Monday, September 4, 2023

Iron Mountain Jubilee 2023

Each year our radio club participates in providing communication services for the Iron Mountain Jubilee, an endurance horse ride through the mountains of Southwest Virginia. This year the course changed and a 100 mile, 24 hour event was added.

The last few years I've been operating from a station located at the "Divide." This is a location where four trails converge and is one of the more busy checkpoints. Myself and Roger Bell (N4FPA) setup and prepared for the long days ahead. 

The event this year took place on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. With the edition of the 100 mile course, the ride started at 6AM on Saturday morning and runs until 6AM Sunday. 

The Divide's Kitchen
Josh (KM4AZW) cooking lunch at the Divide

Since we were going to be out in the wilderness for a while, I brought plenty of sustenance. 

Jpole attached to canopy

For the first day of the event, I setup my usual station with my dualband Anytone and my copper J-pole antenna attached to the canopy. 

Roger's (N4FPA) go-box.

For the Saturday 24 hour event, Roger wanted to give his equipment a good test. He setup his home made VHF/UHF go-box on the tailgate of my truck. The box is a very well built piece of equipment. It is based around a Kenwood TM-D710, has a built in 30AH Lifepo battery, power supply, and a solar charge controller. He even laid out a couple foldable 60 watt solar panels to provide running power while the sun was out. 

Roger (N4FPA) operating from his go-box.

Roger's go-box worked really well for the entire 24 hour event. We do seem to have strange propagation issues from this area every year. When I arrive in the morning, I can communicate using low power from my mobile and a fender mount 1/4 wave antenna. As time goes by, however, we wind up having to increase power and make modifications to the antenna we are using. By the end of the day, we wound up utilizing Roger's portable mast and Diamond vertical antenna. There also seemed to be some issue with our net control operators ability to get a good signal into and out of the repeater system we were using for the event. 

Roger's (N4FPA) go-box at night.

We finally finished up in the early morning hours Sunday. The event was an overall success and we will continue to make improvements for next year!

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