After yesterday's hamfest in Tucson, I made a detour to the southeast, so I could stop and operate from 3 different rarely-heard grids in that part of Arizona, before heading home. I made a change to the plans I had posted on this list last week, but was able to make many contacts from the two different places I operated from.
My first stop yesterday was the DM51bx/DM52ba grid boundary, west of US-191 and south of I-10 in Cochise County. This is location I usually visit once or twice a year, usually after hamfests in this part of Arizona. The spot I use is just over an hour's drive from the hamfest site, about 80 miles east of Tucson. After I found the exact spot and the obligatory photos of my station with a GPS receiver in the picture, I worked two AO-7 passes and an FO-29 pass. I logged 14 QSOs on these 3 passes, even after I stopped working the second AO-7 pass around the midpoint. My change in plans turned out to be a good thing.
When I stopped working the second AO-7 pass, I had about an hour and 40 minutes to cover the 70 miles to the second stop on this quick road trip - the DM52ax/DM53aa grid boundary. This spot is along US-70, northwest of the town of Safford in Graham County. In the past, I once made this drive in 80 minutes, in between a couple of AO-51 passes. I wasn't interested in setting any land speed records, but I ended up making the drive in 85 minutes. A larger part of US-191 between I-10 and Safford had been upgraded to a divided highway with a 65mph speed limit - and I took advantage of that. I found the exact spot next to US-70, set up my radio on the spot, and had 10 minutes to spare before the first of the two SO-50 passes. I had used my GPS to find the exact spot on the grid boundary, placed my radio on the spot, and took the obligatory photos after the first of the two passes I worked.
Each of the SO-50 passes had a lot of stations. Even with the crowds, I was able to hand out QSOs with DM52 and DM53 to 13 stations on each of the passes. Of these two grids, DM53 is the rarer of the two - a two-hour drive from either Phoenix or Tucson, away from I-10 through this part of Arizona. I had last operated from DM53 in 2011, and I think KL7R has been in this area recently. Someone always needs either - or both - of these grids, so it is fun to make the drive and put these grids into lots of logs.
All of my QSOs from Saturday, between the hamfest and other stops I made during the day, are in Logbook of the World. Within minutes after I uploaded these contacts, almost half of them were confirmed. Some of these QSLs were with relatively new satellite operators. It's nice to see more satellite operators using LOTW. If you worked WD9EWK and would like a QSL card, I still print and mail QSL cards. Just e-mail me directly with the QSO details, and I will check my log. If you're in the log, I will be happy to send you a QSL card. These locations are outside my 200km limit for the satellite VUCC award, so I don't seek cards for QSOs I make from those locations. There is no need to first send me your QSL card and/or SASE to get my QSL card.
Patrick WD9EWK/VA7EWK http://www.wd9ewk.net/ Twitter: @WD9EWK