In late April 2011 we took a camping trip to the backcountry of northwestern Death Valley National Park. I brought along the portable satellite station using the twin Yaesu FT-817ND radios and Elk antenna.
Most of the travelling in the park was via remote 4WD roads. Here's a photo of the road through Steele Pass, which connects the Eureka Valley with Saline Valley:
And Lippincott Mine Road, which connects the Saline Valley to the Racetrack Valley:
And here's the portable satellite station, including the solar array:
Again I used the twin FT817ND radios. They hang by their straps from the tripod that holds the antenna.
The solar array. I use two 5-watt and one 10-watt PowerFilm flexible solar panels. The array seems to be able to charge the battery drain from working 2 or 3 satellite passes in about 30 minutes:
The solar array feeds a simple charge controller, which then charges the 7-Ah sealed lead-acid battery:
KB5WIA talking to KC0BMF, KN6ZA, and others via the AO-51 satellite at the Eureka Dunes in grid square DM17. The remote Eureka valley to the north is in the background:
A photo of Dave KB5WIA hiking on the Eureka Dunes. These dunes are reportedly the second-tallest in North America:
More satellite QSO's from the Eureka Dunes in DM17. I was able to work two FO-29 passes, two AO-51 passes, SO-50, and VO-51 from this location. Shortly after this photo, a sandstorm came up which made operation very difficult!!
When no picnic table is conveniently available, I simply set up the station in the back of the pickup truck. Here is the station at the remote Lippincott Mine in north central Death Valley Park, grid square DM16. The photo was taken just after I had worked AA5PK on an AO-07 pass:
This is a photo of the track leading to the mine, where the previous photo was taken:
KB5WIA talking to Leo W7JPI and others on a nice early-morning Oscar-7 round-table chat. Location is the south end of the Racetrack Playa in grid DM16:
And here are the "moving rocks" of the Racetrack Playa -- the rocks were a few hundred yards from the AO-07 QSO, it was quite a scenic location to be on the radio!
All in all it was a great trip. Three days of backroads driving and two nights of camping, coupled with a day on either end travel time from CM88. In all I was able to work fourteen satellite passes, and have QSO's with around 40 stations.