Alabaster Mine Activation – US-CO-ME-ALBSTR01
How D Everyone:
In the first weekend of May I found a little time to get in my first activation of the year. While heading down CO-141 one day, a good friend of mine pointed out a gate along the cattle fence in the middle of no where. He said that just back in that area was an Alabaster Mine. He had looked up the claim, which had expired and it was on BLM (Federal) land.
Since it was not far from my place and could easily be done in 4-5 hours, I decided to make it my first activation of 2018. It was a nice Saturday, low 80s and a slight breeze. However, when you got up into the red rock that was absorbing the heat and blocking the wind, it was upper 80’s and the nats and biting flys were just having a great day!
As you can see from the images, it is not a mine in the traditional sense. It is more like a quarry. They would bull doze a section of land until they got a clear shot at the alabaster layer in the rock and then start drilling cores.
Alabaster is a soft, fine-grained mineral stone. It is easily carved into different designs and shapes. The Ancient Egyptians valued alabaster. It was typically carved into small vases for holding fragrances and oil. Due to its rarity it was often used to create objects of sacred and religious importance.
Once I had some images and had explored for a while, I made my way out of the rocks until I found the breeze and a few less buzzing annoyances. I setup near the fence line and then enjoyed a few hours on the radio and a sandwich. There was a number of contests going that day so it was pretty easy to make my contacts. I also brought the portable FT-8 setup and made a number of contacts there as well. All and all it was a pretty good day. The low point would be were I realized I had no bug spray. I had thrown it out last fall, with the sun tan lotion, when I noticed they were over two years old. Guess who forgot to buy replacements?
I got a lot of interesting looks from people as they drove by. I am sure they thought I was some government secret agent sitting out there in the middle of no where with an antenna, radio gear and headphones on. One gentlemen did stop. He turned out to be a newspaper reporter from a near by town. He asked a lot of questions about the hobby and the mine. Not sure anything will come of it but it was nice to have a visitor. (Follow up article from the San Miguel Basin Forum Newspaper)
That was on Saturday May 5th. If you made a contact that day with WJ0NF, please drop me an email. I will check my logs and would be happy to send you a custom QSL card with am image from the mine for our contact.
73, John, WJ0NF, 100Watts ID: 1849
FT-8 working just fine on the Raspberry Pi build