[VHFcontesting] 432 Spring Sprint

Zack Widup w9sz.zack at gmail.com
Sat Apr 27 16:03:14 EDT 2013

Sometimes I have adventures. Sometimes they are fun and sometimes not so fun.

I missed the 144 and 222 MHz Sprints. I made it on for the 432 Spring
Sprint. I went to a hill in EN50ue not too far from my home to
operate. The hill is occupied by two towers with a lot of things on
them, including the antennas for local FM radio WEFT. There is a paved
road running past a gravel road that goes up the hill a bit to the
transmitter site. I've operated from there many times. I have parked
in the grass along the public road and set up in the easement to
operate. It's maybe 10 feet lower than the peak of the hill, which is
on private property.

I got set up at 9 pm local time. Managed seven QSO's with stations in
St. Louis, Milwaukee, Indianapolis and several in the Chicago area.
Best DX was with W9GA at 334 km. I calculated my score later as 1710
points. Conditions did not seem very good. Signals seemed far weaker
than usual. After calling CQ for about a half hour I called it quits
at 10:50 pm local time.

That's when the fun began. When I parked in the grass alongside the
road, I thought I was OK. But the recent flooding rains we've had
around here made the ground wetter than I expected. I got stuck in the
mud trying to get out. I got out my cell phone to try to call someone
nearby to at least get a ride and my battery ran out. I fooled with
the car for half an hour trying to get it out of the mud with no luck.
It just got stuck deeper. I realized I should've just set up on the
road. It dead-ends 100 feet from where I was and there was not going
to be anyone up there at midnight. Oh well, I learned that the hard

At this time I had two choices - sleep in the car overnight or walk to
somewhere else. I walked to a couple nearby farmhouses and knocked on
their doors. This was around midnight. No one answered any of them. I
really don't blame them.

So I ended up walking six miles back into Champaign to the only gas
station that was open at that time (around 2:30 am by then). The gas
station manager was good - he called a cab for me and gave me a free
coffee. I got home at about 3:30 am.

Next morning I called a guy I work with who has a 4-wheel drive truck
and he took me to where my car was. We were able to push it out of the

So I lived through it but I hope my future adventures are a little less taxing!

73, Zack W9SZ

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