2022 – The Summer Trip

St. Mary Campground, Glacier National Park, Montana

Another summer trip has come and gone. This one did not feature any new locations or set records for being away from home for the longest time. We did discover some new trails in Yellowstone as well as getting to know older trails in Grand Teton in different ways. The consensus for favorite hike was the out-and-back we did in Paradise Valley, not far from Fishing Bridge in Yellowstone. Ask me some time about the Solfatara North trail with the grizzly who wanted to take us out to dinner (take us out as in kill us… and then we’d become dinner). Or maybe it is best not to bring that hike up at all.

At times it seemed like the odds might be against us. Primarily with the June 2022 flooding in Yellowstone potentially putting a large chunk of our summer at risk. A new menu prevailed with a few winners and a general request for less potatoes.

The wildflowers were sensational, as always.

The culminating event, when we were down to Emily and myself, was a hike around Jenny Lake. What a blast!

Something new this trip was my increased attempts at getting on the air this year. Usually I do very little amateur radio work on the summer trips. To be honest, I am normally either too busy or too tired to get on and enjoy radio. This year I made an effort to get on the air and see if I could make some CW contacts. Although I had visions (and most all the equipment) to setup an operators position at the back of the station wagon, I ended up making all of my contacts from the driver’s seat. Helping me was my J-45 leg key and my Field Notes memo book for handcopy. When I did get on air, I was generally successful in making contacts. My best luck was on 20M around the SKCC watering hole at 14.055 MHz. An enjoyable aspect to making the contacts was sending each one a postcard from the national park I was at… using the postcard as a QSL card. Overall, I made eleven contacts – beating any previous year by quite a bit.

Today I upload the contacts to LoTW after figuring out how to add the locations from where the contacts took place into my LoTW account (three separate locations). Then, after I had entered the contact information into my fldigi-based logbook, I exported the contacts, using the correct location, into LoTW. It was nice to see many of my contacts had already confirmed the contacts.

I do need to make some modifications of my HF vehicle installation. The display heads up front are great! Using the Ram setup really made things organized and solid. The FT-891 in the rack tray needs to be adjusted to mitigate its ability to bounce too much on a bumpy road. I also need to repair the feedline into the radio. This fall, I would like to try out a back-of-the-vehicle setup.

As always more and consistent Morse practice will always yield dividends.

The Adventure in adventure-log

This missives here are related primarily to one of two things: amateur radio or summer camping.

Since I retired from the Army, we have spent a portion of the summer traveling around the country visiting national parks. Trips (a better term is adventures) have ranged from well over two months to about three weeks. We have been out to Maine’s Acadia National Park as well as Washington’s Olympic and quite a few in between. A few of the parks I have been to many times over the last ten years. Yellowstone has probably been the most traveled to, although not my favorite. That title belongs to Glacier National Park. Another favorite is Grand Teton National Park, just south of Yellowstone.

This summer is a greatest hits tour: Glacier, Yellowstone, and Grand Teton for a total of four weeks. Not as long as I prefer, but other commitments take priority.

Part of our families tradition during our national park rambles is to play a variety of games. Some of these are straight forward like Uno, Skip-Bo, and Yahtzee. Others are a bit more obscure: Sparkle Kitty, Farkel, and Guess That Park (national park trivia). This year, as the girls are now both teenagers, we are uping are game play to include two include two classics: Spades and Hearts.

While growing up, our family frequently played various versions of Gin Rummy. I have many a fond memory of playing cards at the houses of relatives or at the family camp we used to go to up in the Sierras. My first posting in the Army was to Fort Wainwright, Alaska with an aviation unit. I learned quickly that while we were in the field, when we were not flying or preparing for a mission, we would play cards. The game was not Gin Rummy, but instead either Spades or Hearts. Both were great fun and we had a great time. So, this summer we will give Spades and Hearts a try and see how it goes.