Tule Lake Segregation Camp, NPOTA NM31

NPOTA Entity: NM31

SOTA summit: N/A

Activation Date: April 18th, 2016

Portable operation: Yes

Radio: Elecraft KX3 operating at 15 watts

Antenna: AlexLoop magnetic loop 40-10m

Bands used: 40m, 20m 

Furthest QSO: ~2,700 mile to W1RO in New Hampshire

Hike in: No

Solo operation: No, with Ron W6PZA

ATT Coverage: Great

Photos: Copyright Paul Gacek 2016

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Tule Camp in Modoc County, CA

The landscape has changed quickly. Lava is replaced by water, cinder cones by crop fields and the open space is now dotted with grain silos instead of sage. I’m driving through Modoc county, possibly the remotest part of California, definitely the most north easterly county in the state abutting Oregon and Nevada and hundreds of miles north of the most populated areas. I’ve wanted to come here in my quest to better understand my adopted state. Despite decades in California I’ve really only grown to know the metro areas that in some respects are just like every other metro area replete with Walgreens, Walmart and every other cookie cutter chain that defines much of our lives. Modoc is wide open and a surprise having driven over so many mountains and through so many intra mountain valleys to get here. Its doesn’t disappoint.

There’s not much left. You have to imagine what it might have been like in the the 1940s. Some of it disappeared as enterprising settlers in the 1950s absconded with structures presumably with the approval of someone. Others have become derelict and collapsed. Somewhere in this journey, what remains has come under the purvey of the National Park service. And so on this bright Monday morning with a blue sky above I stand at a chain link fence staring at a sign that declares this is Tule Lake Segregation Camp. I’m not here to pass judgement on the decisions of my parents generation. Some say that without an awareness and knowledge of history we are doomed to make the same mistakes again. I like history and I’m open to learning. Tule Lake Camp, along with Manzanar located hundreds of miles south were “home” to many Japanese American families interned during the height of WW2. I reflect on my own good fortune to have lived in a generation that hasn’t seen anything as horrible as a world war. As I’ve gotten older I’m more aware on the tenuous nature of life. Make the most of what you have, be thankful for what you have and never take it for granted; any of it can vanish in a moment.


Ron and I are first to activate Tule Camp and we have a descent pile up moments out of the gate. We’ve settled into me starting on 20m with my AlexLoop warming the atmosphere with a heady 12 watts and he on 40m with his higher powered station and then swapping bands after 20 or 30 minutes. It works well as the bands aren’t great and I need the big guns to pull my weak signal out of the noise. I hear chasers but not all hear me. I’m fading and we try again. Patience and perseverance are key as many want the activation not knowing when next it will be activated. Its good to hear familiar call signs. While NPOTA is a runaway success with many activators and chasers, there seems an unspoken camaraderie between us as the activators trudge across many miles and the chasers stand by to pull us out of the noise once spotted. Mutual dependence in action!

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Its time to go and we look around, take some photos and move on across landscape that changes again and head for Whiskeytown.







  1. Nice report. I was down at the DX convention and Sequoia/Kings parks when I saw your spots. Holy Cow, you’re up in my neck of the woods and I missed you again! 😉 Listened for you guys but no joy.

    Tule Lake – lots of history there – and out in the middle of nowhere! Did you guys make it over to Lava Beds as well?

    73, Todd KH2TJ


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