The most obvious thing to bring is a scanner.
Personally, April is too early to head out to the range. Spring comes late there. I've seen snow on the way up Tikaboo when I've done the hike in
April. May is better timing. I was around the range in March this year and it was snowing at ground level.
Since you have a few months, I will eventually get around to writing up some tips on Groom Lake snooping. I have plenty of GPS tracks and
You have to realize in a day or two, you won't see much. It takes at least a week to see some flying around the range at close distance. And unless
you are on Tikaboo, you won't see anything flying from Groom Lake. Well, with one exception. I saw N105TB chasing a SU-27 in free territory during
the day. Not exactly a secret, but it was a flight from the base.
Groom Lake Birds
But that is one daylight flight outside the box in over a decade of poking
around the range.
I'm pretty sure they flew the SU-27 in front of outsiders to send a message to our enemies that fly it. They have wooden SU-27 mock ups as photo
targets at Creech. Clearly we don't like that bird!
I only saw one test aircraft flying over Groom. It was at night with no moon. All I saw was a solid white light flying very low over the base. They
have some scheme where they darken most of the lighting on the base during tests, so it's really hard to see anything. The runway lights are turned
on full blast, which kind of kills your eye's night vision.
Regarding NV gear, it is not all that useful for Groom sightings. The thing to keep in mind is as you get magnification, you lose light. Twice the
magnification is one quarter of the light. So night vision that doesn't use magnification won't show much for something 26 miles away. If you have a
little magnification (usually 3x for NV), it is still to far away to see any detail.
Now NV is great for Red Flag. I've watched blacked out choppers fly over me. Very cool. [You see the chopper as a silhouette since the sky looks gray
through NV.] The tail rotor hub gets hot and has quite a glow on NV. The problem with NV is it kills your eye's natural night vision. Thus you only
want to fire it up when something is close. Otherwise, for safety, most jets leave flashers on, so you can see them with your naked eye at night. The
afterburner is very visible.
NV is good for meteorites. Once it flies by, you can see the ionization trail with the NV gear.
NV will catch aircraft lights a hundred miles away. Very annoying since all the commercial flights show up, especially those flying over route 95,
which is a busy air traffic corridor. You really need to practice with NV outside the range so that you understand what you see when at the range.