FOBB 2011 South Sandia Peak by NW8L

Flight of the Bumblebees 2011 - Bob Cunnings NW8L

This year I returned to South Sandia Peak in the Sandia Wilderness Area, overlooking Albuquerque, NM. The location was atop the long north/south ridge a few hundred yards south of the summit, at approx. 9600 ft. elevation. This is a nice location, with the terrain dropping off sharply to the east and west, but requires a good 4 hour hike to reach. The weather was warm and humid and thunderstorms were expected.

The antenna was a combination 40m dipole/20m "coupled resonator" made from 450 ohm window line, supported by two telescoping fiberglass poles. It was fed with a 300 ohm balanced feedline. The "shack" was in a nice sheltered depression in the limestone just below the ridgeline to the west, with a tarp providing shade. I used my 20/30/40 KX1 with autotuner. It was powered from a pack of 8 AA cells, putting out at best 3 watts on 20m.

I managed a total of 24 qso's - 18 BB and 6 home stations, all on 20 meters. After 2 hours of operation a clap of thunder overhead informed me that thunderstorms had formed over the mountain, and so I had to pack everything back up and retreat from the ridge. Fortunately the rain held off until I had started back down. The return hike wasn't bad, with only light showers on and off. Thanks to all for another great FOBB, I know some of you had to work hard to copy my weak signal.


I was glad to drop the pack when I got to the top, there's a lot of water inside.


This is the rig, my KX1 connected to the AA battery pack, running perhaps 3 watts out. I use a little self-powered speaker that plugs right in to the headphone jack.


The antenna. I divided the 32 ft. fiberglass pole into two 16 foot sections.


Here's the shack, under a Noah's Tarp in a notch in the limestone.


Looking along the ridge toward South Sandia Peak.


Looking south, toward the Manzano mountains in the distance.


Looking to the northwest, with Cabezon, a volcanic plug, in the distance. The ghost town of Cabezon is in that vicinity along the Rio Puerco.


I've discovered more of those mysterious "medallions" on trees along the CCC and South Crest trails. Here is the Massachusetts Colony tree...


and a closeup of the medallion. Germination date 1629!


This is the Huygens Manometer Tree...


and a closeup of the medallion with germination date of 1661. The rumor is that these dates were obtained by taking a core from the tree and counting rings, so perhaps "TB" means "tree bore"?


It's been a very dry year and the spring along the South Crest trail is barely running. Here's where the stream it feeds crosses the trail...


Then it runs over to the top of the waterfall...


and as you can see the waterfall is down to a trickle this summer. Let's hope for rain, and I'll see you next year, perhaps with an Elecraft KX3!