Field Day 2014 (NG0R + N2BEN)

The Field Day yearly adventure update for 2014

Ben (N2BEN) and John (NG0R)

We drove from central Minnesota to northwestern Montana for the 2014 Field Day event. As we neared the final portion of the drive it turns into 25 miles of gravel. Depending on "WHICH" entrance that you use to get into the area it either points you down a road that is mostly accessible with a two wheel drive car or  the other way is designed a four wheel drive truck with good tires.  --Guess which one the on-board navigation in the truck chose.

25 miles of gravel road into our site at Monument Peak

From the picture above you don't really grasp that we drove several miles in four wheel drive already down a "minimum maintenance" road that is only accessible in the summer. --Oh, by the way it snowed here a week earlier. The truck was moderately muddy and everything that was not packed tight or tied down was relocated to a new position very quickly from the bouncing. I am happy to say that the four wheel drive capabilities of our truck worked as advertised and the truck can cross water.

The drive in was very pleasant even with the overcast skies. 

There were a lot of spring wild flowers on display

The Montana spring color was amazing

The road a couple of miles below our site has some nice little streams

The last four miles is considerably more interesting and strictly 4 wheel drive unless it is extremely dry

Welcome to the top of the mountain at 7450 feet AGL

Welcome to the top of the mountain at 7450 feet AGL

The building is no longer on the fire tower legs but is still a great destination

Rainbow between showers and sunset

Our first visitor to our 2014 Field Day site

A couple of visitor that were there everyday for sunrise and sunset

We got a great sunset at the top of the mountain after a rain shower passed

Dinner of champions just bring the gas bottle and match

Ben getting ready for bed after a long day of being on the road

The scenery is stunning when the sun was out. 

Breakfast of champions (just add hot water)

You can just barely see the linked dipole antenna

A portable vertical for 12m --> 80m that will be used for 80m at this location

An added bonus at this site... they have two solar panels and deep cycle batteries that we tied into

Our operating station and scenic view while eating dinner and capturing the W1AW bulleti 

Did I mention the rainbows after brief rain showers

The deer hung out with us for hours at a time

Ben operating on 20m   --nice hat head :-)

Our Elecraft KX3 is our "go to" travel radio for trips

John getting ready to operate CW

Did I mention that we had a bear for our last visitor?

Did I mention that we had a bear for our last visitor?

Seriously... we had a black bear show up. Sunday morning I had just opened up my truck so that we could load up the boxes of gear that we did not need for the last couple of hours of radio operation. I had just put the dSLR into the truck so that it would not get crushed during our packing. Ben and I were standing in the door talking about what could be packed and loaded. We looked up to discover a bear sitting on the tailgate of my truck (inside the back of my pickup) licking the inside of our topper. He was no more than 40 feet away from us.

He was able to leave safely after being "persuaded" to leave and did not have to be "put down" but the outcome could have been different if he had changed directions.  

He hung around long enough (15 minutes) that I was able to grab the dSLR and take a some photos of him as he watched us from a little ways off.

We had a blast in Montana and really enjoyed the trip out west for a few days.

73 de NG0R & N2BEN