Thanks to the recent heavy rains in Southern California, the wildflowers on the hillsides and in the deserts are spectacular. So, I packed up the xyl, the k9, and headed off to see some scenic sensations. Naturally, our route took us into the Carrizo Plain, the future site of the "It's Not My Fault" opXpedition. As we drove up the coast from Santa Barbara, everywhere we looked patches of yellow, blue, purple and orange painted the hillsides and meadows.
Above,the Carrizo Plain and soda lake in the distance. The last time we were here in January, the entire place was a sea of green. This time the green had turned to yellow as billions of yellow and blue flowers grew everywhere.
The view below is looking east, toward the fault. The hills are the Temblor Range and the fault is visible just in front of the hills. Yellow and orange flowers paint the hillsides. The pictures do not do it justice as you must really see it for yourself.
The state flower, the California Poppy.
What more can I say? Flowers are nice, but having an opportunity to test out the new portable mast was my idea of a good time. I recently purchased 48 feet of fiberglass poles in 4 foot sections. Actually, its a military camouflage support system that works nicely as a mast. This first one, shown below, is 28 feet (7 sections). It's guyed at the top of the 6th section with the antenna supported at the top of the 7th. One person can easily set it up in about 15 minutes and it is very strong,
These paddle looking things are used to support a camouflage canopy. The paddles are held in place by a threaded assembly. Put it upside down and you have an antenna base! The set even came with stakes. The mast is raised by setting two of the three guys, and pulling the mast up by the third. You put it down the same way. Incredibly easy. I've learned to level the mast by simply moving the base around a bit until the mast is perfect. Then you can almost climb up it, it's that strong.
The antenna happens to be a 17 meter half wave dipole fed with ladder line. It's fed with ladder line because I wanted to and I had some.
Above, k6sgh operating in the mojave desert. The location was in the extreme western portion of the mojave desert (pronounced mo-ha-vay) about 17 miles northeast of the town of mojave (pronounced mo-ja-vay). Red rock canyon, a spectacularly worn sandstone canyon is 15 miles away. Its been used as a backdrop to dozens of western movies.
I operated for about an hour and made 10 rag-chew contacts. The band was lively with many stations. Most of my contacts were 55 to 59, with good reports. My buddy Don, wv4x was my first contact. I briefly listened to the contesters on 15 meters but attempted no contacts. I really only wanted to see how well the mast worked and now I am encouraged to add two more sections to it making it a 36 foot portable mast for a moxon or several dipoles. With trees or other locally acquired antenna supports, an operator can quickly adapt to a variety of configurations.