KP4/CE-001 - El Yunque
The next morning I set out for KP4/CE-001 - El Yunque. I had less of a drive this morning, but I did have a 2.5 mile/4 km hike so I got out early to beat the crowds and hopefully get to the top before the clouds moved in. This is one of the most popular destinations in El Yunque National Forest and it can get really busy. There are several routes you can take to reach the top, but I chose the namesake El Yunque trail, which takes you on a great walk through the tropical rainforest. The trails in the National Forest have been ‘hardened’ so that they don’t become a quagmire and there are numerous rain shelters along the way. Even on the best of days you can expect rain - El Yunque receives over 200"/6m of rain a year and rains on average 4 times per day.
After a muggy hike, I got to the top and started setting up on a deserted summit. The views were breathtaking and you could see the north, east and south coasts of this strangely rectangular island from El Yunque.
CCC built observation tower
As I was setting things up, a truck with government plates with two guys showed up. Not long after I got on the air, they got out and started setting up a small Yagi antenna. Hmmmm, what were they up to?
I started on 10m and was having great fun working through the pileup. After 30 minutes or so, the two gentlemen walked over to me, so I pulled my headphones out. The one gentleman identified himself as the FCC (Federal Communications Commision) and the other as the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration). Wow! It’s not often you get visited by one, much less two federal agencies on a summit! And guess what? I was QRMing them everytime I transmitted. I graciously agreed to take a break while they conducted their foxhunt. After all, I am just out there playing and they were there trying to do their job. They were looking for the source of some spurious emissions that were causing interference with the FAA navigational beacons on the island. Without my intereference, they were able to quickly pinpoint the source as St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. This also gave me a short break to take some photos before the clouds started rolling in.
View of the southern coast with KP4/CE-003 - Pico del Este in the back left.
After my short break, I got back to my activation. After picking up a few more on 10m, I dropped down to 12. After nothing but crickets for about 10 minutes, the pileups started again. Everytime things quieted down and I thought I could QSY, I would get a handful more. KP4 was popular on 12 meters to both SOTA and non-SOTA chasers it seems.
The clouds moved in and as everything started to get damp, it decided to start raining in earnest. I should have been better prepared, but it had been such a glorius morning I was not thinking of the inevitable rain and I quickly went QRT. Not to mention that I was receiving numerous texts from my buddy who had finished up his business and really wanted to get away from the office and start his vacation. I had a pleasant walk down in the rain, in the rainforest, as it should be.