Operating site on a 7550' knoll in Idaho, just .7 mile southwest of Lemhi Pass

K7SGP and W7GJ 6m Grid DXpedition to DN34gx

At 7550', above Lemhi Pass, Idaho

Field Day Weekend
June 27/28, 2015
Lemhi County, Idaho

M2 6M5XHG yagi on homebrew 25' mast at Sunset, with the Lemhi Mountains in the background


K7SGP had just recently received her ham license and was interested in seeing how a portable setup worked, and W7GJ was interested to field test the portable station he was planning to use on upcoming 6m EME DXpeditions, so we decided to set up a portable 6m station in DN34.   Field Day Contest weekend was chosen because it is during the prime week of the year for 6m Es.    We participated in the Field Day Contest, but did not enter a log, since our primary objective was to activate DN34, which is a relatively rare grid needed by a number of stations on 6m.   


Lemhi Pass was chosen for the site because it is high and has a clear shot pretty much in all directions except due north, with the lowest horizons to the east and west.  Lemhi pass in DN34gx is just barely south of the DN35/DN34 line, so it was closer  for us.  It also actually has 3 outhouses (one on the Montana side of the pass, one in the Sacajawea Memorial Picnic Area , and another on the Continental Divide just north of the pass), which were a very welcome convenience when you are camping there for 3 nights.  I took my mountain bike with me for easy access to the facilities on Lemhi Pass, which were only 0.7 miles downhill from our operating site southwest of the pass.   Because of the day use restrictions at the Sacajawea Memorial Picnic Area, on the Montana side southeast of the actual pass, we needed to set up on the Idaho side of the Continental Divide, just south of the day use area on the Idaho side.   As shown in the photos above and below, we set up on a knoll in Idaho just west of and overlooking the Continental Divide (which is also the border between Montana and Idaho at this point).  

Looking south toward the operating setup with the generator, car/station, and then the antenna, each separated by about 50'

Closeup of the 6M5XHG and view to the southeast

W7GJ's tent down on a bench just west of the operating site - photo courtesy of K7SGP


The 6m station was essentially be the same as that used on the W7GJ 6m EME DXpeditions, except that the antenna was only an M2 6M5XHG yagi mounted on a homebrew 24' mast.  Also, for the first time, the transceiver was an Elecraft KX3.  The KX3 worked great on the JT65A and FSK441 digital modes on 6m, and also was very convenient, since we could monitor for band openings without turning on the generator!   What a neat feature to have a battery powered receiver in the field!  

To our great surprise, there actually WAS a bit of cell phone coverage from the operating site, so we could check the map on the ON4KST REGION 2 CHAT page from time to time to see what direction to be expecting some propagation.  We just set up on the tailgate of the car, using a tarp to provide some shelter from the sun and wind.  Fortunately, we did not have any rain during the trip (other than a brief sprinkle one evening just after we had gone to our tents).

K7SGP very proficiently handling her first pileup on 6m Es!


We drove down to Lemhi Pass via Tendoy, Idaho on Friday June 26, 2015 and were set up by evening.  We began tearing everything down and packing up early on Monday June 29.  We were able to operate 6m for 3 evenings and 2 full days.  As Murphy would have it, the best opening was after the Field Day contest was over, on Sunday evening June 28!

Gassing up in Salmon, Idaho on the way down to Lemhi Pass - photo courtesy of K7SGP

W7GJ operating 6m from DN34gx - photo courtesy of K7SGP


Please QSL direct with SASE directly  to the operator you worked:
Lance Collister, W7GJ
P.O.Box 73
Frenchtown, MT   59834-0073
Susanna G. Phillips, K7SGP
224 E PINE STR 1


W7GJ logged 184 stations, and K7SGP logged around 45 stations on 6m.  Although we did have HF capability with the IC706 and hamstick whips for 75 and 20m, we dedicated our efforts to 6m.  We both operated JT65A mode on during moonrise, FSK441 for meteors in the mornings, and USB during the Es openings later in the day.  We consider the operation to be a great success, and thank everyone who was watching and waiting for us.  We were glad to be able to hand out this rare grid square to so many folks!  Best wishes to everyone for success in collecting those rare grids and working DX on 6m!

Many beautiful flowers in the high meadow around the operating site

W7GJ spanning the westernmost tributary of the "wide Missouri" River where it starts at Lemhi Pass
- photo courtesy of K7SGP

Bitterroot flowers opened up every day on the rocky knoll where we set up

This page last revised on 12 July, 2015