My Most Recent QSO's

Sunday, August 25, 2013

N4W Special Event Station

I always enjoy working special event stations. I found this one operating from an old "railroad caboose" in Burlington, NC. (N4W) I worked Randy on a 40 meter CW frequency.

The caboose (now a thing of the past) was always the last car in a long string of railroad cars and held the workers while they gathered and dropped  off "cars" along a long railroad route. In the world of today, the caboose has been eliminated and you see nothing but a "flashing light" on the last car of a long train.

Speaking of trains; West Virginia has an interesting train which is located at the Cass Scenic Railroad State Park  This old "Shay" steam locomotive climbs a very steep grade to the top of a mountain which is a little over 4,700 feet elevation.

Although not a good place to transmit because of the Green Bank Telescope (This area is part of a "quite zone" which shields the enormous radio telescope) in the valley below, it's a great place to "monitor" all kinds of other radio broadcasts, and it's a great place to watch the stars and listen to the sounds of nature.

And.....on top of the mountain, on a "side spur" towards the old logging town of Spruce; there's a railroad caboose ! Popular with campers and hikers, this railroad caboose is an interesting place to spend the night. It's rustic, but functional, and I can't think of many places which are better for star gazing and listening for long distance radio stations.


recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Those Shay loco's are amazing. I first learned of them when my son was into trains. We used to watch that old train show on RFD network. If I remember correctly out west on the really steep grades the engine had a round gear that meshed with a straight run of teeth attached to the track. Slow but would haul the heavy loads like a mule. Without the gear system the wheels would easily slip.

Jspiker said...

Hello Mike,

I can't remember anything like that on this steep grade up the mountain but they sure "pull like a mule".

In this part of the state, they were used primarily for logging.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

I did some searching and the Shay didn't run on a cog system. My mistake! But you're right the shays could haul an impressive load.

Here is a link to the wiki page describing the rack and pinion railway. The cog system was developed for grades in excess of 7% which was about the limit for regular traction engines.

Railroad history is great. I love the subject.

Jspiker said...

Hello Mike,

Yes...the railroads were (and still are to a large extent) an important part of history. They were essential to harvesting our natural resources. Thanks for the link to "rack and pinion". 72's