Rover Location Database

Grid Field DM

33 locations - DM89-DN80 Grid Line - Gringo Pass - DM56-66 Line - Valley of Fires - Little Pilot Peak - Cibola NWR - Ella Mtn - West Mtn Peak - Chuckwalla - Apache Creek - Summit Mtn - Wahweap Overlook - La Veta Pass - DM85-86 Line - Cerro Gordo Peak - Salt Tram Summit - Dante's View - Owl Hole - Palo Verde - Bradshaw Trail - Black Mtn - Wupatki - DM07-08-17-18 - Smokey Mtn Overlook - Kris Eggle Campground - Burr Trail - Picacho Peak - George Davis Park - Fort McKavett - Caudle Park - Tillotson Trailhead - Bluewater Lake - Delta Desert

Potential VHF rover sites in grid DM. Be careful.
DM dimensions are 1655.8 by 1623.5 miles.
Hover mouse over a map marker for more about the grid and site.

DM89-DN80 Grid Line, DM89vx39

Latitude, Longitude
39.999990, -102.222450
Map Location Near city of Wray, Yuma County, CO, Altitude 3500
Map See Google map, Bing map, OpenStreetMap, Beam heading

Last update: 2021-08-18
Comments by: Barry K7BWH

If you want to park exactly on a grid line, then just off from Hwy 385 south of Wray, CO, are some possible places to park on the DM89 to DN80 grid line. Note that County Road 30 runs east-west and has dirt roads going N-S that can be explored to find a place to park without power lines. This coordinates listed here is one example; you should scout to find a spot you like.

Gringo Pass, DM31ov21

Latitude, Longitude
31.880600, -112.813200
Map Location Near city of Lukeville, Pima County, AZ, Altitude 1400
Map See Google map, Bing map, OpenStreetMap, Beam heading

Last update: 2021-07-01
Comments by: Wyatt AC0RA

Gringo Pass 1 Gringo Pass 2 Gringo Pass 3 Gringo Pass 4

This is the RV Park on the east side of the Highway in Lukeville, AZ. It was pretty well abandoned when we were here on June 7th, 2021 - but you could still buy a site for a night. So all I did, was walk into the Gas station and was like ‘hey dude, I wanna setup a portable radio station, anyplace I can do that?’ He was like ‘sure thing, 20 bucks go over there'.

From the east side of the RV Park (towards the far end) it is pretty quiet on 6m except when pointing directly at a nearby cell phone tower or at CBP checkpoint. Very quiet from about Due North to the Southeast - where most of the people you'll be looking for are found.

It is very close to the border, so vigilance is appropriate - but it seems safe with such a large CBP presence within a few hundred yards. Sitting here for a day we haven't been approached by anyone.

I’m not going to lie, this place looks kinda sketch. I'm pretty sure it’s straight out of a Fallout game.

There was a gate and sometimes a thick chain over the road to RV park. Ask at the gas station and they opened it for us. We can walk to the Gas Station for toilets.

It seems like there is no reason that DM31 should ever be rare after this. This is the recipe: drive to Lukeville, pay 20 bucks, go QRO.

If we get into a running gun fight with cartels later tonight then I reserve the right to change my story, but right now, it’s been extremely chill.

There's a Verizon cell tower site nearby. I could throw a rock and hit the cell site.

Driving directions: Go to Lukeville, AZ. Go into the Gas station and ask for a RV spot, get the permit then go across the road (it's the only road) and pick a spot. The road to Lukeville is 2-lane highway, the RV park itself is flat and level gravel. Passenger cars will have no trouble.

Restrictions:

You'll need to be fairly self sufficient, as there is no water. There is 120vac power at each site, but no 220vac power. Some sites have plugs but no power - bring a multi-meter and test before setting up camp.

$20 + tax for the RV site which you buy at the Gas Station. Appears to be open 24/7 - and no restrictions really that we came across for noise or anything else.

DM56-66 Line, DM56xo93

Latitude, Longitude
36.596403, -108.000100
Map Location Near city of Huerfano, San Juan County, NM, Altitude 6216
Map See Google map, Bing map, OpenStreetMap, Beam heading

Last update: 2021-05-15
Comments by: John AA5PR

Valley of Fires, DM73aq94

Latitude, Longitude
33.684067, -105.922014
Map Location Near city of Carrizozo, Lincoln County, NM, Altitude 5200
Map See Google map, Bing map, OpenStreetMap, Beam heading

Last update: 2021-04-06
Comments by: Gene KB7Q

Valley of Fires 1 Valley of Fires 2 Valley of Fires 3

Valley of Fires Recreation Area (link) is located adjacent to the Malpais Lava Flow. Approximately 5,000 years ago, Little Black Peak erupted and flowed 44 miles into the Tularosa Basin, filling the basin with molten rock. The resulting lava flow is four to six miles wide, 160 feet thick and covers 125 square miles. The lava flow is considered to be one of the youngest lava flows in the continental United States.

This is an interesting diversion on the long cross-state journey on US 54. From El Paso to Santa Rosa on I-40 is 270 miles on a route which passes much barren scenery of grassy prairie, stark mountains and sandy desert.

Amenities range from tent camping to RV hookups at good prices. You can get mains power and water at half price, $9 a night, with a Senior pass.

Restrictions: First-come first-served campsites.

Little Pilot Peak, DM18cm28

Latitude, Longitude
38.535904, -117.813401
Map Location Near city of Gabbs, Nye County, NV, Altitude 7600
Map See Google map, Bing map, OpenStreetMap, Beam heading

Last update: 2021-02-23
Comments by: Barry K7BWH

Exploration needed. Satellite view suggests possible access to the ridge line.

Maybe this Nevada wildfire webcam from across the valley current conditions.

Cibola NWR, DM23qh09

Latitude, Longitude
33.329540, -114.659940
Map Location Near city of Cibola, La Paz County, AZ, Altitude 270
Map See Google map, Bing map, OpenStreetMap, Beam heading

Last update: 2021-02-12
Comments by: Curt K7ZOO

Cibola NWR 1

Curt writes: In DM23, I like to operate on BLM land just east of Cibola National Wildlife Refuge, . Easy access for any vehicle, flat and clear view of the horizon. I think it's about a half mile from the two-lane highway, not much traffic at all, so the acoustic noise was hardly noticeable. You can driver further east on the dirt road (it was in good shape) and find slightly higher spots, too.

I used to enjoy activating DM23 out of Kofa NWR, especially the cabin on the NE corner. But the Refuge management changed recently, and last year they denied an SUP application for any radio antennas. It seemed like a very narrow interpretation of their mission and policies, but so be it.

Curt / K7ZOO

Driving directions: Cibola National Wildlife Refuge

Ella Mtn, DM27sl30

Latitude, Longitude
37.459549, -114.467014
Map Location Near city of Las Vegas, Lincoln County, NV, Altitude 7400
Map See Google map, Bing map, OpenStreetMap, Beam heading

Last update: 2021-07-04
Comments by: Petr AG6EE

Ella Mtn 1

There are only three lookouts standing in Nevada, and Ella Mountain is the most active. One of a handful of lookouts in the U.S. that are operated by the BLM. It lies in the Clover Mountains south of Caliente, NV 80 miles north of Las Vegas near the Utah border. It was constructed in 1962.

West Mtn Peak, DM37bd37

Latitude, Longitude
37.155062, -113.883546
Map Location Near city of St George, Washington County, UT, Altitude 7400
Map See Google map, Bing map, OpenStreetMap, Beam heading

Last update: 2021-07-03
Comments by: Barry K7BWH

Chuckwalla, DM23il68

Latitude, Longitude
33.495660, -115.275347
Map Location Near city of Blythe, Riverside County, CA, Altitude 2700
Map See Google map, Bing map, OpenStreetMap, Beam heading

Last update: 2021-02-16
Comments by: John NA6L

Chuckwalla 1 Chuckwalla 2 Chuckwalla 3 Chuckwalla 4

Don't go here, it's gated off.

This is an ideal example of a long slow drive to a perfect-looking-from-a-distance site. It's an activation location with buzz-kill gates. We only mention it to save you a trip. There is not much worse than having to turn around a 19.5’ vehicle on a 12’ wide road. The Chuckwalla Mountains Wilderness Area might have a good hilltop but this isn't it.

John NA6L

Apache Creek, DM53rs51

Latitude, Longitude
33.755280, -108.536110
Map Location Near city of Apache Creek, Catron County, NM, Altitude 7800
Map See Google map, Bing map, OpenStreetMap, Beam heading

Last update: 2021-02-09
Comments by: John NA6L

Apache Creek 1 Apache Creek 2 Apache Creek 3 Apache Creek 4 Apache Creek 5 Apache Creek 6 Apache Creek 7 Apache Creek 8 Apache Creek 9

John writes: This spot is along Five Springs Canyon, a reasonable camping area but without great elevation.

This was the first day of deer hunting season. After spending an entire day following many leads (some from nice locals) while looking for a "great" location we settled on a "suitable" spot to transmit. It was a long day and we were tired.

Five Springs Canyon has a reasonably clear horizon in most directions, is fairly easy to reach on dirt roads and we could camp there for the night. Not hearing too many gunshots was a definite plus. Being able to camp on site and prepare almost everything the night prior was very helpful for a predawn 6m MSK144 effort.

I put together an 8 element cellphone Yagi attached to an industrial sized cell booster system that we use in the boonies – but this location really does not have any service, at least on AT&T.

73 John NA6L and Denise KJ6JAL

Note this might seem to be a good waypoint on a possible route to Eagle Peak Lookout, DM53rq02sk (33.676778, -108.576931), but that road is gated off. Eagle Peak is not recommended.

Summit Mtn, DM35wd31

Latitude, Longitude
35.131376, -112.135299
Map Location Near city of Williams, Coconino County, AZ, Altitude 7777
Map See Google map, Bing map, OpenStreetMap, Beam heading

Last update: 2021-02-09
Comments by: John NA6L

Summit Mtn 1 Summit Mtn 2 Summit Mtn 3 Summit Mtn 4 Summit Mtn 5 Summit Mtn 6 Summit Mtn 7

John writes: Summit Mountain offers great horizons in most directions. For you summertime activators this summit is attractively cool at 7,777 feet.

We had hoped to reach the top of Bill Williams Mountain but it was gated due to fire danger – plus the location may have precluded camping and even transmitting due to the huge commercial transmitter site. We kept looking for another activation site option and ended up navigating on a 4x4 trail (in our too tall, too long, too low, and too heavy camper van) to the top of Summit Mountain.

In the pine forest at the top we found a great site where we spent the night and were able to get an early predawn start on meteor scatter.

After the activation we drove directly to SoCal in temperatures as high as 119* -- we soon missed this cool mountain perch.

73 John NA6L

Driving directions: Almost like a labyrinth there are dirt roads everywhere, so plan your route carefully in advance.

Wahweap Overlook, DM46gx02

Latitude, Longitude
36.969013, -111.499111
Map Location Near city of Page, Coconino County, AZ, Altitude 4210
Map See Google map, Bing map, OpenStreetMap, Beam heading

Last update: 2021-02-09
Comments by: John NA6L

Wahweap Overlook 1 Wahweap Overlook 2 Wahweap Overlook 3 Wahweap Overlook 4 Wahweap Overlook 5 Wahweap Overlook 6

The Wahweap Overlook is a rest area above Lake Powell, AZ, an extremely easy place to reach with an open horizon.

This is a wonderful activation location that checks all boxes. It has a clear horizon and great drop-offs in almost all directions. It’s a very short drive from the highway to the mesa above the marina with a wonderful view of Lake Powell – even a passenger car will have no problem getting there.

Although it would be a bit hot and toasty in June, this spot would be great for Es season.

We operated using 400w to 700w for about 4 hours (good sun for the solar panels) with a steady flow of callers.

73 John NA6L and Denise KJ6JAL

Restrictions: There is no camping on-site and the access gate may be closed from dusk to dawn (it was open early on the day we went).

La Veta Pass, DM77jo52

Latitude, Longitude
37.593540, -105.203890
Map Location Near city of Walsenburg, Huerfano County, CO, Altitude 9400
Map See Google map, Bing map, OpenStreetMap, Beam heading

Last update: 2021-02-09
Comments by: John NA6L

La Veta Pass 1 La Veta Pass 2 La Veta Pass 3 La Veta Pass 4 La Veta Pass 5 La Veta Pass 6

La Veta Pass, CO, is the home of an old ghost town appropriately-named "Uptop".

What this site lacks as a great activation location (has good east and west) for 6m it makes up as a fun and historic destination to explore.

Cool images and history from Bing: La Veta Pass, "Uptop"

There are some better locations for radios nearby but we were happy to setup and transmit in the mornings right where we camped. Because this was our first activation using our new van we needed an easy-to-get-to, easy-to-find and easy-to-setup location for starting a shake-down cruise. Even with the limitations of being nestled in a mountainb pass, we worked a great deal of stations.

We were able to spend the two nights on-site and even met the current owner's family (the town was for sale at the time) who were visiting the town for the weekend.

73 John NA6L and Denise KJ6JAL

DM85-86 Line, DM86ra10

Latitude, Longitude
36.000063, -102.567233
Map Location Near city of Dalhart, Hartley County, TX, Altitude 3984
Map See Google map, Bing map, OpenStreetMap, Beam heading

Last update: 2021-02-08
Comments by: John NA6L

DM85-86 Line 1 DM85-86 Line 2 DM85-86 Line 3 DM85-86 Line 4 DM85-86 Line 5 DM85-86 Line 6

John writes: The DM85-86 grid line includes a broad farmland area in the Rita Blanca National Grasslands around the local airport in Dalhart, TX.

We parked by this pasture/agricultural field, flat for many miles around, offering the delicious prospect of activating two grids at once.

It was so oppressively hot and humid that we rented a giant air conditioner for the night (it came with a free hotel room), allowing us to pre-assemble our antenna and get the other gear ready. The day before our activation, we scouted potential grid-line sites until well after dark to allow a predawn activation.

The easy part is to find a road that runs roughly north south, and then drive it until the GPS shows you are on the center of the gridline, then find a suitable safe location to operate while still staying on the exact gridline.

The difficult part is finding a great location on that exact grid line without nearby electric cattle fences, overhead power lines, huge diesel powered water pumps, active farming/ranching and fields that look like miles of mud but are actually something from the backside of a cow! A long stay at the quarter carwash was our friend.

Although this spot was on flat ground it was one of our most successful operations. There was nothing blocking our signal to the horizon in all directions. I would also guess that being on damp rich soil helps.

Regards, John NA6L

Cerro Gordo Peak, DM16cn31

Latitude, Longitude
36.549601, -117.802739
Map Location Near city of Lone Pine, Inyo County, CA, Altitude 9200
Map See Google map, Bing map, OpenStreetMap, Beam heading

Last update: 2021-02-06
Comments by: Petr AG6EE

There are more places on the ridge above Saline Valley to operate from, but they require 4WD with low + differential lock, while these two spots in DM16cn and DM16bo are relatively accessible.

Salt Tram site is cool, but it's not for beginners. But if you try to get there from Swansea, it is insanity.

There is a house structure where you can get shelter in a pinch.

Salt Tram Summit, DM16bo75

Latitude, Longitude
36.607886, -117.853589
Map Location Near city of Lone Pine, Inyo County, CA, Altitude 8720
Map See Google map, Bing map, OpenStreetMap, Beam heading

Last update: 2021-02-06
Comments by: Petr and John AG6EE and NA6L

Salt Tram Summit 1 Salt Tram Summit 2 Salt Tram Summit 3 Salt Tram Summit 4 Salt Tram Summit 5 Salt Tram Summit 6

The Salt Tram Summit Station is at the highest point of the old salt transportation tram running from Saline Valley to Swansea. The historical wooden structure still stands along with the historical Summit House structure.

This is a well-documented but difficult-to-reach destination; search for current information, such as here and blm.gov.

Driving directions:
From Lone Pine California take Highway 136 East Toward Keeler.
Turn Left onto Cerro Gordo Road. Note road is primitive and unmaintained.
The Salt Tram is approximately 14 miles ahead.

Restrictions: Portions of the road north of Swansea are subject to washouts and even when in good condition requires high clearance four-wheel-drive. The route is very remote and for experienced off-road drivers only. Inquire with the Forest Service and/or locally before attempting this climb. It may be better to approach from the Cerro Gordo Mine.

Dante's View, DM16pf22

Latitude, Longitude
36.220555, -116.726467
Map Location Near city of Death Valley Junction, Inyo County, CA, Altitude 5450
Map See Google map, Bing map, OpenStreetMap, Beam heading

Last update: 2021-02-05
Comments by: John NA6L

Dante's View 1 Dante's View 2 Dante's View 3 Dante's View 4 Dante's View 5 Dante's View 6 Dante's View 7

John writes: Dantes View parking lot is an easy-to-reach overlook in Death Valley National Park in rare grid square DM16.

This site was as easy as DM15 was difficult. We "boondock" camped down the road From Dantes Vew overlook and headed up the mountain well before sunrise. When we arrived for setup there were very few cars in the parking lot so we staged the van right in the SE corner of the lot as close as possible to a very good drop off, a truly wonderful VHF location.

We were operating before the sun came up and had steady Meteor Scatter activity. As the parking lot filled we had more and more curious spectators. When I went out to rotate the antenna I usually fielded several interested parties questions --- a quick "we are bouncing radio signals off of meteor tails" would quickly get me back in the van and operating again.

There is zero electrical noise at the site and luckily we had no wind at all. Several rangers drove by and did not say a thing – we are self-contained using 360 amp-hour AGM batteries to feed the inverter, and the mast and antenna mount on the van.

We activated using 6m FT8/MSK144 as a rare grid for FFMA chasers with great results.

The location is great for a bored family/spouse in central Death Valley with fantastic views and plenty of hiking, etc. A public bathroom is a quarte-mile down the road.

73 John NA6L

Driving directions: Nice paved road all the way up from Death Valley Junction.

Owl Hole, DM15nr30

Latitude, Longitude
35.710243, -116.889236
Map Location Near city of Baker, San Bernardino County, CA, Altitude 4000
Map See Google map, Bing map, OpenStreetMap, Beam heading

Last update: 2021-02-05
Comments by: John NA6L

Owl Hole 1 Owl Hole 2 Owl Hole 3 Owl Hole 4 Owl Hole 5

John writes: We always wanted to go to this mountain top in Death Valley National Park, but 90 miles (round-trip pavement to pavement) of rough dirt roads discouraged us until we saw that plenty of operators needed DM15 for FFMA.

This site is a truly excellent VHF location but it is remote, very remote.

The mountain location was flattened to install a huge microwave relay station (now appears to be abandoned) and this gives a nearly 360* horizon which is especially good toward most of the nation with great drops offs in all directions. More like cliffs on all sides, actually.

The hiking in the area is great and you could even hike down into Wingate Wash, the site of an old monorail used for mining operations.

We camped overnight on top of the mountain and during the night the wind came up rocking the van. In the morning we reduced the Yagi to just 3 elements and shortened the mast by 5’ plus added guys. The site is so good that even a dipole would have worked.

73 John NA6L

Driving directions: Search "Owl Hole Spring road" for directions, advice and conditions. The dangerous roads website mentions frequent flooding, unexploded ordinance and military bases.

Restrictions: First nine miles a high-clearance vehicle is required, then becomes 4WD. A 4x4 is required for at least the last mile to the top but the views and operating location are worth it. Some of the road borders the Fort Irwin bombing/testing range and that makes for some very interesting observations.

Palo Verde, DM23pl08

Latitude, Longitude
33.492037, -114.746830
Map Location Near city of Blythe, Riverside County, CA, Altitude 350
Map See Google map, Bing map, OpenStreetMap, Beam heading

Last update: 2021-02-04
Comments by: John NA6L

Palo Verde 1 Palo Verde 2 Palo Verde 3 Palo Verde 4 Palo Verde 5 Palo Verde 6 Palo Verde 7

DM23pl is much easier to get to than the deep-wilderness spot at DM23mj.

We camped on site and setup the station on the night prior to the activation. We were located on a small hill giving us a nice horizon from North to South looking East. The site is about 150’ above agricultural fields giving a nice drop-off.

If you are activating grids on vacation, as we did, you should continue west on the Bradshaw trail to our deep-wilderness spot at DM23mj and the Hauser Geode beds. Note the Bradshaw Trail borders a US Navy bombing area.

73 John NA6L

Driving directions: This spot is located very near the town of Palo Verde CA at the beginning of the Historic Bradshaw Trail.

Restrictions: 4x4 vehicle is suggested.

Bradshaw Trail, DM23mj66

Latitude, Longitude
33.403299, -114.944431
Map Location Near city of Palo Verde, Imperial County, CA, Altitude 800
Map See Google map, Bing map, OpenStreetMap, Beam heading

Last update: 2021-01-04
Comments by: John NA6L

Bradshaw Trail 1 Bradshaw Trail 2 Bradshaw Trail 3 Bradshaw Trail 4 Bradshaw Trail 5 Bradshaw Trail 6

This is a semi-wilderness spot in rare grid square DM23 located alongside the Historic Bradshaw Trail.

I would not suggest this remote location for a quick contest rover site but it is a good vacation/explorer/activator/meteor-shower-viewing location. There is great sightseeing and even geode hunting in the area, a "desert rat heaven".

This area is BLM land, you can camp almost anywhere and the Wiley’s Well campground is not far away from our activation site (South of Hwy 10). See Wiley's Well Campground | Bureau of Land Management (blm.gov) .

We setup on a small hill giving us a nice horizon in many directions.

73, John NA6L

Restrictions: A 4x4 vehicle is recommended.

Black Mtn, DM23nb95

Latitude, Longitude
33.063863, -114.835347
Map Location Near city of Glamis, Imperial County, CA, Altitude 2000
Map See Google map, Bing map, OpenStreetMap, Beam heading

Last update: 2020-12-22
Comments by: Petr AG6EE

Black Mountain Road, off Ogilby Road, runs along a high ridge about 130 miles east of San Diego. It's an unpaved road in very poor condition that runs to the KECY-TV tower.

Wupatki, DM45gm77

Latitude, Longitude
35.531250, -111.436905
Map Location Near city of Flagstaff, Coconino County, AZ, Altitude 5600
Map See Google map, Bing map, OpenStreetMap, Beam heading

Last update: 2020-12-07
Comments by: John NA6L

Wupatki 1 Wupatki 2 Wupatki 3 Wupatki 4

DM45gm is north of Flagstaff, close to or in the Wupatki National Monument, provides several good spots for VHF, camping, and sightseeing. This location has a good North, East and South but the South West has some distant mountains that could affect very low level takeoff angles. This location is near the Wupakti Visitor Center which is well worth a visit. Note that this area is on National Forest land and not in the park so you can setup and camp.

Driving directions: From Hwy 89 take the North entrance to Sunset Crater-Wapatki Loop road and head South West on FS150 until you find a nice flat spot to activate and if interested maybe camp (there may be some better spots for radio with elevation in the nearby hills a little further on).

DM07-08-17-18, DM18aa00

Latitude, Longitude
38.000000, -118.000000
Map Location Near city of Coaldale, Esmeralda County, NV, Altitude 4550
Map See Google map, Bing map, OpenStreetMap, Beam heading

Last update: 2020-10-06
Comments by: Barry K7BWH

DM07-08-17-18 1 DM07-08-17-18 2 DM07-08-17-18 3 DM07-08-17-18 4 DM07-08-17-18 5 DM07-08-17-18 6 DM07-08-17-18 7 DM07-08-17-18 8

DM07/08/17/18 is a rare good spot to activate four grids at once.

This location gets a B grade for horizon, flat and open in most directions but hey, you don't have any other options to activate this four-fer-one. Of the 4 grids DM07 is the most needed but it's fun to activate all four at once from the same location (FFMA rule).

We camped at a nearby hot spring and broke camp at 5am to get here. The biggest challenge was finding the little trail in the dark that leaves Hwy 773. We drove up and down the deserted road about 5 times while shining our giant flashlights off to the east.

Driving directions: The grid intersection is just east of Hwy 773 and south of Hwy 60 in Nevada.
A good way way to get there is to turn off of the HWY at the white marker about 200' south of the latitude of the corner.
There is a nice almost level drain diversion to follow to the corner that is also fairly firm sand and you don't have to go over the bladed berm to get off the roadside.

Restrictions: Note that you must be at the the exact intersection of the 4 grids for a legal FFMA "4 grids at once" activation; this cannot be done from the road. You will need 4x4 and will need to use the little soft sand "trail" that is just south (100 yards?) of the activation location. Although there's a bladed berm directly between the Hwy and the activation location, it's too large to easily cross with a normal SUV or our 4X4 camper van.

Smokey Mtn Overlook, DM47ge55

Latitude, Longitude
37.189236, -111.452431
Map Location Near city of Lake Powell, Kane County, AZ, Altitude 5600
Map See Google map, Bing map, OpenStreetMap, Beam heading

Last update: 2020-11-02
Comments by: John NA6L

Smokey Mtn Overlook 1 Smokey Mtn Overlook 2 Smokey Mtn Overlook 3 Smokey Mtn Overlook 4

Smokey Mtn Overlook, also known as Kelly Grade, is fantastic for sightseeing and exploring. This may well be the best radio location in DM47 and camping is just above the official Kelly Grade Overlook.

This is very close to the amazing "Coal Seam Fires" which is worth a trip on its own to the "Burning Hills Wilderness Area". The route to the Coal Seam Fires is just slightly north then head east and follow the best (most used road) to the active vents and/or to where a huge effort was made many years ago to extinguish the subterranean coal fires.

Driving directions:

To start at Big Water, find the Visitor Info Center (a great place) and ask questions (like how deep is the river crossing) and get another map if needed. From the Visitor Center Cross Hwy 89 onto NP230 and on to "Smokey Mountain Rd" (remember the Coal Seam Fires?)

There are lots of other roads in the area so surf around on Google Earth to examine Smokey Mountain Rd.

Kris Eggle Campground, DM31ow39

Latitude, Longitude
31.957639, -112.807639
Map Location Near city of Gila Bend, Pima County, AZ, Altitude 1700
Map See Google map, Bing map, OpenStreetMap, Beam heading

Last update: 2020-11-01
Comments by: John NA6L

Kris Eggle Campground 1 Kris Eggle Campground 2 Kris Eggle Campground 3 Kris Eggle Campground 4

John NA6L activated DM31 for 4 days and 3 nights in early November 2020. Two of the mornings we operated from the SE end of the Organ Pipe Campground and the last morning we operated from the Tillotson Trailhead rest area 2.5 miles north of the CG entrance. We tried to activate from the rest area on the first morning but the wind was too strong.

We used only the RV's batteries from the campground (we have no generator) and usually ran between 400w and 700w for around 3 hours. The rangers had no issues with us while quietly operating from the mostly empty CG.

Because we were there for several days we got to really consider the advantages of both common locations (Campground vs Rest Area). IMHO, if you can run on batteries (or on generator during allowed hours) the Campground is the better site - especially in the SE corner. The CG has a better horizon in more directions and there are are some saddles in the hills to the NW to make contacts possible with the PNW.

The Rest Area is nearly surrounded by nearby hills with just a little opening to the NW and South. I'd give the campground's SE corner a 66% score and the Rest Area a 33% score (but you could run a generator at dawn at the rest area).

Burr Trail, DM47ku91

Latitude, Longitude
37.839915, -111.088471
Map Location Near city of Torrey, Garfield County, UT, Altitude 6800
Map See Google map, Bing map, OpenStreetMap, Beam heading

Last update: 2020-10-27
Comments by: John NA6L

Burr Trail 1

Burr Trail, and the Burr Trail Switchbacks, are a famous one of the few passages across the Grand Staircase, a long and deep canyon which was a great problem for early stagecoach travelers crossing the plains. As a VHF rover in a modern and comfortable horseless carriage, you will enjoy the scenic Burr Trail Road along the western rim.

There are likely many good spots to stop and set up a station; here's one such place that appears to have a little more altitude and might possibly have rugged off-road trails up onto Wagon Box Mesa. Have fun exploring!

Driving directions: Burr Trail Switchbacks are pretty wild if you don't like cliff edges.

Picacho Peak, DM23nb95

Latitude, Longitude
33.063298, -114.834992
Map Location Near city of Imperial Gables, Imperial County, CA, Altitude 1700
Map See Google map, Bing map, OpenStreetMap, Beam heading

Last update: 2020-01-19
Comments by: Petr AG6EE

This is a large turnout and great place to park along Black Mountain Road high on the ridge.

Don't try to drive up to the very top - it has no additional benefit. This parking area is just a little bit lower and far from all the radio transmitter, and you have nice two row of hooks to secure antennas (there used to be something) and a portable toilet close by.

This is all BLM land, so no problem, the main mountain take only a small portion of clear visibility to SSE, but you can drive over the hill and setup on the other side should this be critical to your needs. This place turned to be noise free, with only some noise coming from El Centro and Desert Cities (Palm Springs etc.), but this is not a big deal, any station from these locations will be pretty close because then there is a water.

You will not feel completely alone there, there are always some technicians coming up the hill. The place would be hell hot in summer, that's for sure, but driving RV there could turn to be a very risky business.

Driving directions:

Approach from CA 78 and Black Mountain road you would notice place from far because there are countless number of radio towers - surely not the best place to operate from in DM23.

The road has two parts, the first unpaved which takes you through flats to wash, easily drive-able even in sport car, and the second half, paved road, with potholes 2 feet deep, which require 4WD and high clearance, it is total 5 mph hell.

Restrictions:

Setup on top of the mountain is impractical - tons of radio equipment, high voltage lines etc., but before reaching the top, there is a small place to the left where used to be some equipment. You need a good tires and clearance to get there, but once there, you can find old attachment cables - part right in the middle and you have no issue to secure your antenna.

George Davis Park, DM83xo90

Latitude, Longitude
33.583507, -102.008333
Map Location Near city of Lubbock, Lubbock County, TX, Altitude 3310
Map See Google map, Bing map, OpenStreetMap, Beam heading

Last update: 2020-01-10
Comments by: Gary KG5THG

Fort McKavett, DM90wt67

Latitude, Longitude
30.824826, -100.111111
Map Location Near city of Fort McKavett, Menard County, TX, Altitude 2140
Map See Google map, Bing map, OpenStreetMap, Beam heading

Last update: 2020-01-10
Comments by: Gary KG5THG

Caudle Park, DM94bb86

Latitude, Longitude
34.069444, -101.842014
Map Location Near city of Hale Center, Hale County, TX, Altitude 3420
Map See Google map, Bing map, OpenStreetMap, Beam heading

Last update: 2020-01-10
Comments by: Gary KG5THG

Tillotson Trailhead, DM31ox38

Latitude, Longitude
31.992890, -112.805990
Map Location Near city of Lukeville, Pima County, AZ, Altitude 1800
Map See Google map, Bing map, OpenStreetMap, Beam heading

Last update: 2020-01-10
Comments by: Larry, Petr WO7R, AG6EE

Tillotson Trailhead 1 Tillotson Trailhead 2 Tillotson Trailhead 3 Tillotson Trailhead 4

This is the Tillotson Peak Wayside parking area along AZ state Hwy-85, N Ajo Sonoita Hwy, in the Organ Pipe Cactus Wilderness area. It's one-half mile south of the DM31-DM32 grid line.

Outside the park, don't go on tribal land without arranging permission in advance from Tohono O'odham tribes. They have a police force which has no obligation to be polite to outsiders.

Larry WO7R related his understanding of the Tillotson Trailhead spot: It's very easy to access, and as long as you operate with "wilderness rules" in mind, you should not expect trouble with the rangers.

  • The Tillotson site is 100 per cent paved roads, including the site itself.
  • You should go further into the park to pay fees at the Visitor Center.
  • Must use battery power, not generators. This is key.
  • The campground has some generators-allowed hours. Generators are not allowed anywhere else in the park (wilderness rules).
  • Must use sandbags or weights to anchor guy lines. Do not pound stakes.
  • The rangers do not want or allow us to park in places like the campground or the visitor center parking lot. The rule is, we can operate as long as we don't bother others. At those locations (visitor center, campground), they deem that we do.
  • The area is pretty quiet. We had a couple hikers come by and park. They left to go hiking. We bothered noone and noone bothered us.
  • A photo above is one I took as I left the park, so it shows the turnout/wayside from the northbound lane. One would normally approach from the southbound lane.
  • Personally, if I (Larry WO7R) returned with a friend who has the gear, this is the one and only place to try.

John NA6L and Petr AG6EE commented on this operating location:

  • The Tillotson Trailhead Lot was the only location we were sure would work because we've operated from there before.
  • It is easy to access and has a great horizon in most directions.
  • It is safe and secure being next to the main road.
  • Summer temperaturs can reach 120F.
  • In the summer they've seen people sitting under their RV awnings in the parking lot while their engine/generator was running.
  • There are so few people there in the warmer months that rangers might not even care about some running machinery for their "a/c".
  • Even if you just cooled your vehicle down and charged your batteries every hour for 20 minutes you might get away with it.

Restrictions:

Most of this broad area in DM31 is tribal land. This is their home and you are basically an invader. Always get advance permission from the Tohono O'odham tribal government before entering the reservation, even if "it's just a few minutes" or to pull off to the side of a tribal road somewhere.

Check for pandemic restrictions before travel. The tribal lands may be closed due to coronavirus.

Bluewater Lake, DM55xh16

Latitude, Longitude
35.319570, -108.068230
Map Location Near city of Prewitt, McKinley County, NM, Altitude 7570
Map See Google map, Bing map, OpenStreetMap, Beam heading

Last update: 2008-12-01
Comments by: James Duffey KK6MC

KK6MC: This is a good site which is easily accessible from I-40 by car. There is a fair amount of traffic on 412 going to and from Bluewater, but you can get far enough off the highway so it is not a problem.

This has good sight lines from the Southeast around to the West and from the Northwest around to the East. There isn't much topography higher to the east or west on the ridge, so propagation in those directions should be OK too. It is easy to work into Albuquerque and Los Alamos from here on all bands to at least 1296.

I have not operated from here when there was a lot of activity, but Stan, W5ZF has worked a lot of 6M sporadic-E from here to all over. There is not much VHF/UHF activity in DM55, so you will be in demand. I have operated twice from this site.

Source: New Mexico VHF Society, www.nmvhf.org/DM55xh.pdf with more rover locations in NM at www.nmvhf.org/reference.html

Driving directions: From I-40 take the Prewitt exit 63, Highway 412.
Take 412 south towards Bluewater State Park.
You will steadily climb until you reach the top of the ridge, about 3 to 4 miles.
At the top of the ridge on the west side of the road is a cell tower.
Across the highway to the east is a long wide pullout area which is fairly level but a few feet lower than the road surface. Operate from there.

Delta Desert, DM58xs87

Latitude, Longitude
38.781778, -108.013561
Map Location Near city of Delta, Delta County, CO, Altitude 5120
Map See Google map, Bing map, OpenStreetMap, Beam heading

Last update: 2021-02-17
Comments by: James Duffey KK6MC

Jay W9RM: One of the better sites for microwave work up to the Grand Mesa grid corner (DM58/59/68/69). This is a proven microwave site through 24 GHz to the top of the Mesa. It's also relatively high above average terrain and, better yet, almost deserted. Bring hydration of you're planning on staying here long in the summer.

This site is proven to produce microwave QSO's with the other three grids in this corner. This site has been used by rovers such as N0IO ( through 24 GHz), W7QQ and W0VOA. There is only one well set up VHF/UHF station in DM58 and that station (W9RM) is reachable on all bands from this location. There are NO other microwave stations in range, so bring a rover buddy or three.

This location is only minutes away from a excellent and accessible all-around location situated DIRECTLY on the DM58/DM68 grid line. This site is located about 2 miles east at the following coordinates: 38°46'30.1"N 107°59'59.9"W (38.775032, -107.999983). This location is accessed by turning right off CO highway 65 on to IRIS ROAD immediately after crossing the Gunnison River while heading north. Climb the hill and pull off at the 'U' bend. Use your GPS to access DM58 or DM68. DM58 requires you to pull over very close to the drop on the west – be careful ! This site still gives good sight lines to Grand Mesa and improves your horizon to the south.

Source: New Mexico VHF Society, www.nmvhf.org/DM58xs.pdf with more rover locations in NM at www.nmvhf.org/reference.html

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