W9FZ and KA9VVQ Sept 2017 10 GHz and Up Contest Travelogue

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For the September weekend, my work got in the way a little and shaped what plans we could make. I was awarded a trip that returned Saturday morning at 9:30am at the MSP airport. Before I departed on the trip, Janice and I loaded the Toyota 4-Runner with both dishes and all the things we thought we'd need for a two-day rove. This way Janice could get out early on Saturday and begin operating at the regional start-time of 7am. Then in the mid-morning, she could pick me up at the aiport and we could continue from there. Our interest was to work south towards Rochester lengthening the paths from a group forming a K0KFC's QTH in EN35rj and staying in line toward the Iowa Rover group in NE Iowa. For Sunday, our goal was to activate some spots in SW Wisconsin that would enable contacts with operators in Chicago, Madison, the Iowa Rovers, and even back to the group at K0KFC. When Glen, KC0IYT heard of our plans, they sounded like something he'd be interested in and he joined up with us.

The picture above is looking NW from Vasa, MN towards the Twin Cities.

Janice and Glen began the day at 7am. Rain had just ended and they set up at EN34ns to point south to the Iowa Rovers and the N0KP/W0ZQ duo at EN34gm. All were worked and then Janice and Glen relocated to EN34nt in order to work north to the group at K0KFC's at EN35rj and to Bill, K0AWU up in EN37ed. Again, success. (These spots were just east of Cottage Grove, MN.) But as is often the case, these first two spots took nearly two hours and now Janice needed to come pick me up at the MSP Airport.

Janice picked me up right on time but we then had to make a mandatory stop at Fed Ex for a few minutes. Once that was done, we met up with Glen KC0IYT at the Bloomington Park-and-Ride near the Mall of America. It is a 5-story parking facility near the mall and the airport. It is so near the airport that departing air traffic really raised the noise level while receiving. But it was a quiet Saturday--the parking facility normally caters to daily workers who were not present on this Saturday. So the top deck was open and we could locate where we needed to point.

We worked the group at K0KFC's (now WA2VOI, K0KFC, K0MHC, N0AKC and WB0EBG). We worked Bill, K0AWU up in EN37ed. We worked the KP/ZQ duo at EN34gm. And while there, we heard the rovers off of rainscatter working several of the other stations and were thrilled that the conditions held long enough for us to work the rovers (now N0UK, K0HAC, WB0LJC, K0CQ, and KC0SKM) on a 217 km path where we didn't really have a good view in that direction.

We headed southeast out of the cities and grabbed lunch at Subway. Then in Cannon Falls, we headed east to Vasa, MN. We started at the site that has a great view to the north (west through north to east). We worked easily the group at K0KFC's and then ran with Bill, K0AWU. You can hear a little rainscatter on his signal. The picture to the left shows the view to the Northeast from this site.

Video: KA9VVQ works K0AWU EN34pm to EN37ed

Video: KC0IYT works K0AWU EN34pm to EN37ed

Then we moved a quarter mile around the corner to get a view to the southeast and the Iowa rovers.

Saturday dinner was on the south side of Rochester. Then we drove onward into the dark to the St Charles grid corner. Rather than go to the spot that most of us are familiar with, we went about a mile west of the Truck Stop on the road just south of it and found a location that had good horizons all around (in the dark). We gave Bill, K0AWU a call to see if he wanted to run. It wasn't loud, but he was there and steady. We are glad he has a panadapter. This was 375 km from EN33ww to EN37ed. From here we proceeded to the hotel in LaCrosse and hit the hay.

Sunday morning, we got up early and headed southeast of LaCrosse on Hwy 14/61. Near Westby, we picked our first spot (which we've used in the past) at EN43np. It's 2.5 miles west of Westby just south of 14/61 on Cut-a-Cross Rd. There is a vineyard there for Branches Winery. The view is good South through Northwest and even Southeast at the southern edge.

A spectacular spot is at EN43oh that has a great view 200 degrees through 340 degrees. We spent quite a wait here for the Iowa rovers only to find that they did not have spots that had views in our direction. Our view in their direction was outstanding.

At Mt Zion, we whipped on to County W and pulled into a little cemetary yard because of the good view to the Southeast (EN43pg). We were successful with W9ZIH and W9SNR from here. We got a call from Greg KA9VDU who was much further north than we expected. I don't recommend it, but I blasted through this foliage to work him. It was a 141km path. I must have found the one hole through this thicket because neither Janice nor Glen could hear him.

Late in the day, we went to a wayside rest west of Fennimore on Hwy 18. It's about 3 miles west of town just past Gap Rd. The views 140-220 and 270-360 are spectacular but I have no pictures to show this year. But by moving a quarter mile over to Gap Rd. you can get a great view 90-120 and 160-255. We worked uphill to the east to the Chicago area over the beans. It was not great--but it worked. Additionally, we pointed straight south and ran back and forth with Ron KO0Z down near Springfield, IL. Quite a haul and we each heard snippets of signal in each direction but not enogh to make a contact.

Here we are at our last stop about 7:30pm on Sunday evening. It's been a long day. We ran with K2YAZ unsucessfully but did complete with ZIH, LB and VDU from this spot at EN42qw. We drove to Richland Center and had dinner at the Culver's and then on to the cabin in Hillsboro. A full weekend of radio!

Here is a graphic of the paths Glen, Janice, and I worked over this September weekend. The Q's with K0AWU were our long ones at 257, 300, 311, and 375 km.

It was a wonderful weekend filled with fun and beauty.

Bruce W9FZ and Janice KA9VVQ

Score details (for both weekends combined):
                   Janice     Bruce
Number of Q's:	     148      140
Unique Callsigns:    26	      26
Distance Points:     30667    29797
Total Score:  	     33267    32397

w9fz (at) w9fz.com