PIKES PEAK QSO


MISSION TO THE MOUNTAIN

My wife and I took the cog railroad up Pikes Peak at the end of a Colorado vacation in 1991 which just happened to be the weekend of the microwave contest. There were about six hams up there making SSB and FM contacts north to Wyoming and east to the Kansas border. That was all it took for the 10GHz bug to bite again. I decided then and there that I was going to build another 10GHz . rig.

The equipment was completed about a year ago and all I had to do was wait until August. Several Colorado clubs were contacted but nobody seemed to know of a microwave group. Of course I assumed that there would be others up there to help me with liaison, frequencies, antenna direction and so on.
A reconnaissance mission was made on Friday. No other hams were evident but this did not surprise me. The weather was cold but clear with some snow on the ground. The north side was clearly the place to set up. Several good spots were noted. Saturday produced nothing but bad weather with snow and clouds covering the peak so I stood down as clear weather was forecast for Sunday.

7AM Sunday morning opening time saw me at the gate. The drive takes about an hour. Again there were no hams on top but it was early so I parked at a good spot and had breakfast in the concession building.

9AM and still no hams, I am thinking do I have the wrong weekend? With nothing else to do I set up the tripod with the transceiver and connected the battery to let the transverter warm up. As I tuned by 10,368.1 there was a signal into open waveguide. K0RZ. I gave him a call and he came right back with a good report. Still with no antenna we had a short QSO. He said that the local microwave group decided not to use Pikes Peak this year in favor of other sites but that it was great to have me there to give everyone another grid square. After my 2' dish was bolted on the ether really came alive. Logged were K0RZ, N0IO, N1SJ, N0UGY, K0OXU, WB0WNY and KB0LP. Two were rovers. So all in all 9 squares were worked.

Now it is 11:30 and I am cold. The temperature is about freezing but with the sun out it is not bad. The clouds are coming again so I retreat to the concession building for lunch and a warm up. I am back at the rig by 12:30. No new stations and nobody needs the square anymore so I say thanks all around and pull the big switch. It was a fun day.

Allan Webb W5RLG