2009 CQP


A Dry/Snowy Year

This was my 18th consecutive year operating a CQP county expedition from Mammoth Lakes in Mono County.  Shortly before I left for Mammoth, I got an e-mail indicating that the water mains were being replaced in project and that I would have no water in my unit after the first night of my stay.  So when I arrived Wednesday night, I stocked up all the water I could put in buckets and trash cans to last me for the balance of my stay. I think that this was an omen that CQP was going to include dry conditions for me too.

View from kitchen window on Thursday morning...water main replacement project under way

Same view on Sunday Morning...fresh snow

On Wednesday I made the drive from my home QTH to Mammoth...along the way, I checked into one of the repeaters for a scheduled QSO with Kurt, W6PH, who was setting up a CQP M/M (K6Z) in Lone Pine, Inyo County.  I had worked W6PH for many years in many contests so it was nice to be able to finally say hello in person.  Kurt had a great site near Lone Pine Creek with a substantial antenna farm that was in the process of being setup for the K6Z MM team.



W6PH License Plate

Part of K6Z CQP M/M Team beginning to setup their antennas near Lone Pine Creek in Inyo County

By the time that I arrived in Mammoth Lakes, it was too dark to get any antennas up so I tried to get an early start on Thursday morning. I had to work around the water mains construction because they were installing the new pipe right under where I like to launch my dipoles. This year, instead of my usual 3 element wire beams for 15 & 20M, I planned to put up a tri-band beam. I installed the beam on a mast that I put up in the corner of my deck so it would be about 30 ft high. Unfortunately, I did not have enough clearance above the roof and I had to install the beam elements around the various tree limbs and roof obstacles.  In my pre-contest QSOs, the beam really was not getting very good reports on the air. I used the beam at the start of CQP on 20M but it wasn't performing very well.  Later on Saturday, I took time off to go back on the roof, change the feed line and reposition the beam. After that it actually seem to work better for the balance of Saturday. However, a snow storm hit Saturday night and it continued snowing most of Sunday. As a result of whatever the the snow storm did, I could not load the beam at all.  I ended up using my 80M dipole barefoot for the balance of CQP on 15M & 20M.  My rates suffered accordingly. I still had a good high dipole for 40M, but 40M was just not that productive on Sunday

Fresh Snow hits the Deck

Jim's Beam - Low and in the Trees

The Sun Shines through after the Storm moves out

I was very excited when VE8EV called me at 2331 on Saturday and gave me his #28 in NT.  I finished my sweep not too much later with the ID section logged at 0043.  When I put the beam up I had to work while standing on the steep sloping roof, but at least the weather was good.  However, after the Sunday storm, I was very concerned about taking down the beam on a snow covered roof.  Fortunately, I was able to enlist the help of one of the landscape workers to go on the roof, take apart the antenna and hand me down the elements.  I definitely expressed my gratitude and feeling that he literally saved my life.



TS-850S and TS450S wired Up and Ready to Go!


As always, CQP was lots of fun and it was nice to meet and have QSOs with most of the other Mono county hams active in CQP: W6SX, N3RC/6 and W7AB, W7FD and WA7DIA at W6M.

Thanks to all!


Jim, W6KC @ W6ML, Mammoth Lakes, Mono County

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