2023 Salmon Run


On September 16 and 17, Mike, N7WA, and I again put all 20 of the Washington state counties east of the Cascade Crest on the air.  We started on the Grant/Adams county line and went counterclockwise to Whitman then a short distance to my home in Moscow, ID.  Sunday we finished up the remaing counties with a start on the Pend Oreille/Spokane county line, Lincoln county which takes a LONG time to get through, Ferry county where you are hemmed in by tall mountains, and back to Moses Lake in Grant county.

We made 797 Qs with 72 mults for a claimed score of 172,152, the most Mike and I have made operating either together or individually.  For the first time in several years, 10 meters was open long enough to yield 22 Qs.  80 m for five minutes in each county was good for 102 Qs with the usual suspects of N7EPD with 17 Qs; W7G with 11 Qs; W6OAT with 8 Qs; and W9P with 7 Qs.

Our most frequent customer was N7IR, Gary, in AZ.  He made 46 Qs with us in all 20 of our counties, the only person to do so.  Additionally, Gary worked Jay, WA0WWW, and me in all twenty of our counties in 2022 and Mike and me in all 16 of our counties in 2020.  Thanks for all those Qs, Gary.  Others with 10 or more counties were W6OAT in Kittitas county, WA; N7EPD in Pierce county, WA; K9CW in IL; K2DFC in NJ; K0TRL in KS; and W7G in Garfield county, WA.  In total 275 different calls made it into our log.

Saturday morning on the ADA/GRAN county line started out great for Mike with 44 Qs in 31 minutes.  Soon thereafter, that greatness went sour.  We lost communication between N1MM and the KX2 accompanied by a burnt electrical smell.  After a half hour trouble shooting and problem solving, Mike found a way to work around the problem and we were back in business, but with all manual KX2 and N1MM settings.  That put us 30 to 40 minutes behind schedule which we finally made up by passing on lunch in KITTS county and entering YAK on schedule.

When there was cell phone coverage, we were able to self-spot which was a boon to our rate.  I wasn't real excited about self-spotting, but after seeing what it does to the rate, it is hard to resist using it.

One of the things I enjoy while operating mobile in QSO parties is watching the scenery.  Most notable this time was hops in Yakima county.  Hops are vine-like and grow commercially on tall trellises.  There was a mix of harvested fields with bare trellises and ones being harvested.  We even followed a truck loaded with hops for a short time complete with the unmistakable aroma of hops.

The rig was a KX2 and KXPA at 50 to 80 watts depending on how much we were willing to fiddle with the KX2's drive setting.  The antenna was a Scorpion 680 mounted in the center of my Ford Ranger's bed.  We logged with N1MM+.

We had a great time and thank everyone who worked us and those who tried, too.

Pictures and comments from along our route.

We are on the Grant-Adams county line waiting for the party to begin.  Wheat fields and flat country here.  The first 31 minutes were good to us.  The next 30 minutes were not, as we worked to solve the communication problem.

Six hours later we've worked around the communication problem, got back on schedule, and have a few minutes to take a short break in a residential neighborhood in Benton county.  Randy collected 33 Qs in the hour we were in Benton.

Randy operates in Whitman county well after dark where he gathered another 30 Qs in 40 minutes.  We called it a day and headed for Moscow, ID.

We're on the Pend Oreille-Spokane county line to start Sunday.  Mike made 56 Qs in the half hour of our stay.

Just before heading down the three miles of 6% grade to the Keller ferry, we made this short stop in Lincoln county.  That wheat field is the last we'll see for a couple of hours until we get to Douglas county.  Here in Lincoln we gathered 61 Qs.

We're on the Keller Ferry which takes us from Lincoln county to Ferry county over the Columbia River behind Grand Coulee Dam.  No operating on the ferry.  Once we get out of the river canyon, over the pass, and into the flatter countryside to the west, we were able to make 52 Qs in Ferry county.

The Plan

Mike, N7WA, and I will meet near the center of Washington on Friday evening and on Saturday, September 16 and Sunday, September 17 (UTC), we will activate all 20 of the Washington counties east of the Cascade Crest.  We'll use my call of K7TQ.  My truck has a Scorpion 680 screwdriver antenna so we will be able to be on 80, 40, 20, 15, and 10 m.  We will be CW only on 20, 40, 15, and maybe 10 m frequenies ending between 038 and 039, such as 21.0384 MHz.  Watch the RBN for K7TQ/county, or some combination of that, because we will add our current county to our CQs.  You can work us each time we change counties or bands.  Our sunset will be around 0210 UTC so after that we will be more on the lower bands.

80 m: Based on success in previous Salmon Runs, we will be on 80 m, ~3.535 MHz, for the first five minutes in each county, including ALL the daylight hours.  We should be able to work stations in WA, ID, OR, BC, and perhaps a bit farther away.

We may also self-spot when we have cell phone service.  We'll be happy if you spot us, too.

Here is our planned timeline and a Washington map with our route.

September 16, 2023 (UTC)

Time (UTC) County

September 17, 2023 (UTC)

+ longer if conditions warrant.