Author Archive

Magic on the Pemigewasset River

It’s all magic. The perfect sunny day. The sparkling river. The trail. The QRP contacts with Manitoba and Pennsylvania.

I took a bike ride this afternoon up the old road along the Pemigewasset River. There’s a gate at the entrance to keep out cars and trucks… only horses, bicycles and walkers allowed.

I throw a water bottle over the branch of a huge pine tree and pull up a 30 foot wire. I sit down along the edge of the trail and hook up the KX3. The bands are pretty poor and I start out on 40 meters. Ron N4PGJ is calling CQ and I answer. We’ve worked a dozen times before and we chat for a few minutes.

Then I switch to 20 meters. Don VE4ESE is calling CQ from Manitoba. He’s strong to me and he gives me a 559. I tell him it’s a beautiful sunny day and I’m sitting by the river. He tells me he’s running an old TS-520 from 1975. He’s changed the finals only once since then. We sign and I take another snap shot downstream. It’s amazing.

The most beautiful place in the world. A gorgeous day, and a couple of quick contacts with the portable setup. It’s all magic. I ride back to the car with a big smile on my face.

A Day at the Beach (DX and 13 Colonies Event)

Judy and I went to the beach today. Holy cow! It was so perfect… 85F and sunny. The propagation was pretty good too. I worked Colombia, a bunch of the 13 Colonies Special Event stations and had a great QSO with Jim N3JT.

While Judy was swimming, I set up at a bench overlooking Rye Harbor. I used the KX3 and a 33 foot mast with a half wave wire, strapped to the bench.

I used a 9:1 unun between the rig and the wire. It tuned perfectly
on both 20 and 40 meters.

Right away after tuning up on 20 meters, I heard Frank HK1/DL5PV calling CQ. I was surprised that he was so strong. We completed the exchange easily. Then I worked five of the 13 Colonies stations. They were all very strong and I received quick replies.

From the bench I could gaze out at the expanse of the ocean beyond the harbor entrance. In the foreground was a hedge of wild roses (Rosa Rugosa).

The fragrance of the roses enveloped the whole area.

I operated about a half an hour. Here’s my log:

2 Jul-19 1940 14.008 HK1/DL5PV CW 599 599 Colombia
2 Jul-19 1944 14.039 K2L CW 599 599 SC
2 Jul-19 1952 14.023 K2B CW 599 599 VA
2 Jul-19 1958 7028 K2M CW 599 599 PA
2 Jul-19 2000 7034 K2H CW 599 599 MA
2 Jul-19 2010 14.031 K2F CW 599 599 MD
2 Jul-19 2011 14.028 N3JT CW 599 599 VA

Certainly the most fun QSO was the last. Jim N3JT was operating from Virginia with 15W. We had a great path. At one point Jim turned on the amp and ran a KW. His signal jumped several S units. But it still sounded great when he returned to low power. After a few minutes the QSB hit us and we signed.

While I was still at the beach, I received a nice email from Jim.

“Fun QSO for as long as it lasted, Jim! You were honestly S9 at the very beginning, then settled to about S7. But at the end your signal went into the noise.”

No matter. It was a perfect day for an adventure at the beach…. and a perfect spot to play radio for a while.

Canada Day Contest at the Pemigewasset

Judy and I rode our bikes down to the Pemi today. It was an incredible summer day… perfect. I operated the Canada Day contest and made a dozen nice QSOs including Panama.

We headed north along the old road and stopped at a bend in the river about a mile upstream. A nice breeze kept the mosquitoes at bay. The edge of the road was strewn with wildflowers. Here’s a yarrow plant that grew next to me as I operated.

The river was unusually full from recent rains.

I tossed a 30 foot wire over a pine branch and sat down at the edge of the road. I set up the KX3 and operated exclusively on 20 meters.

The band was surprisingly good given the recent conditions. There was a lot of activity in the Canada Day contest. Here’s my log. I only operated for 15 minutes:

1 Jul-19 2042 14.019 VE1AYY CW 599 599 NS
1 Jul-19 2044 14.024 W7F CW 599 599 AZ
1 Jul-19 0247 14.029 VE3CX CW 599 599 Ont
1 Jul-19 2048 14.037 K8JQ CW 599 599 WV
1 Jul-19 2050 14.038 N8AA CW 599 599 OH
1 Jul-19 2051 14.041 W4PM CW 599 599 VA
1 Jul-19 2052 14.049 WA0MHJ CW 599 599 MN
1 Jul-19 2054 14.043 K2J CW 599 599 NC
1 Jul-19 2055 14.034 VE5MX CW 599 599 SK
1 Jul-19 2057 14.021 K3KU CW 599 599 MD
1 Jul-19 2058 14.014 HP3SS W 599 599 Panama

K2J wasn’t in the contest. This is a designated station in the 13 colonies event.

It’s hard to believe it’s already July. Tomorrow Judy and I are heading to the seashore. I’ll bring the rig.

QRP from the Lifeguard’s Chair

Tim W3ATB and I went to Ellacoya State Park in Gilford New Hampshire today. He did a Parks on the Air activation… I sat in the lifeguard’s chair and worked France!

The beach is on Lake Winnipesaukee with a gorgeous, expansive view of the surrounding mountains. I saw this lifeguard’s chair and I couldn’t resist. It was under a huge pine tree. So while Tim was 30 yards away working stations for his POTA activation, I heaved a line into a pine tree above the orange high seat.

As soon as I turned on the KX3, I heard Bert F6HKA in France finishing up a QSO. What a hoot! He came back and gave me a 549. I was thrilled.

I called over to Tim and he worked Bert right after I did. I dismantled my station and went over to Tim’s picnic table to help out if I could. We had a lovely picnic lunch at the park and Tim made his ten contacts for the POTA activation.

P.S. Thanks to Tim for the great photos. His account of the outing is here:
https://w3atb.com/ellacoya-state-park-pota-activation-k-2651/

February at Potter Place

Dave K1SWL, Tim W3ATB and I met for lunch and then went to operate at the old rail station in Potter Place. I worked 8 stations including Belgium, Portugal, Spain and France.

I set up the KX3 under the eaves of the station on an old luggage box. I tossed my antenna line over the semaphore signals attached to the station. (See the last photo.) The place was covered with snow, and it was 43F.

I started off working Joe W1FYL at a campsite in Kissimmee, Florida. We had a nice chat then I tuned down the band. The DX was surprising. Here’s my log:

15 Feb-18 1818 14.043 W1FYL CW 599 599 FL
15 Feb-18 1859 14.008 ON4UN CW 579 599 Belgium
15 Feb-18 1902 14.010 CS0RCL CW 599 599 Portugal
15 Feb-18 1903 14.012 EA8URT CW 599 599 Spain
15 Feb-18 1905 14.022 EA5KV CW 599 599 Spain
15 Feb-18 1914 10.112 F5NTV CW 599 599 France
15 Feb-18 1915 10.116 N2CX CW 579 559 NJ

Meanwhile Tim had tangled his line in a maple tree above the picnic table across from the station. His water bottle dangled from a branch just out of our reach. It was a three stooges movie in progress as we struggled to retrieve the bottle. We borrowed a garbage can from the station and turned it upside down. Dave had a shovel in the back of his truck and Tim (standing on the upside-down garbage can) managed to snag the errant bottle with the shovel. But not before previous efforts failed with me sitting on his shoulders. (Fortunately not captured on camera.)

Tim and Dave worked half a dozen stations including Joe N2CX who was at Fort Mott in New Jersey doing a park activation.

DX from Rye Beach (QRP)

Judy and I drove over to the beach today to escape the heat. It was almost 90F here. I worked Italy, Finland, Hungary, Cuba and California from the shore.

What a fantastic day… and the drive paid off. It was nearly 10 degrees cooler at the beach with a nice breeze. We had lunch, rode our bikes and then Judy took a swim… while I set up the KX3 and a 30 foot wire.

I extended a DK9SQ 33 foot mast and attached the wire to the tip. Then I rised the mast and tied it to corner of a bench overlooking the harbor. Voila… I had a station. 17 meters was excellent from the beach, and I made 4 of my 6 contacts there. Here’s my log:

25 Sep-17 1920 18.076 CO8LY CW 599 599 Cuba
25 Sep-17 1922 18.082 IK3VUT CW 559 599 Italy
25 Sep-17 1928 18.085 IK5ZWU CW 559 599 Italy
25 Sep-17 1940 14.034 OH6NVC CW 559 579 Finland
25 Sep-17 1945 14.025 HA8VV CW 589 589 Hungary
25 Sep-17 1950 18.080 N6UOE CW 579 599 CA

Before heading home, we decided to take another bike ride. We went to a little laneway on the other side of the harbor. I got a snapshot of my operating position from there.

Early Fall Along the Pemigewasset River

Judy and I rode our bikes along the Pemigewasset River today. It was a beautiful, beautiful day. I worked Bulgaria, Italy, Switzerland, and Hungary.

We rode south from Old Hill and stopped at the old bridge to Sanbornton. It was nearly 80F with an unbelievable stillness in the air. Brown, curled-up leaves covered parts of the old road and crunched beneath our bike wheels. The apple trees along the way have begun dropping fruit. Judy stopped to pick up some apples. The road was lined with asters.

I stopped at a huge pine tree a couple of miles down the road. I tossed my wire nearly 40 feet over a branch and sat on some moss. I used the KX3 and a 33 foot wire.

The bands were good. I worked eight stations. Here’s my log:

23 Sep-17 1935 14.014 LZ100SK CW 599 599 Bulgaria
23 Sep-17 1943 18.086 IK5ZWU CW 439 579 Italy
23 Sep-17 1947 14.019 HB0/DL5YL CW 559 589 Switzerland
23 Sep-17 1950 14.028 HA60KNA CW 579 599 Hungary
23 Sep-17 1955 14.030 W5FMH CW 599 599 TX
23 Sep-17 1957 14.032 VE4RAC CW 599 599 MB
23 Sep-17 2002 10.117 W8IX CW 549 599 IND

Today was a perfect day for getting outside and making a few radio contacts. At this time of year, I can count the days like this on one hand. I wish they would never end.


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  • Matt W1MST, Managing Editor