The January 2ØØ2 contest started out with snow overnight Friday nite and when I looked at the rover Saturday morning I sure was not in a contest mode. But the weather forcast for the weekend was for mild temps and melting snow. I left Saturday morning for my 2 hour drive to the EN2Ø/3Ø grid corners and as usual arrived there just after the start of the contest but was able to work a few Q's while still in EN21 my first was W9JN in EN54 and worked him on 2 and 222 while on the run, also worked WØKT in EM48 and Lloyd WBØULX in ENØ4 South Dakota. I was however having trouble hearing much to the north but conditions were better to the south as I was able to work EM48,37,19,18,Ø9 DM98 just to name a few. Also ran the bands and completed with Mike KMØT. Was no snow in Southern Iowa for which I was greatful and sure made it easier to pull off the road and manipulate the rover and yagis. Headed north and the next stop was the grid corners of EN22.21,31,32, here there was a little more snow on the ground. I quickly ran the bands with Mike, KMØT again. At this location I only have to drive around a mile section and activate these 4 grids and it is nice central Iowa flat ground. I also had a good time working Perry KØKD and Bob K2DRH on all the bands thru 1296. By this time it was dark and I was headed north to my next stop in EN33/23. With a fuel stop for myself and the rover in FT.Dodge I continued north toward Algona and checked into my room for the nite( it was about 1Ø3Ø CST) I then headed to EN33 and 23 operated in 33. I ran the bands again with Mike with no trouble and sat out to work some others. Hooked up with Jon and and Gary, WØZQ and WØGHZ and some of the other fellows in MN and WI. Again I and K2DRH (EN41) cleaned house thru 1296. Hooked up with Mark WBØTEM and Arliss,W7XU and work on 9Ø2,222,432 etc., and again ran the bands with Mike from EN23. It was a little after 1 am cst when I called it enough for the day and headed in for a hot shower and sleep! My first QSO later that morning was at Ø7Ø1 while headed north in EN33. Man it was different weather in MN as it was cold and about 15 mph winds and icy roads. Wouldn't you know it this is the perfect time to have some antenna trouble. Was watching the reflected power on my 222 stack and it went up sooooo I decided to do some trouble shooting and started to hook each loop up seperatly and found that the 4th loop was having troubles so I got the other matching harness out and ran the rest of the contest on just 2 loops ( anyone notice heh heh) well then a little further down the road after I had hit EN34 and was half way thru EN24 I noticed exactly at 1900 hours that I was not being heard as well on my stacked 2 meter loops and I looked in the mirror and with a bit of horror and disgust saw that the mast holding th top loop had snapped. Man this thing has done about 5,000 miles plus of rovering and bouncing around on rough roads and in high winds, why should it break? Well after my futile attempts to repair it ( cold and windy out there) I compromised and for the rest of the test was going to operate with just one 2 meter loop. Man I sure noticed the difference but I still had the 10 el yagi for when I stopped. Headed west to SD and then south and the Q's were a little harder to come by out there away from the major ham population especially above 1296. I headed south to EN12/02 in southern SD and was able to work NØLL on 6/2/222 and 432 from EN Ø2 in SD. At this time I had activated 16 grids and it was only Ø23Ø and the test would not end till Ø4ØØ so with out too much thought as to what to do with the rest of the contest I headed south into NE and central or east central part of the state to the grid lines of ENØ1/11. I made it in just over an hour ( faster speed limit in NE and SD) in fact I worked my first Q with KMØT @ Ø337 and we ran the bands in both grids with some time to spare and I then worked Larry NØLL and Gary NØKQY on some of the bands in both grids and at this time the contest came to and end and as with all the contest I seem to find myself about 2-3 hours from home and when the band goes dead so do I! Man I think I pulled over about 4 times to rest the eyes and walk around the rover but managed to get myself home about Ø13Ø cst and crashed for the nite and part of the next day. Thanks to all who followed me around and sorry to those who I did not get to work. Mike, KMØT, and myself really did not have much trouble running the bands from any of the grids, It always seems to get tough when I hit the corner of ENØ4 as it drops into a valley or I should say there is a ridge that runs from the northern part of SD and runs down the eastern part of the state and when you head west toward Huron and Mitchell you are on the western side of this ridge. I downloaded some color landform maps and assembled them with ND,SD,MN,IA,NE,KS,MO and it is intersting and I sometimes try to plan my mobil outings with this in mind, See you all in June!
Trip to DN91,DN92 in Feb. 2002