K6SNE's Full Moon Madness
First Saturday Transmitter Hunt
March 6th, 2004

During the rainy season of 1992 a very large El Nino storm caused a 50ft washout of the Maple Springs truck trail at around 3 miles from the Silverado Canyon entrance to the northern Cleveland National Forest.  That wash out was not repaired for about eight years. Once the road was finally repaired the area was then closed, even to foot traffic, to protect the habitat of some rare toads (to much toad licking going on I guess).  That closure became seasonal and just recently the gates to Maple Springs have been opened seasonally. On April 1st they will be locked again until September 28th, This is so horny toads can do what horny toads do.....make little toads.

Of course when I found that the gate had been opened I just had to hide there.......I got some unexpected results to say the least.

There was a perfectly clear sky, a slight breeze which kept my camp bug free, and a beautiful full moon to go mad under....AARrrrroooooo!  The nice thing about computerized mapping is of course the computer....which I was able to watch DVDs on.  I finally got to sit through the wide screen versions of "the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly"  and "Reservoir Dogs" before finally being found.  I also got the crap scared out of me by a family of deer that came running through my camp.

I picked a spot at about 2,000 ft Alt that could get a direct signal into the start point.  Using good amateur practice, but bad T-hider form, I used the minimum amount of power to get heard....330 milliwatts loading a horizontally polarized yagi (my hunt antenna mounted on the Jeep).  This was controlled by a PicCon programmed with a very annoying tone sequence, 20sec on/30sec off.

I had also hidden two Squawk Boxes.  T-2 was in the weeds about 1/2 mile past the entrance gate, and T-3 was placed next to a waterfall/creek crossing about 3 miles up the road, before it turned into dirt.

The Maple Springs truck trail is paved for the first 3.5 miles and has several creek crossings on the way up the mountain.  There were 9 such crossings on the way to T-1, two small mud holes and some low trees.  I took care however to make sure that the road was navigable by even a carefully driven passenger car (there was a 730i BMW on the trail as I was hiding T-1).

I became very concerned as I heard hunter after hunter drop out.  Evidently my signal was doing some very nasty, impossible things.  I guess every hunter in the group went to Elsinore and the Ortega Highway.  I heard that there were reports of a 40 over signal up there :-), odd because my milliwatt signal would have had to go up and over 3,000ft of mountain.

There used to be a way to get on the Bedford motorway from Weirwick Rd. Everyone who went up Bedford Canyon Rd. got turned around by gates and guards.  The actual route to the Bedford Truck Trail is next to the red brick fenced construction company yard.  The Park Ranger assured me that that gate was open.  Sometimes the locals will close it.  The Bedford Canyon rd. is private and does not go to the forest gate.  Other possibilities to get out there would have been from Skyline Drive in Corona passed Sierra Peak, or Indian Truck Trail to the Divide Road and down maple Springs.  The short mileage route  would have taken teams out Silverado Canyon to the transmitters.  Line of sight mileage was approx 26 miles, or about 32 road miles.

Finally, after going everywhere the transmitter wasn't, Dave and Melanie showed up at T-1.....125 miles later.

KG6GWV Melanie and N6IDF David are the winners.
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