NPOTA Entity: Scott’s Bluff National Monument MN66
SOTA summit: Scott’s Bluff, W0N/PH-005
Activation Date: July 27, 2017
Portable operation: Yes
Radio: Elecraft KX2 operating at 10 watts
Antenna: LNR End Fed
Bands used: 20m
Furthest QSO: AC1Z, New England
Hike in: Few 100 yards and 100 feet elevation
Solo operation: No, with Guy N7UN
ATT Coverage: Fine
Photos: Copyright Paul Gacek 2017
Metro Denver recedes in the rear view mirror along with our momentary glimpse of the Rockies. The area is typically mid west with flat views and fields that disappear into the horizon. We cross the state line heading due north on a road that is empty except for a few eighteen wheelers, dually trucks and travelers like us. The monotony is broken by punctured land, ribbons of rock nudged up by nature whose confidence builds and pushes harder further along.
It’s great to witness the wonder and variety of my adopted home.
This is partly an unabashed association bagging trip as Nebraska is a new one for us both but in many respects we are more interested in the larger story that this area is inexorably link to, one of history’s great human migration stories, the settlement of The West.
Having driven thousands upon thousands of miles throughout The West over the last two years I’m in constant awe of its size, beauty, remoteness and unforgiving nature. To think that half a million people over a couple of decades pushed carts, walked or had the luxury of a covered wagon and wandered west over fifteen hundred miles of unknown terrain is simply mind boggling. Much of this has shaped who Americans are both in reality and myth.
We wander around the NPS exhibition on Scott’s Bluff. Whether you are on the Mormon Trail, the Oregon Trail or the California Trail, Scott’s Bluff is a major milestone and about 600 miles west from your start in Kansas city.
Like a kid I still get a kick out of getting a park stamp.
It’s hot, humid and thunder clouds hang menacingly over Gering just to our east. It’s a very short walk to our activation point. The curious aren’t bashful and I can hear Guy tell the story of ham radio and SOTA to visitors. As old school or geeky as classic radio may seem most seem quite impressed and some even amazed that we can chit chat with others thousands of miles away with our flimsy wire and a black box far smaller than an iPad.
The thunder clouds show up as loud static crashes in the headphones. Its hard to hear our chasers and sometimes the noise startles.
A great start to the trip and we heard off in our rental just as the skies open and dump rain onto the last of the visitors at Scotts Bluff.