Lucerne Dry Lake Launch Site
Our launch site is located on Lucerne Dry Lake, north of the town of Lucerne Valley and east of Victorville, at an altitude of 2848 feet (870m) above sea level, somewhere in the middle of the Mojave Desert. To get here, simply navigate to (-)116° 57′ 29” W; 34° 29′ 49” N, or see our Directions, below.
Important Note: All recreational off-highway vehicle activity is illegal at Lucerne Dry Lake, per the BLM. This refers to the riding of dirt bikes, quads, and other vehicles not licensed for the street. However, rocket recovery operations by licensed vehicles are permitted. This means get on the lakebed, get your rocket, and return directly to the range head. If your rocket leaves the lakebed and lands in the brush, your vehicle must stay on established roads and collect the rocket on foot.
Current Weather Conditions
From almost anywhere south of the San Bernardino Mountains, take I-15 or I-215 north. I-15 and I-215 merge to become just I-15; I-15 then goes over the 4000+ foot Cajon Pass, and into the Mojave Desert. Just before Victorville, take the Bear Valley Road exit and head east. There are signs for Lucerne Valley. This will go through Victorville and Hesperia and Apple Valley and eventually merge with CA route 18. Continue on CA-18 until you reach Lucerne Valley and the junction with CA-247. Go north on CA-247 for a few miles as it crosses Lucerne Dry Lake.
To check road conditions in real time: California Highway Conditions (Enter 247,18,15, 58 for local highways)
If you are arriving from the North or East, Lucerne Dry Lake is about 30 miles south of Barstow on CA 247 (Barstow Road exit from I-15). CA-58 from Bakersfield is the best route inland from all points North/West. I-15 or I-40 are the major routes to Barstow from the North and East
About the middle of the dry lake, you will see a group of vehicles way out on the lake on the west side. Turn West onto the dirt road marked by a “ROC” sign (from the Hwy 18/Hwy 247 junction to the turnoff is about 3.8 miles, near mile marker 49). Note that the dirt road is actually pretty good for nearly every type of vehicle except those really lowered sporty things. Drive out the dirt road and turn left at the sign. You will likely see flagline marking off the range (please follow the road). When you get even with the range head there will be another marked turn to the right. The turn off of 247 is a bit North of the launch site. There appears to be a dirt road that heads straight for the site, but we recommend you use the turn off marked with a sign unless you have a very high-clearance vehicle and an adventurous spirit…
Camping & Survival
Since it is (after all) the desert, Lucerne Dry Lake displays extremes of temperature and climate. In June, it can easily get over 100 degrees F; needless to say, there is no shade unless you bring it with you (stake it down securely!). Sunscreen is a must unless you like that “fresh lobster” look!
Also, bring three times as much water as you think you will drink, and then drink it. The hot desert can dry you out very quickly. We are very serious in this warning! If you are not acclimated, dehydration can be life threatening in a short period of time.
You can camp on the lakebed itself – there is no camping fee due to this being “un-improved” camping. We will provide dumpsters for your trash and porta-potties, which are not for trash. Some of the “potties” will be the larger variety designed for handi-capped access.
If you have never been here before, plan to arrive in daylight! The lakebed is usually quite firm, but is crisscrossed with ruts and generally not quite level. A great place to launch rockets, but it can be a challenge to drive, or even walk, at night. Be careful!
If you are tent camping, make sure you have a sturdy tent and it is staked down solidly.
The lakebed is managed by the BLM, so all fires must be above ground in a suitable fire place. Please bring a suitable container and pack out your ashes.
Generators and other motor driven devices must be approved by the California Air Resources Board.
If you bring out an RV, please note that we will ask you to not park in the front row – it is a safety hazard.
Please understand that launch dates/times are tentative and are subject to change without notice. If adverse weather conditions occur, please check this site get accurate lake bed conditions before heading out to a launch as a cancellation can be made as late as the morning of the launch! In June the greatest risk for a cancellation is wind above 20 MPH, which is usually only occurs later in the day.
Weather updates will be posted on this web site in the news feed, on Twitter, and on Facebook, anytime relevant information is available. The weather AT THE LAKEBED may not match surrounding areas, even as close as Victorville or Apple Valley. When we post weather updates, they will be for the lakebed. Other sources may be too general to give an accurate indication of conditions at the launch site. While we cannot offer any guarantee that our forecasts are going to be perfect–if you rely on other sources for information we definitely can’t be responsible for their accuracy. We have had many instances of people deciding not to come to a launch due to weather conditions, only to find out that the lakebed had great flying weather!
Other Useful Information
ROC is pleased to announce the completion of the LDRS35 Host Hotel arrangements.
The Official Host Hotel for LDRS35 will be the Hilton Garden Inn in Victorville, CA.
Hilton Garden Inn
12603 Mariposa Road
Victorville, CA 92395
The discounted rooms have all been booked.
There are also motels available in Victorville, Apple Valley, Barstow, and Big Bear. The eastern part of Big Bear is only 30 to 45 minutes away or so.
The two closest motels are the Ace Motel (760-248-7524) and Portal Motel (760-248-7992), both on Highway 18 in Lucerne Valley, and both fill quickly…
RV Rental Near the Launch Site
JR RV Rentals, LLC. of Apply Valley is known for supplying the best RV, Trailer and 5th Wheels for your next camping trip. Delivery and set up is available to make everything easier for your trip without the hassle of towing a trailer.
JR RV Rentals
16229 Maricopa Lane, Apple Valley CA 92307 us
Food and Supplies:
It is always a good idea to bring everything with you, but if you do forget something, you can probably find almost anything at one of our favorite local businesses, located just south of the intersection of 18 and 247:
Lucerne Valley Market and ACE Hardware (they even sell some model rocket motors!)
32946 Hwy 18
Lucerne Valley, CA 92356
There are a few places to eat in Lucerne Valley, but our favorite restaurant, located just west of the intersection of 18 and 247, is:
China House Restaurant
32716 Hwy 18
Lucerne Valley, CA 92356
We also recommend:
32866 Old Woman Springs Rd, Lucerne Valley, CA 92356
Located at the junction of Highway 247 and Highway 18, roughly 3.8 miles from the launch site.
Amateur Radio Information
Quite a few ROC members are licensed amateur radio operators (“hams”). To make it easier for us to contact one another at launches, we’ve published the following information.
* 146.535 MHz (2m band): Simplex, usually monitored on the lakebed
* 145.180 MHz (2m band): Repeater (-0.6 MHz/PL 123.0) local in Lucerne Valley
For talk-in use the repeater, as that will give us the best chance of always being able to connect. After making contact on the repeater, if you are within range of the lake bed, you can switch to simplex operation to free up the repeater for other users.
Guidelines to Minimize Interference To and From Other Spectrum Users for Radio Tracking devices
Anyone using radio frequency tracking equipment is responsible for ensuring they are properly licensed for the equipment they are using, and take necessary precautions to prevent harmful interference to others. These suggestions are intended to make flyers aware of normal use and applicable band-plans at the ROC launch site.
2 Meter Band
For APRS avoid 144.39 for rockets, unless time between beacons is at least 2 minutes. Use 145.01, 145.03, 145.05, 145.07, or 145.09. Most of the 2 meter band uses 15 KHz spacing, but these are digital (packet) frequencies still set aside, but with little use.
Beacons should be on an FM simplex frequency other than 146.52, 146.535 (used by ROC on the lakebed), 146.43 (ATV talkback), or 146.565 (set aside for Foxhunts and frequently busy on weekends). Suggested frequencies are 146.49, 146.505, 146.55, 146.58, 147.525, or 147.54
1-1/4 Meter Band
APRS rocket trackers should be on 223.46 or 223.48.
For beacons avoid frequencies below 222.13. Use “Odd 10KHz” buffer frequencies between the FM voice frequencies. California uses 20 KHz spacing with FM voice on even 10 KHz.
70 Centimeter Band
APRS should be between 431 to 431.6 MHz or 438.94 to 439.08 MHz, 20KHz even spacing.
Beacons should be above 444.15, and use “Odd 10KHz” buffer frequencies.
33 Centimeter Band
No APRS allocations on 33 Centimeters.
Beacons must avoid 902.1 weak signal allocation! Should be between 903 and 905 MHz or 925 to 928 MHz.