OAUSA Net - October 28, 2021 - Desert Magazine

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OAUSA Net - October 28, 2021 - Desert Magazine


Post by DaveK » Tue Oct 26, 2021 8:08 pm


The deserts of our American Southwest are some of the most spectacular and beautiful places anywhere on earth. When we refer to these deserts, it is not limited to one or even two States. They cover large portions of Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Nevada, Texas, New Mexico and California.

Over the years, there have been an untold number of publications which have showcased the desert (or certain portions of it), but none have done as well or covered as much as "Desert Magazine." But more importantly, this magazine did more to foster an appreciation of our deserts that any other. From 1937 to about 1985, this monthly magazine contained some of the very finest articles covering our deserts, and for those who were not privileged to have experienced each issue, they are now available, online. To a very large extent, the places showcased in Desert Magazine still exist today, with some the worse for the passage of time, but still there.

in the inaugural issue of Desert Magazine (November 1937), Editor Randall Henderson set the course for Desert Magazine, and until the end, he and the magazine succeeded in delivering on his promise. He said:
We want it to he understood that this magazine is to be published for all the deserts of the Southwestern part of the United States. Within the limits of our space and ability we will give recognition to every constructive interest in this great desert expanse. We are working on our own capital and have no alliances or obligations other than to serve and entertain those who live on the desert, or who are interested in the desert.

We would like to feel that these pages will impart to their readers some of the courage, the tolerance, and the friendliness of our desert—that this issue and every issue, will be the cool spring of water at the end of the hard day's trek—and that you will go with us along the desert trail and find the journey worth while.
For all those who appreciate the deserts of the Southwestern USA, for those interested in obtaining a trip planning guide, and for those who appreciate great stories, you can have all 534 issues of Desert Magazine from it's 48 year run, complete, from cover to cover, for $15.00 (2 CDs.) There is no better deal ANYWHERE!!!!! See:

So for this net, we will be devoting all of our time to articles in the magazine, and maybe, a little bit of the history of the magazine, itself.

PS: In addition to the desert articles and stories, there is a wealth of great old time advertisements. Here are just a few:

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Re: OAUSA Net - Ovtober 28, 2021 - Desert Magazine


Post by DaveK » Tue Oct 26, 2021 8:59 pm


One of the most fascinating aspects of our western history is the extent to which man would go to pluck the wealth from the land, whether it be gold, silver, or any of the other forms of mineral or valuable substances hidden in the earth. Certainly, by today's standards, very, very few would, (or could) work so hard to make it rich. The prospect of fantastic wealth was responsible for luring untold hundreds of thousands of miners and their families to the western United States. Boom towns formed, often almost overnight, and depending on the extent of wealth to be found, many lasted for quite a few years after the initial discovery of gold or silver. And in a few cases, the towns that sprang up to support the search for wealth, still exist today, viz, Julian, CA and Oatman, AZ.

The history of these boom towns is colorful, and often deadly, and for us today, it is just as important to understand that history as it is to visit the sites where these towns and mines once existed. In this regard, the Desert Magazine is a tremendous resource for both the identification of the mines and mining towns, as well as their history.

Sadly, as time passes, the natural effect of weather, natural (and man caused) fires, and, sadly, vandalism, have erased much of the mining history of our Southwestern Deserts. Additionally, there have been way too many yahoos who have made it difficult or impossible for sensible and responsible citizens to enjoy this history. And, of course, the government always seems to find a way to get involved, as they feel compelled to either close the mines, place them off limits, or blast them closed. So regardless of the cause, the number of places to visit is dwindling, and if you have the slightest interest in exploring our history, there is no better time to do so than right now.

So for this net, I will mention several articles in the Desert Magazine on various mines of the American Southwest. The first is not a mine, in the strictest sense, but a fascinating look into the ceaseless energy that gold seekers have, and continue to put into their quest for great wealth. It is......

The Lost Dutchman Mine

For those who have access to the full catalog of Desert Magazines, you will find this article in the April 1938 issue, entitled, "Trekking for Treasure." The article is a good account of the history of the "legend" of the Lost Dutchman, but there is an untold history of countless men and women who have been searching for the Dutchman's treasure for over 150 years. Needless to say, the mine has never been found, which is a fact that seems to have had little, if any, effect on those intent on possessing it's wealth. And, as much as it would be fascinating to show pictures, they aren't available, yet.

As the story goes, the lost mine is located somewhere in the Superstition Mountains of Arizona, a relatively large and remote area. This was the picture of the Superstitions as it appeared in the DM, which accompanied the article;

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To say that the lure of such wealth was powerful, would be, at the very least, inaccurate. As the Desert Magazine pointed out in this article, it's attraction affected all, and this was their proof, (with caption):

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The "alleged" size of the gold deposits in the Dudtchman's Mine was fertile ground for dishonest peddlers of fake maps, such as the one below:

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The History

The story of the gold lore in Superstition Mountain dates to the mid 1800s. It is a word-of-mouth history which has made Superstition one of the the most alluring mountains in America The original "hero" is one Don Miguel Peralta, a rancher in Sonora, who first worked the mine in the Superstition. He acquired it by accident in the 1840s. His daughter, Rosita, was attacked by a young man, who eventually was killed in an accident while fleeing Don Miguel's wrath, but not before he had discovered a rich outcropping of gold ore. Don Miguel took the ore, and apparently, upon finding out just how rich it was, forgot the insult to his daughter.

He named his ore supply "La Mina Sombrera" (The Hat Mine) because it was near a central peak in Superstitions which resembled the crown of a Mexican hat. He worked it for some years, that is until Apache Indians massacred his last big group of miners. Years later, when the United States had acquired the area now known as Arizona, a Dutchman named Jacob Waltz took the mine from three Mexicans, apparently, killing them in the process. Waltz worked it for years, and before he died he confessed to the murders, and admitted that he did so in order to retain ownership of the rich property.

Waltz died in Phoenix, Arizona in 1882, but before he did, he told some friends of the mine's location, and claimed that he concealed the shaft in order to prevent people from discovering his find. The friends could never locate the mine, nor has anyone else. The supposed location of the mine was near a peak, which has subsequently been renamed, and today is known as Weaver's Needle, (because its shape also suggests an oval needle used for weaving.) These are the clues that searchers have been using for decades to locate Waltz's treasure.

So there you have it. Fact or fiction?????

The Mina del Tiro Mine

The Mina del Tiro Mine was the subject of a story that appeared in the March 1951 issue of the Desert Magazine, entitled , "Where Slave Miners Toiled for Silver." While the Mina del Tiro is the most important and historical part of the article, it so happens that there are four other mines within a few miles of the Tiro. They are: the Bonanza, the Carbonateville, the Cash Entry, and the Chalchihuitl turquoise mine. Varying remnants of these other four mines were still extant at the time of this article.

Charles L. Knaus, the author of the story, began by noting this:
The Mina del Tiro in New Mexico has long since given up its silver treasure. But, visitors can still find an occasional relic of the days when Indian slaves carried the ore to the surface in buckets of rawhide. This story was written after the author had made a personal trek to the old workings.
Some of the most intriguing and colorful mines of the American Southwest are the ones supposed to have been worked by the Spanish Conquistadores prior to the Indian rebellion of 1680, which drove the Spaniards southward and out of what is now New Mexico and Arizona. It was many years before the Spaniards returned to these regions and during the interval, the Indians filled or covered all of the Spanish mines and so completely destroyed every trace, so that the returning Spaniards could not discover the slightest sign of the old mines, or so the legend goes.

This was then the beginning of the legend of the "lost Spanish mines", and it created a sort of "Lost Dutchman Mine" aura, complete with the lure of amazing wealth. In the tireless pursuit of this wealth one of these mines was uncovered, the Mina del Tiro, situated in north central New Mexico, in the Cerrillos Hills about 20 miles southwest of Santa Fe. The Mina del Tiro is believed to be the oldest known underground mine in the Southwest, north of Mexico. Here is to be found the only concrete evidence of ancient Spanish mining in the Southwestern United States. The mine probably antedates any other known mine in the region by at least a century.

This is a rough map of the location of the Mina del Tiro as well as the other 4 mines located nearby:

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The entrance to the Tiro:

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Knaus, the author of this article, noted this:
The mine was worked for its silver and possibly for lead. The full extent of the old workings has never been determined but access was through an inclined shaft about 100 feet in depth.This shaft had landings, or platforms,cut from the solid rock at intervals of12 or 14 feet which were gained by climbing notched logs. There are extensive drifts leading from the shaft,many of them 300 feet and more in length. Great chambers are found from which the ore was mined.The lowest portions of the mine are slightly below the level of permanent water and as late as 1870 the remains of an old canoe were in evidence in the mine. It is generally believed that canoes may have been used for transporting the rock and ore from the working places to the foot of the shaft from which point the rock and ore was carried to the surface on the backs of Indians.

The full history of the Mina del Tiro is clouded in the mists of time and only bits of information have come to light here and there in the ancient records of Mexico and Spain.It was not until 1879 that the district was rediscovered by American prospectors.
The Other Mines

For a few years following 1879. the Cerrillos district, in which the Tiro is located, boomed greatly and several mines were opened that were operated for many years. At least as of the publication date of this article, some of these mines were still being worked.

The Chalchihuitl Turquoise Mine

This mine was a vast open pit where turquoise was mined by Indians for untold years before the Spanish Conquistadores arrived. At least at the time of the writing of this article, the author noted that the diligent searcher might still find turquoise. The mine:

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This last picture from the article shows the Cerrillos Hills in the background (where the Mina del Tiro was located) and the old camp of Bonanza.

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Leadfield Mine - The Last Boom Town of Death Valley

The actual title of this 1957 Desert Magazine article was, "Boom and Bust of Leadfield." The tale of the Leadfield is one that has been told many times, and mysteriously, it (and the countless similar others) seems to goes largely unnoticed by the public who is all too willing to invest in the latest and greatest new money making scheme. To be fair however, I should mention that there are many who believe that it was a legitimate investment in a potentially profitable mine.

An excellent discussion of the mining history that preceded the Leadfield, the mine itself, and its eventual demise, is is to be found at The Digital-Desert (see: ... ld-02.html) I highly recommend the article which is an excellent presentation of the story of the Leadfield, along with some present day pictures. On which side of the argument you fall will depend entirely on how much research you are willing to do.

Since this post will deal only with the story presented in the Desert Magazine, in its January 1957 issue, I will stick to the story as printed. I couldn't resist the urge to post the cover page of the January issue - note the price!!!

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The boom and bust of Leadfield was one of the shortest on record, but as unfortunate as it was, it is a fascinating tale. For the 4WD explorer, remnants of the boom town, and the mines, still exist today. Knowing it's history will make for a much better visit to the town.

Map of the Leadfield

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The History

On Sunday, March 21, 1926, a procession of automobiles beat their way across the dusty Amargosa Desert to what would become the boom town of Leadfield. As this procession approached the entrance, they were welcomed by banners to the newest of Death Valley's mining communities: Leadfield. On hand to welcome the guests, was Leadfield's host and founder, C. C. Julian. Included among this group of guests were several women who had ridden a special Tonopah and Tidewater train from Los Angeles to Death Valley,

The estimated size of this group was unclear. The local newspaper, The Chronicle, estimated it to be around 1,000. Other sources placed the number at 3,000. But, Oscar Olsen, formerly with the Goldfield Elks Club, admitted later that he had fed a buffet luncheon to 1120 people
that afternoon. Regardless of the exact number, the group was had been carefully culled from a much larger number as they were the most likely to invest in one of "Death Valley's greatest mining speculations", Western Lead.

To add to the general color and confusion of the occasion, Julian hired a six piece band, from Los Angeles, to provide "jazzy music." As the promoter of Leadfield, Julian took the stage and apparently did that voo-doo that he did so well, and was heard to say, "If you don't buy, it will be all right with me. No fooling. This baby stands on her own feet." Between the "jazzy music, the buffet luncheon, and Julian's magic, they sold several million dollars worth of stock.

In the end however, there was too much stock manipulation and too little development of the alleged 100-foot thick layer of 7 percent lead ore that existed under Leadfield. Julian's baby—Death Valley's last boom town — stood on her own feet only until the end of that year, a mere 9 months. On August 25, 1926, Virginia Thomas Costello, the first and only postmaster of Leadfield, opened the Leadfield post office with mail for 200. She closed the post office the day Leadfield died — five months later on January 15, 1927.

The collapse of Leadfield, along with Julian's other troubles, prompted him to flee to China, where he later committed suicide. In spite of the rapid collapse of Julian's Leadfield, there was one accomplishment that stands to his credit, the Red Hill Grade. The road cost $100,000 to build and was still in use at publishing time for this article.

During its heyday, according to historian C. B. Glasscock, Leadfield supported a newspaper, the Leadfield, one Hotel, Ole's Inn, and a half dozen other shops. There were bunkhouses, a blacksmith shop, mess hall and a scattering of private residences. When the town died, wind, weather and lumber-hungry prospectors picked it to pieces in short order. Still standing, as of the date of publication, was the Leadfield Hotel. Not exactly up to Hilton standards.

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Re: OAUSA Net - Ovtober 28, 2021 - Desert Magazine


Post by toms » Wed Oct 27, 2021 1:20 pm

Desert Magazine Feb 1942 and May 1949

I have been meaning to look into the history of Fremont for some time. He is responsible for naming much of the west and his name shows up frequently on my trips.

John Charles Frémont or Fremont (January 21, 1813 – July 13, 1890) was an explorer of the Western United States
He is known as The Path Finder of the Rocky Mountains

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Anchor Dates
• American Civil War Apr 12, 1861 – Apr 9, 1865
• The Transcontinental Railroad was constructed between Dec 1863 and May 10, 1869
• The California Gold Rush began on January 24, 1848, when gold was found by James W. Marshall at Sutter's Mill in Coloma.
• Lost 49er arrived in Death Valley Christmas eve 1849.

In the 1840s, Frémont led five expeditions into the Western United States.
His reports gave many their first knowledge of what is now the many states of the American West, and his work won for him the nickname of “Pathfinder.”

When Joel Poinsett became Secretary of War, he arranged for Frémont to assist French explorer and scientist Joseph Nicollet in exploring the lands between the Mississippi and Missouri rivers for 10 years.
As a result, Frémont became a first-rate topographer, trained in astronomy, and geology, describing fauna, flora, soil, and water resources.
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In 1841, Frémont Married Senator Benton’ daughter Jessie. Senator Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri was the powerful chairman of the Senate Committee on Military Affairs.
Benton pushed appropriations through Congress for national surveys of the Oregon Trail, the Oregon Country, the Great Basin, and Sierra Nevada Mountains to California. Through his power and influence, Senator Benton obtained for Frémont the leadership, funding, and patronage of three expeditions.

He was a U.S. Senator from California, and in 1856 was the first Republican nominee for President of the United States and founder of the California Republican Party when he was nominated.
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First expedition (1842) June - October

When Nicollet was too ill to continue any further explorations, Frémont was chosen to be his successor.

His first important expedition was planned by Senator Benton, his father-in-law, and other Westerners interested in acquiring the Oregon Territory.

The scientific expedition started in the summer of 1842 and was to explore the
• Wind River of the Rocky Mountains,
• examine the Oregon Trail through the South Pass,
• and report on the rivers and the fertility of the lands, find optimal sites for forts, and describe the mountains beyond in Wyoming.

Frémont was able to have mountain man and guide Kit Carson on the expedition.

Frémont and his party of 25 men, including Carson, embarked from the Kansas River on June 15, 1842, following the Platte River to the South Pass, and starting from Green River he explored the Wind River Range.

Frémont climbed a 13,745-foot mountain, Frémont's Peak, planted an American flag, claiming the Rocky Mountains and the West for the United States.

His five-month exploration was a success, returning to Washington in October.

Frémont and his wife Jessie wrote a Report of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains (1843), which was printed in newspapers across the country; the public embraced his vision of the west not as a place of danger but wide open and inviting lands to be settled.

Fremont Peak
is the third highest peak in the state of Wyoming.
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The peak is located on the Continental Divide and is the second highest peak in the remote Wind River Range after Gannett Peak.

South Pass (elevation 7,412 ft and 7,550 ft)
South Pass is the term for two mountain passes on the Continental Divide, in the Rocky Mountains in southwestern Wyoming.

The Pass lies in southwestern Fremont County, approximately 35 miles SSW of Lander.

Though it approaches a mile and a half high, South Pass is the lowest point on the Continental Divide between the Central and Southern Rocky Mountains. The passes furnish a natural crossing point of the Rockies.

Fremont culture or Fremont people
Fremont Culture is a pre-Columbian archaeological culture which received its name from the Fremont River in the U.S. state of Utah, where the culture's sites were discovered by local indigenous peoples like the Navajo and Ute.

In Navajo culture, the pictographs are credited to people who lived before the flood.

The Fremont River itself is named for John Charles Frémont, an American explorer.

It inhabited sites in what is now Utah and parts of Nevada, Idaho and Colorado from AD 1 to 1301 (2,000–700 years ago[1]).

It was adjacent to, roughly contemporaneous with, but distinctly different from the Ancestral Pueblo peoples located to their south.

Fremont people generally wore moccasins like their Great Basin ancestors rather than sandals like the Ancestral Puebloans.

They were part-time farmers who lived in scattered semi-sedentary farmsteads and small villages, never entirely giving up traditional hunting and gathering for more risky full-time farming. They made pottery, built houses and food storage facilities, and raised corn, but overall they must have looked like poor cousins to the major traditions of the Greater Southwest, while at the same time seeming like aspiring copy-cats to the hunter-gatherers still living around them

Second expedition (May 1843 – Aug 1844)

The more ambitious goal was to
• map and describe the second half of the Oregon Trail,
• find an alternate route to the South Pass,
• and push westward toward the Pacific Ocean on the Columbia River in Oregon Country.

Frémont obtained a 12-pound howitzer cannon in St. Louis.

Frémont invited Carson on the second expedition

Unable to find a new route through Colorado to the South Pass, Frémont took to the regular Oregon Trail.

His party stopped to explore the northern part of the Great Salt Lake.

He mapped Mount St. Helens and Mount Hood.

They reached Sutter's Fort in the Sacramento Valley in March 1844

Frémont resolved to explore the Great Basin between the Rockies and the Sierras.
Great Basin.jpg
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Frémont and his party turned south along the eastern flank of the Cascades through the Oregon territory to Pyramid Lake, which he named.
Looping back to the east to stay on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, they turned south again as far as present-day Minden, Nevada, reaching the Carson River on January 18, 1844.

From an area near what later became Virginia City, Frémont turned west into the cold and snowy Sierra Nevada, becoming one of the first Americans to see Lake Tahoe.[22]

Carson successfully led Frémont's party through a new pass over the high Sierras, which Frémont named Carson Pass in his honor.

Frémont and his party then descended the American River valley to Sutter's Fort at present-day Sacramento, California, in early March

Exploring the Great Basin, Frémont verified that all the land (centered on modern-day Nevada between Reno and Salt Lake City) was endorheic, without any outlet rivers flowing towards the sea.

It disproved a longstanding legend of a 'Buenaventura River' that flowed out the Great Basin across the Sierra Nevada.
After exploring Utah Lake.
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In August 1844, Frémont and his party finally arrived back in St. Louis.

His wife Jessie and Frémont returned to Washington, where the two wrote a second report, scientific in detail, showing the Oregon Trail was not difficult to travel and that the Northwest had fertile land.
Senator Buchanan ordered the printing of 10,000 copies to be used by settlers and desire the popular movement of national expansion.

Fremont Island
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located in Great Salt Lake
Named Disappointment Island by Fremont
Kit Carson inscribed a cross on the highest point on the island.
It was renamed Fremont Island in 1850, when Capt. Howard Stansbury surveyed the Great Salt Lake.

Lost Cannon
Fremont expedition of 1843 – 1844
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Abandoned during a snowstorm in the Sierra Nevada mountains in 1844 by John C. Fremont. Otherwise known as the Fremont Cannon, this priceless artifact has been sought by treasure hunters, archaeologists, Forest Service employees and others for 170 years.

October 31st of 2013, the remains of the lost Fremont Cannon were unveiled at the Nevada State Museum.
Also included were many other artifacts, found in Deep Creek near the West Walker River where Fremont said he had abandoned the cannon.

A model M1835 bronze cannon (mountain howitzer), cast by the Cyrus Alger Iron Company in South Boston, Massachusetts. Only thirteen of the model M1835 mountain howitzer barrels were cast

The trophy when Nevada plays at UNLV is a replica of Fremont’s cannon.

Great Basin
After arriving in Oregon, however, Fremont made the decision to return by a different route that would take him south into the Great Basin of Nevada in search of the legendary Buenaventura River believed by many to cross the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. He was thus the first person to prove that no such river existed and coined the term Great Basin to describe the area.
Great Basin.jpg
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Third expedition (June 1845)

With the backdrop of an impending war with Mexico, after James K. Polk had been elected president, Benton quickly organized a third expedition for Frémont.

The plan for Frémont under the War Department was to
• survey the central Rockies,
• the Great Salt Lake region, and
• part of the Sierra Nevada.

Back in St. Louis, Frémont organized an armed surveying expedition of 60 men, with Carson as a guide.
Working with Benton and Secretary of Navy George Bancroft, Frémont was secretly told that if war started with Mexico, he was to turn his scientific expedition into a military force.

President Polk was set on taking California. Frémont desired to conquer California for its beauty and wealth, and would later explain his very controversial conduct there.

On June 1, 1845, Frémont and his armed expedition party left St. Louis having the immediate goal to locate the source of the Arkansas River, on the east side of the Rocky Mountains. Frémont and his party struck west by way of Bent's Fort, The Great Salt Lake, and the "Hastings Cut-Off".

In 1846, Frémont sill in California and a major in the U.S. Army, took control of California During the Mexican–American War.

Frémont was convicted in court-martial for mutiny and insubordination after a conflict over who was the rightful military governor of California. After his sentence was commuted and he was reinstated by President Polk, Frémont resigned from the Army.
Fremont Map s.jpg
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Re: OAUSA Net - October 28, 2021 - Desert Magazine


Post by Diesel4x » Thu Oct 28, 2021 12:54 pm

Looks so very interesting!!!

Please check in
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Re: OAUSA Net - October 28, 2021 - Desert Magazine


Post by KA9WDX » Thu Oct 28, 2021 5:40 pm

Check in please - Thanks - Bernie

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Re: OAUSA Net - October 28, 2021 - Desert Magazine


Post by KM6OJB » Thu Oct 28, 2021 6:27 pm

Please check me in KM6OJB.

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Re: OAUSA Net - October 28, 2021 - Desert Magazine


Post by Geoff » Thu Oct 28, 2021 6:29 pm

Please check me in tonight.

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Re: OAUSA Net - October 28, 2021 - Desert Magazine


Post by H380 » Thu Oct 28, 2021 6:31 pm

Please check me in: WY6R Bob 73.

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Re: OAUSA Net - October 28, 2021 - Desert Magazine


Post by Voodoo Blue 57 » Thu Oct 28, 2021 6:51 pm

Please check me in.

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