Canoeing on the Pemigewasset River

This afternoon Tim W3ATB and I went canoeing on the Pemi. It was a perfectly stunning day. I worked Brazil, Italy and France from a small island in the river.


We started out at Profile Falls, a little south of Bristol in my aluminum Grumman canoe. We had a little less than eight miles to go to reach our take-out at Shaw Cove in Sanbornton.


The sounds of red wing black birds clucking from the marshy shore filled the air as we rounded the bend near Hill Village. A pair of ducks took off as we approached and flew south several inches above the water. The old bridge abutment came into view soon after.


The bridge led from Sanbornton to Hill before it was torn down in the 1940s to make way for a flood control area. We started looking for a suitable place to operate. We needed trees, and a breezy place where the mosquitoes couldn’t feed on us. We found it on an island around the next turn in the river.

We pulled the canoe up to the shore and tied it to a log. After jumping out, I tossed a line over an arching maple branch and pulled up a half wave wire for 20 meters.


I sat down on a log, which no doubt landed on the island during spring flooding, and set up the KX3. We had left an hour late and were a bit rushed. At first the band seemed dead, but I found a few strong stations. The first one I called was PV8ADI in Brazil. There was a pileup, and I was surprised when he answered me. We exchanged 599s and I tuned around some more. Here’s my log:

1 Jun-14 2208 14.026 PV8ADI CW 599 599 Brazil
1 Jun-14 2215 14.017 F6FZG CW 579 599 France
1 Jun-14 2222 14.012 IZ4BEZ CW 599 599 Italy
1 Jun-14 2223 14.001 I8GMG CW 559 579 Italy


We clambered back into the canoe and headed downstream for the final leg. The saturated colors of the early evening were dazzling. We started looking for Shaw Cove. It’s just around the next bend, I would say… but it wasn’t.


We found it finally… honestly we were relieved and a bit sad at the same time. We were both long overdue at home… but it was an adventure that will stay with us for a lifetime.

Jim Cluett, W1PID, is a regular contributor to and writes from New Hampshire, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

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