Re: DM86 - June and July VHF contests

James Duffey

I have operated from a couple of locations in DM86.

In CQWW VHF 2018, I operated from the upper parking lot of Capulin Volcano. This location has good sight lines from just east of north around to the west to just east of south. This is good for most of NM and the front range of CO, if those guys ever got on and pointed south.  I worked W9RM easily from here, and Albuquerque also easily. I heard, but dont remember if I worked N2IC and K5LA. I pointed north and called you, Jonesy, and we easily worked. I may have picked up K0NR that trip as well. There was some Es to the northeast which is pretty much blocked by the volcano, so it is not completely useless in that direction, but I wouldn't rely on it. It is pretty much due south of your usual rover location near Rocky Ford. It is easy to drive up the volcano although the parking lot can get crowded in summer. The ranger up there had no problem with my parking there and operating, but I only took up one parking spot. I would return there.  

I also operated from the side of Mt. Dora, near Clayton, in 2009 and that was a good spot. You can drive to the top, but need to get a key from the guy who owns the land in Texas. I did not do that as it seemed too far out of the way. This was a memorable operation as there was widespread Es, including 2M, from that location. This spot further removes one from the population centers of NM and it has the problem of the front range guys not turning their beam, so I have not returned. 

I have also operated DM86 from the Texas panhandle, I don’t remember the exact spot, but that is pretty far from any activity and it has the problem of the front range guys not turning their beams. I did work KB0HH from there, but I think Gary has given up on his multi-multi operation. 

I think Jon, W0AMT, who carries his station in a backpack could hike to the high point of the volcano as there is a good trail that circumnavigates the volcano and operate, thereby negating the problem of blockage to the east. 

I echo John’s comments on looking for low horizons, particularly if you can find one with a negative horizon, as troposcatter signals strongly depend on the scatter angle, and the use of the < > app. It is hard to find a perfect site, but compromising with good site lines in the direction of major activity centers is a good start.

I hope that this helps. - Duffey KK6MC

James Duffey KK6MC
Cedar Crest NM

On Feb 3, 2020, at 21:13, John Klem <klemjf@...> wrote:

Jonesy -

I suggest you take a look at your candidate locations using, which will generate panoramas showing your horizon.  You'll be in the neighborhood of some pretty significant peaks.  You might want to check these out to see if they are blocking directions you hope to point.

I believe Duffey likes Capulin Volcano in that area, at least for looking south.  I haven't been there myself, only quite a bit further east in DM86.  I will say that it can be a bit too quiet in that area unless you get a good opening.  I typically gravitate toward areas with horizons of about 1 degree or less all around, but finding a spot with a negative horizon to at least one population center could be a better strategy.

John AA5PR

On 2/3/2020 4:02 PM, Jonesy W3DHJ via Groups.Io wrote:

At the risk of losing my Black Belt In Procrastination [*], I am toying with the idea of including DM86 in my Rover route in the June, and probably July, VHF contests.
So I am soliciting suggestions and comments from those of you in The Land Of Enchantment -- who might have experience with the location I natter on about below.
In going over paper maps and Google Maps, it looks like a good choice for a site would be south of Branson, Colo. on CO 389 -- which becomes NM 551 at the border. Specifically, it is a Good DM86 Site for me to get to from Pueblo AND also include the other S.E. Colorado Grids I want to activate. (i.e., my "usual" grids)
If you zoom in once, you'll see where the railroad and the highway cross the border is called Emory Gap. A "gap" does NOT sound like a Great Place for a Rover location.
Zooming back out once and you see a place called "Negro Mesa" to the ESE. . I believe it may be the "butte" I see from the roadside - below:
It's definitely ranch country  --  I see cattle in some of the zoomed views I've done.
Surprisingly there is a "Google Street View"   Actually 2: one from 2008 and one from 2012.
At MM 6 on NM 551 I see steel gates at dirt tracks on both the east and west side -- probably both padlocked with a chain. That's what the little sign said: "6".  But it can't be even a mile south of the border -- and. in the other direction, it must be over 10 miles from the junction of NM 456.  (Maybe miles are "different" in NM.  HI!HI!)

The best spot I could locate by driving "street view" seems to be a little futher south at:
... if I park up on the bank next to the road -- by the fence -- I would seen to have an acceptable horizon all-way-round.
After operating at the north edge of DM86, I would pull back over the edge of DM87 and attempt to hand out that grid to the NMVHF contesters -- and whoever else...  Then I would trek on up towards the 4 corners of DM87-DM88-DM77-DM78 and contest as Rover for the rest of the weekend(s) from there.

And, yes, I know the Colorado/New Mexico border is not necessarily located exactly on the 37th parallel from Kansas to Utah.
Comments?  Even something like, "DON'T GO THERE!" would be useful.

I don't actually HAVE the black belt for procrastination.
The ceremony keeps being postponed...

Jonesy W3DHJ

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