(Updated June 25, 2012)
From the VHF Reflector - November 14, 2011
Hello to everyone interested in Grids and grid chasing on 6M. Below is
our group's plans for the coming year. We wanted to make this
announcement now in order to allow everyone to be ready for us in June.
We emphasize again that things might change, but we hope that will not
happen. I just got back from a physical reconnaissance of the area down
there. I spent about 4 days and drove about 1800 miles--looking at and
evaluating various places in the Big Bend area. It was a long trip......
Hopefully, we will be able to get to DL88 and the other location all
OK. We want to "clean up" a lot of the grids down in that area. We are
planning all 4 Wheel Drive vehicles, good antennas, and QRO power (only
part time in DL88). Please look for us this summer in these highly
sought after grids. Thanks...
Member of the K5N Group
THE K5N GRID ACTIVATION GROUP PLANS FOR 2012
Hello everyone interested in FFMA or Grid chasing. The K5N Grid
Activation Group (aka the K5N Group) is working on our plans for 2012.
After getting wiped out in 2011, we are planning again. We want to
mount DXpeditions that will benefit as many stations as possible.
We want to let everyone to know what grids we intend to activate and
when we intend to do that. We are looking at June 19th through June
26th--that is a few days before Field Day and includes the FD weekend.
We are planning a DXpedition divided into two groups. These two groups
will be in the field at the same time, located in different grids, using
different frequencies, and different calls. Here is the basic plan.
Please understand that these plans are subject to change.
Each group will consist of 4 operators, an antenna vehicle, and a
support vehicle. Here is a possible timetable:
June 19 Drive to the Big Bend area
June 20 Drive to final location and begin setup. If setup goes well,
we might operate some this night.
June 21 Operate
June 22 Operate
June 23 Operate--Field Day(1/2 day)
June 24 Operate--Field Day(1/2 day)
June 25 Tear down and begin the drive out
June 26 Finish drive home
GROUP1--DL88. Obviously, this is the really hard one. In a fit of
stupidity, we are going to try this one again. We will be using a big 4
x 4 pickup truck with a short tower mounted on a rack. The total height
of the antenna will be approximately 20ft above the ground (remember that
Talley2 is about another 15ft above the surrounding terrain). The
antenna will be 2 x 6M5X mounted side by side as H-pol with full AZ and
EL. We will operate Es whenever we can, most probably using 100W of
power. We will operate some MS at favorable times, but it is unlikely
that we will run all night long. Our call in DL88 will be K5N.
Frequencies: K5N will use 50.165MHz whenever we are operating Es
and 50.265MHz whenever we are operating FSK441 MS. EME QRG
is not decided, but maybe we will use 50.215MHz.
When EME conditions are favorable, we will operate EME with 1000W out.
This is going to be difficult, because the Park will not allow a
generator in DL88. That means that we will have to run QRO off
batteries. We will be doing a lot of battery charging. My plan is to
use one set of very large batteries for EME while we are charging
another set of batteries for normal operations.
The EME operation is to help those that are located just outside the
normal single hop limit, but too close for double hop. By posting our
plans now, it also enables anyone that wants this extremely rare grid to
get their 6M EME station in order. You know what we will have, so it
will behoove you to make sure that you have enough on your end to make
the trip....i.e. more goo and more aluminum.
GROUP2--Grid Line of DL79-DL89. We wanted to choose this Second
Location to maximize the value to the FFMA community. Listed in order
of preference, our choices appear to be:
A) The Grid Line DL79-DL89. Group2 will be operating from the DL79-DL89
line in the Big Bend Ranch State Park. They will be using a 6M-1000 amplifier
and a 6M5X and most probably a Pro2 for the rig.
Group2 CAN have a generator, so they will be running QRO at all
times. This will make things a lot easier. We may run an 8877 for 6m
or one of M2's KW solid state amps. The antenna will be a 6M5X.
The call used by Group 2 will be N5K.
Frequencies: SSB/CW - 50.170mc Es switching to 50.270mc for Meteor Scatter.
Again this year, Joey-W5TFW has consented to be our QSL Manager. Please
send ALL QSL cards to him with an SASE, not to the traveling members.
The traveling members will not have blank cards to send out. NO SASE to
Joey means NO QSL card.
We are willing to listen to "Intelligent" suggestions concerning our
plans. The K5N Group will decide what suggestions are "Intelligent" and
which ones will go to the bit bucket. Please send any suggestions to me
The K5N Grid Activation Group is hoping for a great year in 2012. Not
only for ourselves, but for all the other groups that are planning on
activating the various grids around the country. GL to us all!!!
73 de the K5N Grid Activation Group
A Grid Bandits DXpedition
From the VHF Reflector - May 16, 2012
Hello to all from Group 2, heading to South Texas...
Like our Team1, we will be in transit on the 19th of June, setting up early
on the 20th and operation thru the 24th. We will be on the DL79-DL89 grid
boundary in the Big Bend State Park.
Like Marshall said, we will be operating different frequencies; SSB/CW on
50.170mc Es and switching to 50.270mc for Meteor Scatter.
We should have access to some or all of the different internet reflectors,
primarily Ping Jockey for MS and ON4KST for Es conditions.
Our call sign will be N5K, and Joey-W5TFW will be our QSL manager as always.
Please SASE for QSL requests! He does a great job, and we couldn't pull off
all of these expeditions without him handling the QSL-ing.
As for our video and picture presentations, JD-N0IRS will be doing his web
magic with both teams on his website: http://www.kcvhfgridbandits.com/ and
of course the results are always first class..!!!
I get excited when he comes up with the new logos....Just like NASA mission
Thanks to both of our remote team members!!
Our South Texas team will consist of:
And as always, we can be reached here or on our dedicated email of:
Thanks, and hope to work everyone that needs these grids..
A Grid Bandits Dxpedition
From the FFMA Reflector - May 31, 2012
Hello to everyone.....As many of you know, the K5N Grid Activation Group is planning a 6M DXpedition to the Big Bend area of Texas to activate 3 of the rarest grids down there.
Group1 is planning to activate DL88--currently the rarest grid in the US. We will be "roughing it", sleeping in tents on the rocks and in the heat.
Group2 is planning to activate the DL79-DL89 line in the Big Bend Ranch State Park. Unfortunately, all the members of Group 2 except for George-NR5M have been forced to retire. This has happened primarily due to work conflicts that came to the fore at the last minute and one member who has not fully recovered from his open heart surgery of a year ago. He is just not completely up to par and did not want to risk the trip. For those that might not know George, he is a formidable operator and has serious resources that he can bring to bear on this project.
We need to find some experienced ops that could commit to this DXpedition on short notice. IF you are interested OR know someone that might be interested, PLEASE call me or have them call me ASAP so that we can "cuss and discuss" things.
Group2 will be staying in the Main Ranch House (Also called the Sauceda Big House) at the Big Bend Ranch State Park. This is like a 5 star motel facility.....like with showers, potties, air conditioning, a kitchen and other such stuff. You can see pictures of the main ranch house if you go to http://www.tomzap.com/FLIGHTtoBigBendRanch2.html. George has reserved the entire Big House for Group2 for the days that we will be there. George is bringing an air conditioned motor home with a generator to use as the operating position. No 128° heat like we will have in DL88......
We are planning to provide all the gear for this operation, however, if we find that we need something and one of the new ops has that item, we would appreciate the loan for the time of the expedition. We really don't know what we are missing right now, because all the gear that was to have been provided by the other ops is not now available. I can put together almost all of the stuff that we need, but there will probably be some small items that we don't have. Clearly, each op will be responsible for his own personal gear.
A basic outline for the expedition is this:
1) Depart from homes and drive to Marathon, TX on June 19th, a Tuesday. Clearly, if you are coming from a long distance away, this might not work. Russ-KB8U is flying to Midland and renting a car from there to drive to Marathon. Maybe someone could do that and car pool with Russ.
2) Drive to DL88 (Group1) and to the DL79-DL89 grid line in the Big Bend Ranch State Park (Group2). Upon arrival, set up and start operating. We hope to be operating sometime in the afternoon of June 20th.
3) We will operate June 21st thru June 24th, ceasing operations at Midnight on Sunday the 24th.
4) Pack up as much as possible on Sunday, finish packing out on Monday morning (June 25th) and begin the drive home
5) Finish driving home or flying home on Tuesday--June 26th, depending on where you have to go.....
We have a problem and we are in need of a solution. Are you a solution looking for a problem?? If so, please get in contact with me ASAP. We really don't want this major expedition to fail just because we can't find three good operators......Thanks....
73 Marshall K5QE
Phone is 409-787-3830
From the FFMA Reflector - June 3, 2012
Hello to everyone interested in 6M grid chasing and FFMA.....The
situation for Group2 now stands thusly: We have 3 good operators
committed for the trip to the DL79-DL89 in the Big Bend Ranch State
Park. We have on board at this time, George-NR5M (team leader),
Colin-KU5B, and Jim-KK6MC. Those are three good ops, so that is
excellent. We still have a single slot to fill, so if you would like to
be part of a first class, luxury, expedition to a couple of rare grids,
now is the time.
The rough outline is that everyone will meet at the Main Ranch House in
the Big Bend Ranch State Park(just East of the Big Bend National Park,
TX) at approximately Noon, June 20th. From there, the group will
proceed to the operating point and set up. Hopefully, they will be on
the air sometime in the afternoon/early evening of June 20th. Group2
will operate until Midnight of June 24th. I assume that some packing up
will occur Sunday night, with the remainder early Monday morning, June
25th. Then the group will drive out and go their separate ways. George
and Colin are from the Houston area and Jim is from the Albuquerque area.
We really would like to recruit one more operator for this project. It
will help a lot with setup and tear down AND with the operating. If you
are interested, please contact me right away.
Currently, Group2 is planning to operate with an M2 6M7JHV on a 30ft
tower trailer. Power will be two combined M2 6M-1000s, so you will not
be going to a weak kneed operation. You should make lots and lots of
contacts(assuming the propagation gods are with us). It should be a
memorable experience. Group2 will be staying at the Main Ranch House of
the Big Bend Ranch State Park....it is like a 5 star facility. George
is bringing an air conditioned motor home for the operations
point.....really roughing it here....
We need you, so now is the time to "belly up to the bar".....
73 Marshall K5QE
Phone is 409-787-3830 here at the home shack....
From the FFMA Reflector - June 4, 2012
Hello to everyone interested in FFMA and grid chasing....I got a call from Tom-NQ7R last night. He has signed on to Group2 for the Great Summer DXpedition to the Big Bend area. This is great news as it means that Group2 is back up to full strength. The roster is now George-NR5M (team leader), Colin-KU5B (both Houston area), Jim-KK6MC (Albuquerque area), and Tom-NQ7R (Casa Grande area, AZ)
Actually, Group2 of the K5N Grid Activation Group will be activating the DL79-DL89 line from a location in the Big Bend Ranch State Park. Gear is now planned to be a combined pair of the M2 6M-1000 solid state amplifiers and a 6M7JHV on a tower-trailer. They should be LOUD and will be using the call N5K. Tentatively, N5K will operate Es on 50.170MHz and will operate FSK441 MS on 50.270. Those frequencies are 5KHz above where K5N will be operating.
We believe that Group2 will have limited internet via a tethered cell phone, but we are not sure that there is coverage at the actual grid line location. IF there is limited coverage, the will be using the ON4KST 50MHz Region2 pages for liaison.
That is all the information that I have at this time. We have to operate the June VHF contest and then we will begin packing up all the gear.....
Thanks Jim and Tom for going out with us on short notice.
73 Marshall K5QE
Team Leader Group1
K5N Grid Activation Group
A Grid Bandits DXpedition
From the FFMA Reflector - June 16, 2012
Hello to everyone interested in the Big Bend area grids. This will probably be our last post before we leave. Some of us are leaving on Monday afternoon and some very early Tuesday morning.
We continue to have problems come up that require emergency solutions. Yesterday, I could not get the BGAN terminal to work with my laptop. I spent 2+ hours on the phone with their tech support and we tried lots of different things. I finally tried one of the purpose built 12V computers that Andy-KE5EXX built up for us two years ago. It worked just fine. So that led to the concept that there was something wrong with the laptop. I made a crisis run over to Andy's computer shop and he worked his magic on the two purpose built computers (they run off =12V) and the laptop. I am going to test the three computers again with the BGAN terminal tomorrow. Hopefully, they will work.
There were heavy rains in the Park two days ago. This is really bad for us. Hopefully, there won't be any more rain after that. When Tim-K7XC was there on Wednesday, it was reported that the road that we need to travel down was covered by mud for 100ft or more. Tim wisely decided that for his safety and that of his wife, he would not attempt to "ford" the mud. Hopefully, the mud will have dried up enough that we can get through that. We have built up some mats from 2 x 10 x 8ft lumber to help us get across the famous arroyo that stuck Danny-N5OMD and Bill-K5YG two years ago. I know that we will need these, but they may not be enough. We will just have to see.
Here are the general instructions for working us:
1)K5N will be in DL88 and will operate SSB/CW on 50.165MHz. We will operate meteor scatter (MS) on 50.265MHz using FSK441 and ALWAYS FIRST SEQUENCE. Using First Sequence only is standard procedure for DXpeditions.
N5K will be on the DL79-DL89 grid line and will use 50.170MHz for SSB/CW and will use 50.270MHz for MS, again, First Sequence.
2)K5N will be on the Internet via BGAN terminal (assuming that I can get it to work). We will be monitoring the K5N Private Packet Network and the ON4KST 50MHz Region 2 chat pages. The address of the K5N Private Packet Network is AB5K.NET with Port 2323. You can enter the K5N Private Packet Network by using your favorite packet spot software by entering the address and port above. I want to thank Terry-AB5K once again for setting this up for us. The ON4KST 50MHz Region 2 chat page is a common gathering place for 50MHz ops in our Region. To use those chat pages, you must already have an account there, so if you don't have one, sign up now!!
3)N5K is planning to have Internet via some kind of a cell phone connection. George-NR5M was working on that when I last saw him on Thursday. Hopefully, he will get that going all OK. He will use the ON4KST 50MHz Chat pages and maybe the Private Packet Network (see above).
4)Both groups are hoping to be operational in the afternoon of Wednesday, June 20th. However, all that is subject to the situation in the Park, the condition of the roads, and the WX down there.
GL to everyone that needs DL88, DL79, and DL89. We hope to work a lot of stations down there and to move these grids out of the "most wanted" category.....
73 From the K5N Grid Activation Group
From the FFMA Reflector - June 18, 2012
Hello to everyone interested in 6M grid chasing and the FFMA. When (and IF) K5N does get set up and begins operating Es in DL88, PLEASE just make a valid contact with us and let us go to the next station. Please don't spend a lot of time trying to get your grid across to us....that is not required for the FFMA. Just give us a 59 for your signal report. You already know our grid so we will give you a 59 and we are done.
When we are operating MS, we will follow the standard protocols and we will send 26 for the report rather than the grid (DL88). This will allow the use of the standard single tones.
We are currently in a motel in Johnson City, TX and will travel to Marathon, TX tomorrow. Things look good for us right now. In my last post, I told you about the rains in the park. At this time, the rains and subsequent washed out "roads" seem to be our only serious obstacle. We shall see....
I was able to get the BGAN terminal to work with a single computer, so we should have Internet at Talley2.
We will make another post from Marathon, TX, if there is any new news....
73 Marshall K5QE
K5N Group 1
From the VHF Reflector - June 19, 2012
I am taking 2m equipment with me to DL79/89 and will try some MS in the am if possible but any operation is secondary to the 6 meter operation.
There is a good chance I will be on from near Fort Davis after the 6m operation on Monday morning. Check 144.140 FSK
Hope to hear many of you in Texas.
Note: This page updated June 25, 2012