DX from the Old Range Road

Today I hiked on the old east-west range road in Sanbornton. The fall colors were fantastic and so was the DX. I worked Dominica, Germany, Czech Rep., and a research ship off the coast of Africa.

The day was glorious… a tad over 60F with clear blue skies. The hike was less than a mile, but the views and the fall colors were grand. I stopped in a field on the Swain Farm, a little north of Hunkins Pond. I tossed my line into a huge maple tree. In the spring, it’s tapped for maple syrup. Today, it provided glorious color and a great antenna support.

Even though my throw went nearly 50 feet high… I only needed 22 feet. I set up on 15 meters with the ATS-4 and used a half wave wire. I powered the setup with 8AA batteries that I solar charged this morning.

The band was remarkable. Very quiet with a handful of very strong signals. My first contact was with Volker, J79WE in Dominica. He gave me a 549 and we finished a quick exchange easily. Next I answered a CQ from CM8CAD in Cuba. Carl gave me a 559.  I sat right in the grass under the tree and enjoyed a view of the Belknap range to the south.

My third QSO was with Hardy, DL1VDL in Dresden. He gave me a 579. Hardy reminded me that we had worked before. Checking my log, I noted that I had worked him in 2008 from the cabin at Knox Mountain! “UR FB 4W is great,” he sent. “Have fun hiking.” With that we signed and I packed up to continue the hike. I went east over the side of the hill, and set up once again. This time on 20 meters.

I sat down in a second field after throwing a 33 foot wire over another maple branch. This time I looked across the high field into a glade below. Mt. Rowe is in the background. I called CQ on 14.060 and received a quick reply from Jan, OK2BUT in the Czech Rep. Jan gave me a 569 and sent “FB sig from UR 4W.” He was running 100 watts with a 3 element yagi. I dropped down to 14.017 and was just in time to hear the end of a QSO. I called GM0HCQ/MM and Mike returned my call. He gave his QTH as 28N – 20W.  Mike was on the Royal Research Ship James Clark Ross near Gomera Island off the north east coast of Africa. Here’s a picture of the ship at anchor in the Antarctic:

You can find out more about the ship and Mike’s station at: http://gm0hcq.com

After this QSO I packed up and walked out of the field onto the old range road. The sun was falling rapidly and illuminated the trees as I headed west.

These glorious fall days are numbered, with November just around the corner. The forecast for tomorrow is rain.

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

One Response to “DX from the Old Range Road”

  • Richard KWØU:

    Nice job working these stations, Jim. When having a QSO with an op I haven’t met before it’s fun to describe the area around my home, which is on a hill near the Mississippi River. Minnesota isn’t rare but when talking to kids in the School Club Roundup or a DXer who has never been here it’s fun to paint a verbal picture of the area. (At the least it shows there’s a lot more here than snow.) But your colorful shots are better.

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