DX from Old Hill Village

This afternoon I rode my bicycle to Old Hill Village and worked Cuba, Ukraine, Spain, Belgium and Denmark. It was a fantastic afternoon.

I took the trail south from Needle Shop Brook. It was glorious. The road winds through fields and old farm land. One section close to the river is lined with helianthus flowers.


Hill Village lies on the opposite side of the Pemigewasset River from Sanbornton. The old road runs along the river from Franklin, through Hill Village to Bristol. The road has been closed since the 1940s when the area was abandoned to create a flood control area for the Franklin Falls Dam. It’s a perfect spot for a bike ride.

Today was crystal clear with a good breeze. It was nearly 75F… one of those summer days when kids swing from ropes and do somersaults into the river. After peddling more than two miles, I set up under an old butternut tree across from a field of goldenrod.


I tossed a line 40 feet into the tree and pulled up 30 feet of wire. I sat down in the grass and tuned the Elecraft KX3 on 17 meters. I used a 9:1 unun from the Emergency ARC in Honolulu. I was running five watts.


I only operated for a half an hour. But there were plenty of strong stations
on 17M that heard my weak signal. I had no trouble working into Europe.
Rather than detailing each QSO, here’s a copy of my log:

30 Jul-13 1934 18.078 CO8LY CW 599 599 Cuba
30 Jul-13 1936 18.077 UT7UJ CW 599 599 Ukraine
30 Jul-13 1940 18.085 EA7AJR CW 559 599 Spain
30 Jul-13 1942 18.087 ON7PQ CW 339 579 Belgium
30 Jul-13 1955 18.090 OO8ZL CW 599 599 Belgium
30 Jul-13 2000 18.074 OZ2TF CW 559 599 Denmark


The view from my operating position was refreshing. Ironically, I had more trouble taking down the antenna than I had putting it up. In fact, I left a spool of wire stuck fast in a branch high in the tree. A knot in my line got stuck in a tight spot and wouldn’t come loose. When I tugged hard on the line, it snapped and left the spool of wire high above the road.

Returning to Needle Shop Brook was a treat. I didn’t just ride the bike back, I soared, seemingly several feet above the road. The fragrance of the summer air caressed my whole being and my eyes absorbed the richness of the wild growth along the riverside. I thoroughly enjoy these outings.

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

2 Responses to “DX from Old Hill Village”

  • Mike VE3WDM:

    Good morning Jim, once again very nice shots of the day….seeing the goldenrod got my allergies going…HI….The end of your post brought to light a question that has been in the back of my mind. I have read over and over again of how op’s toss, slingshot and so on long wire antennas into trees. I had never until now read of how hard at times it is to get down! I have often wondered if I was to toss a wire into a tree it would end up staying there and either loosing the support rope of the antenna. Is there a secret to not getting either the support rope or even worse the antenna from not getting hung up and having to leave it behind?

  • Hi Mike – rarely any trouble. I’ve been using this wire for at least ten years. I had a knot in the support line. It just caught on something. No secrets… use a smooth support line. Trees make great antenna supports! Simplest, lightest portable supports. Easy up, easy down, no carry. vy best, Jim

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