My Most Recent QSO's

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Trip to the Mountains

I recently bought two new "dipoles" for 15 and 30 meters, so last Thursday, I drove into the mountains to set up and operate "outdoors" for a few hours. The bands are picking up and I hoped to work into Europe and maybe talk to my friends in England and the Netherlands on the 15 meter band.

There have been some "good" band openings on 15 meters and I listen to 30 meters occasionally and I like what I hear on this band. (it's limited to only CW and a maximum power of 200 watts)

I can get out of the valley and into a decent elevation in about an hours drive from here but my goal was the 4,000 ft "scenic highway" near Richwood, WV. I've been there many times and can usually drive to this place in about 2 hours.

I wanted to reach a "very nice" area about 10 miles across the highway but after reaching the 4 mile mark, to my astonishment, the road came to an abrupt end with about 2 feet of SNOW in the middle of the road. What a surprise! This highway isn't maintained during the winter months and there were many trees in the road which I had to swerve between to reach this spot which was a "trail head" with a small parking area on the side of the road at about 4,200 feet.

Not the "best" place to operate, but it's still above 4,000 ft, and I was lucky to find this parking lot and get my stuff set up. It was easy to get the 15 meter antenna into the trees, at about 20 feet, with the slingshot (only two good shots). I put up the table and a lawn chair and I was ready to operate.

Much to my dismay, 15 meters was NOT open and I only heard "one" German station, so I immediately dropped the antenna and stretched out the 30 meter dipole.

After listening to the band for a few minutes there were "many" stations and I heard VE9WW in New Brunswick Canada. Its well about Maine and Bill was VERY strong at almost 1,000 miles. We were both hearing each other well above the "599" level.

After a few minutes QSO, we signed off and I listened again to DL3AO in Germany as he worked another VERY strong station in Melbourne, Florida. I desperately tried to get his attention when the they ended their QSO but no luck.

I then sent out my CQ and was answered by a station in Sherbrooke, Canada. Also hearing each other at the 599 level, I recognized his call immediately. Pierre (VE2PID) and I have talked several times over the last few years.

Today he was using his QRP rig and a dipole at 5 watts. What a great day to work another QRP station!

Unfortunately, I needed to break down everything soon afterwards, and get ready for the long drive back into the valley. I'm looking forward to the next "field trip" and was impressed with the 30 meter band. I heard a LOT of activity on it while up there.

I'm looking forward to doing a LOT more of this as the weather improves.
This is why I use QRP equipment. It's portable and I can use it outdoors when I want to do a little traveling and also spend a nice day outdoors.


Dick said...

Nice going with your in-the-field operations. I was on 30 meters for a bit mid-afternoon and worked a fellow in Georgia who was camping out in one of the state parks. He was QRP with a home-brew Tx AND Rx. Dipole in the trees. I was using my OHR 30 meter rig. Can't beat a two-way QRP contact no matter how close or distant.

72/73 Dick

Jspiker said...

How true....those are my most enjoyable contacts! I REALLY liked the 30 meter band! and hope to operate on it more this spring and summer. I get a bigger kick out of fellow QRP operators than I do DX stations. And.....It's refreshing to hear NOTHING but code! I'm going to operate there "every chance" I get to spend a day outdoors.

goody said...

What a beautiful area and a nice spot to operate from! Your article makes me want to go on a field operating expedition.

Jspiker said...

Camping, biking and trout fishing is real good here. It's also a black bear sanctuary and there's some beaver.

Really a little too far for a days travel, you need to spend a few days to appreciate it.

GREAT place for radio!

Paul Stam PAØK said...

Hi John, it's good to be outside. I must do that myself more often. I decided to do that. I ordered a handie for 2 and 70. So when I go for a walk or go biking I take take it with me. Or the FT817 with my Miracle Whip at the beach. At the moment conditions are poor. But this weekend I have a lot of family and friends around. So no radio. Have a nice day, 73 Paul

Jim said...

Sounds like a great day!, Can't beat radio in the great outdoors. Be sure to post more of your outdoor adventures in the future.
Jim - W2KLM

KC8ZTJ said...

Nice blog site John. Hope to work you portable this summer. Have a Pac 12 coming and anxious to get on the air with it.

Unknown said...

Saw this trip in the latest NAQCC newsletter John. Looks like a great place.

72/73 Phil, K4NE

Jspiker said...

FB Phil...didn't realize it was there. The SNOW really surprised me. It's a long drive there for just a day but might do again before summer ends and the snow starts to drop again.