Ham Radio

K7BWH: DN08 Expedition, June 2018

Barry K7BWH and Rod WE7X will activate rare grid square DN08 in the June 2018 VHF Contest.

We'll spend the June 9-10 in DN08 (northeast Washington state) during the contest, and then I travel eastward starting Monday, June 11. We'll find mountaintops through southern Idaho with stops in DN22-23, DN32-33, and DN42-43. Then I'll continue solo through about 35 grid squares to FM15 on the North Carolina coast.

If all goes as planned then I'll knock on Craig K9CT's door and collect my pizza. :-)

Map of DN08 in Okanogan, Washington

This is a cross-country expedition in three parts:

  1. DN08 Expedition, ARRL VHF Contest, June 9-10 (link)
  2. Southern Idaho, DN22-23, DN32-33, and DN42-43, June 12-14 (link)
  3. Coast-to-coast grid trip, Idaho to North Carolina (link)

1. DN08 Expedition

Dates: June 7-8 scouting
June 9-10 contesting
Bands: 6m only
Frequency:  I'm always 50.240 MHz all modes (SSB, CW, FT8, MSK1)

I realize that I may forego some random contacts at the usual watering holes, so I'm counting on people spotting me and passing the word. Hams at home have the internet and resources that I can't use while roving, and I will rely on them using it appropriately. Don't worry; I'll check 50.125 when things are really slow to see about luring hams to 50.240.
Mode: If the band is open, I'm on SSB for efficient contacts.
Otherwise, CW and FT8 as appropriate.
Sequence: I'm always first sequence for digital modes in all directions.
FT8 version: WSJT Version 1.9.0-rc4
Please be sure you have the latest WSJTX software, too.
Settings: WSJT setup for VHF contests:
  • File > Settings > General: Enable VHF/UHF/Microwave features.
  • Enable NA VHF Contest. This lets you receive my grid square.
  • Enable Auto Seq.
  • Disable Tx even/1st. I'm always first sequence in all directions.
  • This enables the proper grid exchange for ARRL contests. It works on both FT8 and MSK144 modes.
Time: 7 am - 7 pm Pacific.
I'm camping in primitive areas and I sleep when it's dark.
Schedule: 7 - 8 am, MSK144 on 50.240
8 - 9 am, FT8 on 50.240
9 - 5, otherwise, see ON4KST chat room (all times Pacific)
Spotting: Please spot me on ON4KST, on the PNWVHFS email reflector, and on your favorite services.
I won't have internet access in DN08.
Logging: I'm not a rover - do not use /R.
QSL: Paper QSL is preferred. Be sure to include both your and my grid square.
LotW is okay but it'll be several weeks. Be patient - paper QSL will get my quickest reply.
Location: Somewhere in DN08.
Rod WE7X and I will scout a DN08 location on June 7-8.
Use aprs.fi in real time to see if I'm driving or where I'm parked.

2. Southern Idaho

This is a tentative route for scouting through DN22-23, DN32-33 and DN42-43. Once a viable site is found in each grid, I'll setup the 6m station.

Route through southern Idaho
Dates: June 12-14 (activating two grids/day)
Bands: 6m only
Frequency:  Always 50.240 MHz all modes
Locations: DN23, DN22 - June 12
DN32, DN33 - June 13
DN43, DN42 - June 14
I can activate 2 grids/day with the full station setup.
Scouting as I go, then about 2 hours on the air at each grid square.
Equipment: In motion:
Icom 7100 with 100 watts and horizontal loop
Icom 9100 with 500 watts and 5-element yagi
APRS: Use aprs.fi/k7bwh in real time to track my position.

3. Coast-to-coast grid trip: Idaho to North Carolina

My planned route from southern Idaho to Elizabeth City, NC covers at least 32 grid squares. The route is chosen to generally cross the more-desired grids.

Driving route through grids from Idaho to North Carolina
Bands: 6m only
Frequency:  Always 50.240 MHz all modes
Modes: CW and USB.
I'll call CQ frequently; it's okay to respond with voice.
Radios: While driving: Icom IC-7100 transceiver with KB6KQ horizontally-polarized loop
While parked: Icom IC-9100 and 500w amp, Honda generator, with M2 6m5 on 24' mast
While driving: Kenwood TM-D710G for 146.52 FM simplex with 5/8-wave whip

People Requesting a Schedule

Joe W0FY got me started with his note of Feb 17th 2018 addressed to the PNWVHFS. Here's my list of those who want DN08 as of 5-22-2018:

  • Joe W0FY - DN08
  • Roger W9FF - DN08
  • Craig K9CT - DN08
  • Danny N5OMG - DN08
  • Al K8SIX - DN08
  • Steve W5KI - DN08, DN23, DN42
  • Jim KO9A - DN08
  • Dan K1TO - DN08, DN42, DN43
  • Any more? Email me at barry@k7bwh.com

Plus, here's who want grids in southern Idaho and beyond:

  • Jim K7ND - DN16
  • Hal N7NW - EN02, EN30, EM48, EM59, EM61, EM67, EM68, EM86, EM87
  • Bob N7QOZ - DN04, DN05, DN14, DN16, DN22, DN33
  • Al K8SIX - DN23, DN42
  • Mel KD7DCI - DN04, DN53, DN63, DN64, DN85, DN86, DN90, DN92, EM78, EM87, EN01, EN02
  • Ira K4YMQ - DN04, DN23, DN43


My favorite part of ham radio is hilltopping - the Pacific Northwest has some of the most scenic and mountainous terrain in the country. I've activated all the grid squares in Washington and Oregon and proudly show the Lewis & Clark certificates framed on my wall. However, my exploration a few years ago in DN08 was rushed and incomplete so I'm going back to update my maps and work as many people as possible from there. This time I'll have decent power and antennas, so Rod WE7X and I will explore the grid for two days and then camp on one good hilltop for the VHF contest June 9-11, 2018.

After the contest, Rod and I continue eastward and will explore and activate six of the Southern Idaho grid squares.

From Idaho, I'll continue solo to North Carolina while continuing to activate as many grid squares as possible. EM67 and EN02 are in big demand so I will linger there for some extra hours and set up my most capable station.

Wish me luck!

Barry K7BWH

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