FD from the Sierras

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From: Jeff Anderson (jeffa@ix.netcom.com)
Date: Tue Jun 25 1996 - 10:09:42 EDT


    Another fun Field Day from the Sierra Nevadas - my third from this
location just to the north of the little town of Long Barn, California,
at about 5000 feet elevation.

    The ridge-top spot that I use is about a half-hour's hike from the
highway. The hike itself is fairly straightforward - although all
uphill, for most of the distance there's an old, overgrown logging road
(sometimes just the hint of two ruts through the underbrush), and I
don't need to break-trail too often.

    The operating site itself is on a ridgetop with pine trees and an
oak providing antenna supports, and, about 20 feet away, a great view
of the Sierras Foothills to the north and west. Each year that I
operate from this site I learn something new. After my first year, I
learned to bring a camp stool (sitting on a log for 6 hours is too damn
hard!). After my second year I learned to bring a better way for
stringing up antennas (I now use a "wrist-rocket" sling-shoot with a
fishing reel attached - an idea from QRPp, and it works great!). And
this year I learned that I'll have to bring a portable table next year.
 Although the camp stool works well, I'm still hunched over another log
that's used as my operating table - after 6 hours my back and shoulder
muscles are all bunched up.

    I also learned that I'll need to pack lighter. This year's load,
excluding a jug of water, weighed 25 lbs. I initially packed all the
gear into an overnight airline bag, but, at 25 lbs, its single strap
cut too much into my shoulder. So I pulled out my back-pack (unused
for 20 years) and did it the right way.

    It's surprising that the gear weighed so much (hey, it's a QRP
station, right?). Equipment included a NorCal Sierra, NorCal 40A, MFJ
Tuner, 12 Volt gel-cell, G5RV (cut for 40), 50 feet of RG-58,
sling-shot, rope, and Bencher paddle, among other odds and ends. I'll
need to be more creative next year - the Bencher is much too heavy, for
example.

    I only operated Saturday, and made a total of 57 contacts on 40,
20, and 15. Not alot, but fun. I also brought along a little
direct-conversion transceiver that I'd built into a 9 volt battery case
and even made a few contacts on that - but direct-conversion is *not*
the way to go during a contest.

    By 6 PM I was hearing mainly dups on 40, and, as the sun was
beginning to set, I broke down the station and made it back to my
parent's cabin by nightfall for dinner and a comfortable bed. But at 4
in the morning I woke with a powerful itch to get on the air. Maybe
next year I'll overnite at the site!

Cheers,

- Jeff, WA6AHL

    


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