threshold. BUT, if one person starts blindly calling, others will likely join in (competition mentality). And if every one starts calling, one after the other, HOW in the world is the station supposed to get back into the bird?! The motto here is the same as chasing DX anywhere... The key to success is to LISTEN, LISTEN, LISTEN... and when in doubt, LISTEN some more. Good luck, and I hope you bag a new one!

8108060 Last modified: 2017-05-21 03:30:47, 20046 bytes

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