Lake Mead National Recreation Area

It was still cold and snowy at my home in Park City, UT. We needed some time away from the snow, and decided to head out to a rarely visited part of the desert, the Arizona Strip north of Lake Mead. This area is very remote to get to, and in fact you can not get to from Arizona. You have to approach from Nevada, and make your way in from there. We often camp outside of the NR, but due to NPOTA, we decided to head down to 'The Lake'.

As you can see here, there is not much lake. This spot would have been right on the shore in the past, but the area is now a giant dust bowl as the lake has receded. We had to drive over the lake bed to get here, and the winds were howling. Dust was everywhere. We found this little side canyon behind a hill that protected us from the wind.

The desert flowers were in bloom including quite a few cacti.

As well as the desert sage that was everywhere.

Hiking up canyon from our camp made you truly appreciate the term 'Desert Garden'.

This was my first major activation with my new portable folding hex beam. It performed great and allowed me to make 154 contacts all on solar power to all areas of the US. A great first NPOTA activation.

Death Valley National Park

We regularly travel out to Death Valley in the spring to experience the beauty of the area and enjoy some warmer weather. Park City is still often cold and snowy in April, which it was again this year as we left, while Death Valley will be in the 80s. So it was with great excitement that this year I get to also do an activation on a trip I would be doing anyways.

Our camp was in Saline Valley at a remote location with only primitive camps. You pack everything you need both in and out including power. So once again, this is a solar powered operation.

Saline Valley is very unique in that there are several hot springs located at this location. So you can be out in the desert, take an 'open shower', and jump in the hot tubs to relax and enjoy a cool 807.

It is also unique in that it is a military low flight zone. They allow pilots to train here with no minimum height restrictions, so they enjoy buzzing your campsite randomly. It puts on quite a show while you are there. Here is a video of a number of fly overs.

The solar weather was rough, and the bands made contacts tough. Very little radio traffic and a lot of people were complaining about the poor conditions. Also, the winds were very high during this period of time, forcing me to keep the antenna low when not operating. Due to the winds, I was not able to operate on Saturday at all. That said, the equipment held up and I was able to make 117 contacts from this very remote location. A success!