This afternoon my family and I hiked up to the cabin at Knox Mountain. I worked Jamaica, a container ship in the Atlantic Ocean, the Czech Republic and England. It was a perfect, crisp late summer day.
Sunlight filtered through a canopy of green. The air was filled with the sound of crickets mingled with the song of the brook that flows alongside the trail. Mushrooms of every variety and color lined the trail.
The cabin and the pond are about a mile and a half from the trail-head. The place is dazzling at first sight.
While my wife and daughter lay down on the grass to sun and read, I set up a rig under the cherry tree alongside the pond. I used the Chinese HB-1B on 20 meters with a half-wave vertical wire over a branch. The band was active with lots of strong stations.
Right away I called Josh 6Y5WJ in Jamaica after he finished a QSO. We have worked many times before and exchanged greetings and quick 599 reports. Then I went up the band to the QRP frequency and heard Oleg UR5FA/MM calling CQ. He works on a huge container ship and gave his current position in the Atlantic Ocean. He was a 569 and I was only 449. Oleg was running 5 watts to a small loop. He was clearly happy to have made a 2-way QRP contact. So was I!
The little HB-1B is a fine rig. I think it runs about 4 watts with the lithium pack. Dropping down below 14.025 again, I worked two Czech stations in a row. First, Vasek OK1DN gave me a 559 and sent, “UR QRP 4W doing a nice job.” Then I worked OK3AA just a few kHz away. Milan also gave me a 559. I’d been sweeping past 14.021 for quite a while trying to catch Tom G3HGE in England. He was working lots of DX and I was hoping for the chance to call him. Finally, the opportunity came and we chatted for more than 10 minutes. Tom and I have had many QSOs in the past and recognize each other’s call without any logbook lookups. Tom gave me a 579 before signing off.
We headed back down the trail after a bit more than an hour. It’s hard to find a nicer way to spend an afternoon than a hike to Knox Mountain.