Dry season grass fires

In early April, 2014, there were a large number of grass fires that burned several hundred acres from Nimitz Hill where I live all the way south to Mt. Tenjo and further south to the Mt. Alutom area. Grass fires are not uncommon on Guam, in fact they occur just about every dry season in the spring. Of course you have unintentionally set fires, the result of carelessly discarded cigarettes along the roadside, but quite often these fires are set intentionally by poachers. Heavy underbrush provides cover in which pigs and deer can hide, so burning this cover eliminates hiding spots. Additionally, the new grass that grows following a fire is tender and attracts animals.

Unfortunately, these fires cause quite a bit of damage. Aside from the risk to residences, these fires often decimates endangers species which are unable to escape the burn. Additionally, the burned areas lost their grass cover which anchors the soil, so rains cause heavy erosion which blankets the coral reefs with smothering silt.

Following earlier fires that burned the summit of Mt. Tenjo, I decided to hike out to try to locate remnants of the old Marine battery that used to be located there.

Looking north to Mt. Chacao, you can see how the burned areas contrasted with the green unburned foliage.

Looking north to Mt. Chacao, you can see how the burned areas contrasted with the green unburned foliage.

From the summit of Mt. Tenjo, looking west at the whole of Orote Peninsula, which is where Naval Station Guam is located.

From the summit of Mt. Tenjo, looking west at the whole of Orote Peninsula, which is where Naval Station Guam is located.

Atop Mt. Tenjo, remnants of the gun battery were easy to locate because all the grass had been burned off. What I was not expecting were foxholes - many of them - guarding the summit.

Foxholes aren't very photogenic, however this one can be easily discerned, guarding the southern approach to the summit.

Foxholes aren't very photogenic, however this one can be easily discerned, guarding the southern approach to the summit.

At the true summit, this remnant was part of a visual signaling device that allowed the battery to communicate with those down on Orote Point.  The pole and signaling board had fallen and were laying fown the back side of the hill.

At the true summit, this remnant was part of a visual signaling device that allowed the battery to communicate with those down on Orote Point.

You can see some of the original mounting bolts used to hold down one of the three 6" naval guns placed atop Mt. Tenjo,

You can see some of the original mounting bolts used to hold down one of the three 6\

This is a section of the trench dug by the Marines during the prewar years, to defend the rear of the battery.

This is a section of the trench dug by the Marines during the prewar years, to defend the rear of the battery.

mtt7

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This post was written by admin on July 27, 2014

Dry season grass fires

In early April, 2014, there were a large number of grass fires that burned several hundred acres from Nimitz Hill where I live all the way south to Mt. Tenjo and further south to the Mt. Alutom area. Grass fires are not uncommon on Guam, in fact they occur just about every dry season in the spring. Of course you have unintentionally set fires, the result of carelessly discarded cigarettes along the roadside, but quite often these fires are set intentionally by poachers. Heavy underbrush provides cover in which pigs and deer can hide, so burning this cover eliminates hiding spots. Additionally, the new grass that grows following a fire is tender and attracts animals.

Unfortunately, these fires cause quite a bit of damage. Aside from the risk to residences, these fires often decimates endangers species which are unable to escape the burn. Additionally, the burned areas lost their grass cover which anchors the soil, so rains cause heavy erosion which blankets the coral reefs with smothering silt.

Following earlier fires that burned the summit of Mt. Tenjo, I decided to hike out to try to locate remnants of the old Marine battery that used to be located there.

Looking north to Mt. Chacao, you can see how the burned areas contrasted with the green unburned foliage.

Looking north to Mt. Chacao, you can see how the burned areas contrasted with the green unburned foliage.

From the summit of Mt. Tenjo, looking west at the whole of Orote Peninsula, which is where Naval Station Guam is located.

From the summit of Mt. Tenjo, looking west at the whole of Orote Peninsula, which is where Naval Station Guam is located.

Atop Mt. Tenjo, remnants of the gun battery were easy to locate because all the grass had been burned off. What I was not expecting were foxholes - many of them - guarding the summit.

Foxholes aren't very photogenic, however this one can be easily discerned, guarding the southern approach to the summit.

Foxholes aren't very photogenic, however this one can be easily discerned, guarding the southern approach to the summit.

At the true summit, this remnant was part of a visual signaling device that allowed the battery to communicate with those down on Orote Point.  The pole and signaling board had fallen and were laying fown the back side of the hill.

At the true summit, this remnant was part of a visual signaling device that allowed the battery to communicate with those down on Orote Point.

You can see some of the original mounting bolts used to hold down one of the three 6" naval guns placed atop Mt. Tenjo,

You can see some of the original mounting bolts used to hold down one of the three 6\

This is a section of the trench dug by the Marines during the prewar years, to defend the rear of the battery.

This is a section of the trench dug by the Marines during the prewar years, to defend the rear of the battery.

mtt7

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This post was written by admin on July 27, 2014

Dry season grass fires

In early April, 2014, there were a large number of grass fires that burned several hundred acres from Nimitz Hill where I live all the way south to Mt. Tenjo and further south to the Mt. Alutom area. Grass fires are not uncommon on Guam, in fact they occur just about every dry season in the spring. Of course you have unintentionally set fires, the result of carelessly discarded cigarettes along the roadside, but quite often these fires are set intentionally by poachers. Heavy underbrush provides cover in which pigs and deer can hide, so burning this cover eliminates hiding spots. Additionally, the new grass that grows following a fire is tender and attracts animals.

Unfortunately, these fires cause quite a bit of damage. Aside from the risk to residences, these fires often decimates endangers species which are unable to escape the burn. Additionally, the burned areas lost their grass cover which anchors the soil, so rains cause heavy erosion which blankets the coral reefs with smothering silt.

Following earlier fires that burned the summit of Mt. Tenjo, I decided to hike out to try to locate remnants of the old Marine battery that used to be located there.

Looking north to Mt. Chacao, you can see how the burned areas contrasted with the green unburned foliage.

Looking north to Mt. Chacao, you can see how the burned areas contrasted with the green unburned foliage.

From the summit of Mt. Tenjo, looking west at the whole of Orote Peninsula, which is where Naval Station Guam is located.

From the summit of Mt. Tenjo, looking west at the whole of Orote Peninsula, which is where Naval Station Guam is located.

Atop Mt. Tenjo, remnants of the gun battery were easy to locate because all the grass had been burned off. What I was not expecting were foxholes - many of them - guarding the summit.

Foxholes aren't very photogenic, however this one can be easily discerned, guarding the southern approach to the summit.

Foxholes aren't very photogenic, however this one can be easily discerned, guarding the southern approach to the summit.

At the true summit, this remnant was part of a visual signaling device that allowed the battery to communicate with those down on Orote Point.  The pole and signaling board had fallen and were laying fown the back side of the hill.

At the true summit, this remnant was part of a visual signaling device that allowed the battery to communicate with those down on Orote Point.

You can see some of the original mounting bolts used to hold down one of the three 6" naval guns placed atop Mt. Tenjo,

You can see some of the original mounting bolts used to hold down one of the three 6\

This is a section of the trench dug by the Marines during the prewar years, to defend the rear of the battery.

This is a section of the trench dug by the Marines during the prewar years, to defend the rear of the battery.

mtt7

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This post was written by admin on July 27, 2014

Dry season grass fires

In early April, 2014, there were a large number of grass fires that burned several hundred acres from Nimitz Hill where I live all the way south to Mt. Tenjo and further south to the Mt. Alutom area. Grass fires are not uncommon on Guam, in fact they occur just about every dry season in the spring. Of course you have unintentionally set fires, the result of carelessly discarded cigarettes along the roadside, but quite often these fires are set intentionally by poachers. Heavy underbrush provides cover in which pigs and deer can hide, so burning this cover eliminates hiding spots. Additionally, the new grass that grows following a fire is tender and attracts animals.

Unfortunately, these fires cause quite a bit of damage. Aside from the risk to residences, these fires often decimates endangers species which are unable to escape the burn. Additionally, the burned areas lost their grass cover which anchors the soil, so rains cause heavy erosion which blankets the coral reefs with smothering silt.

Following earlier fires that burned the summit of Mt. Tenjo, I decided to hike out to try to locate remnants of the old WW1 era Marine battery that used to be located there.

Looking north to Mt. Chacao, you can see how the burned areas contrasted with the green unburned foliage.

Looking north to Mt. Chacao, you can see how the burned areas contrasted with the green unburned foliage.

From the summit of Mt. Tenjo, looking west at the whole of Orote Peninsula, which is where Naval Station Guam is located.

From the summit of Mt. Tenjo, looking west at the whole of Orote Peninsula, which is where Naval Station Guam is located.

Atop Mt. Tenjo, remnants of the gun battery were easy to locate because all the grass had been burned off. What I was not expecting were foxholes - many of them - guarding the summit.  It turns out that these are WW2 era and I will post about them more in depth later.

Foxholes aren't very photogenic, however this one can be easily discerned, guarding the southern approach to the summit.

Foxholes aren't very photogenic, however this one can be easily discerned, guarding the southern approach to the summit.

At the true summit, this remnant was part of a visual signaling device that allowed the battery to communicate with those down on Orote Point.  The pole and signaling board had fallen and were laying fown the back side of the hill.

At the true summit, this remnant was part of a visual signaling device that allowed the battery to communicate with those down on Orote Point.

You can see some of the original mounting bolts used to hold down one of the three 6" naval guns placed atop Mt. Tenjo,

You can see some of the original mounting bolts used to hold down one of the three 6" naval guns placed atop Mt. Tenjo,

This is a section of the trench dug by the Marines during the prewar years, to defend the rear of the battery.

This is a section of the trench dug by the Marines during the prewar years, to defend the rear of the redoubt.

This is the only structure that remains at Mt. Tenjo.  Shielded from the fires by an oasis of sorts, this building is often mislabeled as being Japanese Occupation in origin.  In fact, it was built during the construction of the battery in the early post WW1 years.

This is the only structure that remains at Mt. Tenjo. Shielded from the fires by an oasis of sorts, this building is often mislabeled as being Japanese Occupation in origin. In fact, it was built during the construction of the battery in the early post WW1 years.

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This post was written by admin on July 27, 2014

Sorry for being a bad blogger

The past few months have been hectic ones for my family and I, but for good reasons. Following my recovery from my surgery in December, I wanted to spend as much time out-and-about as possible during my remaining time in Guam. In June of this year, my family and I moved from Guam to Honolulu, Hawaii, where I will be stationed for the next four years, continuing my service as a member of the US Coast Guard. Uprooting and moving your entire family from one island to another brings forth challenges, and I’ve been quite busy as a result getting settled into our new place. Finally, I have had recent travel, first to Boston MA for the World Radiosport Team Championship and a few days later back to Guam for a work trip.

As you can imagine, I’ve not been idle over these past few months. It is my intent to catch up here on this blog, so over the next few weeks you can expect to see a mix of updates, current and past.

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This post was written by admin on July 27, 2014

10m QRM from zone 24

Sorry for not updating this page in some time - I have been busy now that I have returned to work.

I wanted to share what 10m sounds like in this part of the world. This QRM is present at all times when the band is open to zone 24. Presumably it is noise from inexpensive two-way radio devices in China and elsewhere in SE Asia. The noise is sometimes S9, and completely covers weak stations.

When the band is open to NA, we usually have no problems because BY is still in darkness and there is no propagation. Also, the noise is nulled when beaming NA. The problem is trying to work Europe. Anyone weaker than S-5 is completely inaudible. In the recording below, I first start by listening to HA1AG in QSO with a JA station. Zoli is a solid S9 here, but copy is difficult through the noise. I then tune up and down the band, before switching to CW. There are two instances where you can even hear Chinese language in either FM or AM - not sure.

This noise is getting worse, and has also spread to the 12m SSB band. It covers the entire band, from 28.0 to well above 29.0 Mhz.

QRM across the 10m band

The noise is actually visible on the band scope

The noise is actually visible on the band scope, only S3 but this is in CW mode.

The noise is a solid S-7 on the meter, peaking S-9

The noise is a solid S-7 on the meter, peaking S-9, while in SSB.

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This post was written by admin on March 14, 2014

CQWW DX Contests

Below is my report from the CQWW DX SSB contest. Conditions were spectacular, and I was able to operate all 48 hours. The CW contest was a different story. I woke up with a sore throat, which got progressively worse through the day. At the 12 hour mark, I felt miserable with a full sinus infection. Clogged ears and runny eyes don’t make for an enjoyable contesting experience, so I operated part time for just under 4 meg. Still had fun all things considered!

CQ Worldwide DX Contest, SSB

Call: NH2T
Operator(s): N2NL
Station: NH2T

Class: SOAB HP
QTH: Guam
Operating Time (hrs): 48

Summary:
Band QSOs Zones Countries
——————————
160: 37 10 15
80: 274 27 53
40: 612 34 75
20: 1053 33 97
15: 2226 36 100
10: 2769 39 103
——————————
Total: 6971 179 443 Total Score = 12,747,890

Club: Florida Contest Group

Comments:

SO1R - Elecraft K3+AL1200
-Spiderbeam @40ft
-40ft vertical with a mix of top and base loading for 40/80/160
-Thee Beverages (NA, EU, VK/ZL)

I think most already know but it was a busy summer for me starting with an
unexpected diagnosis of stage 3 colon cancer in May (but currently with no
evidence of disease and an excellent future prognosis), subsequent
chemotherapy, and a forced QSY to a new location following the closing of my
former military housing area. The past several months have been extremely busy
while I relocated my station and installed three new Beverages on days when the
chemo side effects allowed (antenna work makes for great therapy!). Added to
the mix were several tropical disturbances over the past six weeks including
one that changed my Spiderbeam’s polarization from horizontal to vertical when
it bent my mast into a perfect 90 degree angle. Timing was perfect because I
got finally everything together and working last week, plus this is my chemo
“off week” with only one round remaining until complete so I felt
pretty good.

I really prefer CW to SSB and was cringing as 00z approached knowing that I
only lasted eight hours in OCDX SSB before my voice went out, but it’s CQWW SSB
and it’s my last from KH2 as I transfer somewhere new in June 2014. Once the
contest started the anxiety disappeared, aided by the best conditions I’ve ever
experienced in a contest from Guam. The time flew by and I finished with only
one 10 minute break out of the chair to grab a shower. My voice held out,
aside from some challenges during the last couple hours when my mouth decided
it wanted to quit pronouncing phonetics a little early.

This morning the latest tropical circulation started started passing through
with high winds, heavy rain, and embedded thunderstorms. One of my patio chairs
got blown into the base of my vertical about an hour before SR knocking out my
40 and 160m loading, and the wind stirred up a new power line noise source
which caused much frustration with very intermittent S9 noise which made the NB
worthless and covered callers completely. I came just short of my 7K QSO goal
but thanks to the conditions was able to break CT1BOH’s excellent continental
record he set back in 2000 as KH7X. This record was the carrot that kept me in
the chair. I’m thankful because things could have been much worse -
NH2DX(KG6DX) lost power twice over the weekend and the AH2R team is out taking
antennas down off the hotel roof today in some nasty weather before their
flight home.

Thanks everyone for the QSOs… and I hope to see everyone again in WWCW with a
repeat of this weekend’s conditions.

73, Dave KH2/N2NL

CQ Worldwide DX Contest, CW

Call: NH2T
Operator(s): N2NL
Station: N2NL

Class: SOAB(A) HP
QTH: Guam
Operating Time (hrs): 23

Summary:
Band QSOs Zones Countries
——————————
160: 97 14 19
80: 81 22 33
40: 128 34 54
20: 334 35 93
15: 789 39 124
10: 692 38 193
——————————
Total: 2122 182 426 Total Score = 3,772,032

Club: Florida Contest Group

Comments:

Original plans to operate SOAB for the full 48 hours fell through.

I woke up the morning of the contest with a scratchy throat - I probably caught
something on my flight home from a recent trip to DU1. I started feel worse as
the contest started. By 11Z I was 300 QSOs behind last year and feeling
miserable with a full blown sinus infection - watery eyes, clogged ears and
nose. I just wasn’t having fun so I crashed and went to bed. For the rest of
the weekend I turned on packet and S&Ped around calling guys. At times I
felt like Willy Wonka handing out KH2 multiplier candy. Really quite enjoyable
and I still got to play around in the contest without the typical serious SOAB
pressure.

Some regrets not doing a full effort… but I don’t think I could have made it
through the full weekend anyway. Half way through the contest the T/R relay in
my ancient AL1200 started glitching, so I was forced to run 33% power with my
KPA500 instead, plus I ended up having some unavoidable family responsibilities
come up that would have forced me off the air for about three additional hours
anyway - so I’m glad I made the decision when I did. Conditions were pretty
similar to last year - perhaps a very slight bit better - so it is questionable
if I would have been able to top last year’s score.

Plenty of KH2s on all the bands… almost too many when you are SOAB and
counting on assisted and multi op guys to call in for mults. Sorry for not
spending more time on the low bands where I know KH2 is rarer.

This is almost certainly my last CQWW DX contest from Guam for the foreseeable
future as I am due to transfer in June of 2014. No idea where I am headed, but
odds favorite are that it will be Honolulu for four years.

Still looking forward to lots of Radiosporting fun from Guam until I have to
take everything down to QSY - which may be just before WPX CW time next year.

73, Dave KH2/N2NL

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This post was written by admin on December 10, 2013

Bad weather and busy times

I have not been good about updating my blog - I hope to get caught up in the next few days.

One reason for being busy were a number of storm systems which passed through Guam in October. On three occasions, one week apart, we had a forming tropical cyclone pass near Guam, resulting in heavy rain and winds.

The first such storm caught me by surprise. It was passing just to the South of Guam, and we were only expecting 25MPH winds. Before I went to bed, I was outside and the winds seemed a little higher than normal. I sensed something was not right, but there was nothing I could do. After all, the forecast was for winds less than 30MPH, well within the limits of my Spiderbeam and mast.

I woke the next morning to heavy, heavy wind gusts. When I looked outside, this is what I saw:

Mast folded over in the wind

Mast folded over in the wind

The winds had folded over my mast - but I was lucky as there was no damage to the antenna at all. In fact, I worked TM2MS on 30m with the antenna in this configuration! I am guessing the winds exceeded 60MPH that morning - ripping up the side of the hill. The mast acted as a fuse of sorts, which kept something else from breaking. It was really pretty easy to fix, with a new section of pipe.

The storm passed to our south and then took a sharp turn to the north again, passing just to the west of the island.

guamcol

During this period I left the antenna on the ground, to keep it from getting damaged. Amazingly, I was able to work TN2MS on 15m through a large pileup with the antenna sitting on the ground, as well as XZ1Z on a few bands.

I was able to work TN2MS with the antenna sitting in this position.  This shows how good this QTH is, also how good the ears of the TN operator was!

I was able to work TN2MS with the antenna sitting in this position. This shows how good this QTH is, also how good the ears of the TN operator was!

We had two other storms pass during October, and I had good practice taking down the antennas and then putting them back up. The Beverage receive antennas also suffered damage, due to falling trees. Fortunately I was able to get everything repaired before the CQWW DX SSB contest.

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This post was written by admin on November 28, 2013

Cave exploring

I had a chance to go exploring one of the many caves located on the south side of Nimitz Hill, formerly known as Fonte during the pre-war days. They are off the beaten path, but not hard to find if you know where to look for them. There are many caves in total, but most are small. These caves were used extensively by the Japanese during their defense of Guam following the American landings on July 21, 1944. The northern landing beach was directly below Fonte, and the Japanese had a commanding advantage being on the hilltop and were able to hold back the American advance in this sector for several days. These caves were key to there defense because they provided shelter from both naval bombardment and aerial attacks.

There is a cave located on the east side of Nimitz Hill, just along the road which is a National Park Service site. Originally, this site was said to be the command post of the Japanese army commander, General Takashina. In actuality, this cave was used as a communications station by the Japanese, and it is my belief that the caves, being on the exposed hilltop, would have been too exposed to be used as a HQ position. Any way, these caves were upgraded as fallout shelters in the post-war years for civil defense so they do not even look as they did during the war.

It is quite likely that one of the caves to the south of Nimitz Hill was used as the HQ of General Takashina. Even if they were not, they were absolutely used as shelters by Japanese troops. After five days of heavy fighting, the Marines had barely advanced up the sides of Fonte (Nimitz) Hill. Takashina believed that they were worn out and low on supplies. His plan, executed on the 5th night of the battle, was to amass six battalions (upwards of 5000 or more troops) to directly assault the Marine positions and hopefully push them back into the ocean. The attack was a frenzied one, but ultimately failed with many hundreds of attacking Japanese killed. This effectively turned the tide in the battle, and the Marines were able to capture the high ground the next day. Takashina himself was killed while trying to reposition his remaining troops in Northern Guam with plans to resist as long as possible from the jungle.

Justin stands at the mouth of the largest cave

Justin stands at the mouth of the largest cave

Looking up after climbing down into the cave, to give the perspective of how large it is.

Looking up after climbing down into the cave, to give the perspective of how large it is.

There are shards of glass everywhere in the cave.  The brown pieces are from beer bottles, the light blue/green from sake bottles.

There are shards of glass everywhere in the cave. The brown pieces are from beer bottles, the light blue/green from sake bottles.

Deeper yet, there are lots of bits of decaying debris, like this ration tin and pieces from a leather boot.

Deeper yet, there are lots of bits of decaying debris, like this ration tin and pieces from a leather boot.

In the far back corner, we found this Japanese army gas mask (heavily decayed) along with medicine ampules.  The round blue/green piece of glass is from a sake bottle.

In the far back corner, we found this Japanese army gas mask (heavily decayed) along with medicine ampules. The round blue/green piece of glass is from a sake bottle.

Looking up at the mouth of the cave from inside

Looking up at the mouth of the cave from inside

more bits; a neck of a sake bottle, a light bulb, and a piece of leather from an equipment pouch

more bits; a neck of a sake bottle, a light bulb, and a piece of leather from an equipment pouch

Justin is happy after a fun time exploring

Justin is happy after a fun time exploring

In this depression surrounded by small caves, there are drums still catching rain water.  It is easy to imagine the soldiers coming out of the caves during lulls in the bombing to get some fresh air

In this depression surrounded by small caves, there are drums still catching rain water. It is easy to imagine the soldiers coming out of the caves during lulls in the bombing to get some fresh air

This is a very pretty area of the jungle

This is a very pretty area of the jungle

cave92

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This post was written by admin on October 14, 2013

Oceania DX contests

I operated in both the SSB and CW Oceania DX Contests over the past two weekends, as a shakedown to see how I feel and how the new location works. As expected, I felt much better during the CW weekend than SSB, because it’s my favorite mode and uses less effort (for me) than operating phone. The station seems to really work well also - I believe it is ready for the CQWW DX SSB contest later this month.

My scores in the OCDX contest should be enough to win the SOAB category both weekends, and I was able to break my 2010 record by quite a bit during the CW event.

Oceania DX Contest, Phone
Summary:
Band QSOs Mults
——————-
160: 4 4
80: 38 32
40: 175 125
20: 356 236
15: 826 435
10: 418 270
——————-
Total: 1817 1102 Total Score = 5,065,894

Oceania DX Contest, CW

Summary:
Band QSOs Mults
——————-
160: 25 22
80: 315 206
40: 346 241
20: 309 219
15: 646 369
10: 550 314
——————-
Total: 2191 1371 Total Score = 11,833,101

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This post was written by admin on October 14, 2013