Ham Radio Field Day 2023

June 22-26, 2023

Every year on the third weekend in June, ham radio operators all over the country participate in a "Field Day" sponsored by the National Association for Amateur Radio. The purpose of the event is to demonstrate their ability to send messages in many different forms without the use of phone systems, internet or any other infrastructure that can be compromised in a crisis. Since 2007, we've been celebrating Field Day with our ham radio buddies at remote, high-elevation locations in Arizona and New Mexico. This year we had planned to return to a prime spot in the Gila National Forest, but when temperatures suddenly soared into the high 90s, we redirected to one of our favorite camping areas in the White Mountains of Arizona.

big breakfast

Hats off to the crew that made the long drive from Tucson and Phoenix! For Dennis and me, it was a short and scenic hop of 150 miles, broken up by a "second breakfast" at the Bear Wallow Cafe in Alpine.

camping in the cool pines

Destinated at 9300', 75° with a nice cool breeze. Ahhhhh!

Doug's tent

Slowly our fellow campers began filtering in. That's Al outside Doug's camp. Al has been joining us for Field Day since 2007.

Dennis and I do a little radio and a lot of hiking at these events. Friday we more or less threw a dart at a map and set out for Hay Lake. At the headwaters for the South Fork Little Colorado River, winds gusting to 50 mph almost blew us over!

Steve Tank

Vast, grassy, rolling meadows stretch to the horizon in every direction, punctuated by dayglo green ponds and stands of giant douglas fir. "Sweeping vistas" hardly captures the incredible panoramas [scroll].

Hay Lake

Hay Lake — mostly hay, some lake — was larger and lusher than we expected. On the far shore is the edge of an enormous burn scar that stretches all the way to Greer, and is the one thing that stopped us from attempting to hike into town for ice cream!

Wahl Knoll

As if the hike wasn't difficult enough, on the way back we decided to try to walk a straight line, regardless of the obstacles. That's Wahl Knoll in the distance.

Snow on Sunrise Peak

Patches of snow on Sunrise Peak. Yup, we were plenty tired by the time we returned to camp, with about eight miles of bushwhacking behind us.

Hiking up Wahl Knoll

The next day's target was Wahl Knoll, 9768'. Like most of the promontories in this area, it is shorn of trees on the southern slope.

View from the summit

Daaaang, what a view from the summit! [scroll]

Escudilla to the east, East and West Baldy to the south, Sunrise Peak in the west, Greens Peak to the north, and beyond, the field of cinder cones on the far side of the Little Colorado River.

Transmitting from Wahl Knoll

Our most significant radio activity was staking a claim to Wahl Knoll — 10 points! — for Summits on the Air (SOTA).

Returning to camp

Returning to camp, after threading our way through a forest of young aspens thriving in an old burn scar.


Our third and final hike was a bushwhack through a burn scar with lots of wildflowers, then back to camp along a tiny stream.

Richardson's Geranium

Richardson's Geranium.

estern Blue Flag Iris

We ate lunch in the shade of a Douglas fir next to a field of Western Blue Flag Irises.

Nevada Sweet Pea

Nevada Sweet Pea.

What a great Field Day! Thanks everyone for keeping us company, on the air and in person!