From: jaywa5whn@juno.com
Date: Sun Sep 17 2000 - 16:59:24 EDT

WOW! That was fun.

WB5LYJ & I arrive @ our site in the Mangas Mountains {grid square:
DM54ua, elevation: 9,163 ft. asl} Catron County, NM on Friday night @
0434 UTC . With the moon out & the Milky Way showing, who needed a flash
light? It's a lot of fun navigating on a road/trail in the moonlight,
while driving up the side of a mountain. =8-0

What a day time view from the mountain. We could see the Horse Head
Mountains to the east & plus the Datil Mountains to the north & the White
Mountains in AZ to the west & the Gila Mountains to the south. From our
site, we could even see the control house for the VLA on the Plains of
St. Augustin.

W5BI sets up 3 miles to the west of us at the Mangas Tower look out.
Friday night was really quiet, until about 0830 UTC on Saturday morning.
I hear what I think is a bunch of bull elk bugling near by. I quietly
extract myself from the tent and head towards the noise. Sound travels
for miles in the forest. 60+ feet high ponderosa pines every where. This
place is really dry & one spark & it's another Los Alamos fire storm.

Hint: don't ever surprise a bull elk, or you just might wear a rack of
some mightly sharp antlers. I stop behind a large pine tree and just
listen. Again I hear what I think is a bull elk mating call. With the
coyotes howling nearby, it hides any noise that I make. I drop down on to
my belly behind the pine tree and with the amount of moon light showing,
I quietly move around the tree to get a better view. Below me is a bow
hunter, using an elk bugling call. I quietly sneak back to the tent.

Guess what season it is in SW NM? Bow hunting for elk & deer, plus
{shotgun} turkey season. I crawl back into my comfy sleeping bag & resume
sending ZZZZZZZs.

@ 1330 UTC, Saturday, W5BI & talk on .52 {wilderness protocol}.
Evidently, there is a brown bear loose up by Gary rummaging through the
trash and bothering people. I think I know this bear {Yogi?} ;-)

Since this whole area is "open range", you will see ranchers on horse
back or ATVs out tending the cattle. 2 of the ranchers had stopped by to
check on us. In remote areas, the ranchers are really helpful especially
when they find a lost camper or hunter. When one of them had noticed the
antennas, he had asked numerous questions. He was impressed that with 4
watts I was chatting with people around the continental US & Canada.
They had offered us water & fuel. We had declined their offer & thanked
them. They {Pierson Ranchers} were camped down by Mangas Spring.

It was a pleasure to hear everyone on, however 20 cw was a bit strange.
Lots of QSB and the QRM was fierce. N4BP heard everywhere & he has a
hurricane headed his way. VA6RR, what a pleasure to just sit a chat for

NM was well represented during this event. I think I had worked just
under 50 contacts, but I actually had more fun just chatting with people.

Where was HP1AC & AL7FS?

Hint: don't put 15 meter antennas up next to a deer trail. One of them
had evidently found my coax last night.

40 cw @ night was fun, especially dodging the bc & digital stations.
N7VE, nice signal for a 7 feet high dipole from South Mountain. K1LGQ was
the farthest station east I could work. I had missed NQ2RP & K6F. I had
heard them once, then not again. :-( FYI, for the NQ2RP crew, I did
play the CD "War of the Worlds" in the tent. :-)

On the way home, we had passed through the ghost towns of Mangas & Lenew,
NM. Old frontier towns with the buildings still standing. What a pleasure
to just stop & see your heritage right before you.

NN1G, thanks Amigo, let's do this again. Lesson learned, check to see
when hunting season is for SW NM next year. Don't put antennas beside
large animal trails. The radio gear had functioned perfectly. It was the
nut between the ear phones that was making mistakes. ;-)

                     When is the next outdoor qrp event?

                                  72, ...Jay, WA5WHN/5 DM54ua, Catron
County, NM USA

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