Helicopter in Hill and QSO with Russia

This afternoon I rode my bicycle to Old Hill Village on the
Pemigewasset River. Just as I was about to call an Italian station,
a Black Hawk Helicopter landed in the field in front of me.

I wasn’t really surprised… the National Guard from Concord flies training missions along the river. It’s a wonderful, isolated place… not just for nature-loving radio ops, but for helicopter training maneuvers as well.

So I put down the key, and walked out into the field as the helicopter was about to take off again. They had left an airman on the ground.

I walked over to see what was going on. “You want me out of here?” I asked the airman. “No, you’re fine,” he replied. He explained that the helicopter was going to circle the area, drop a rescue litter and then circle again and haul the litter aboard. They were practicing rescue operations. The airman is a medic, and his team is leaving for Afghanistan at the end of the month. I thanked him, wished him godspeed in Afghanistan, and walked off the field to watch the practice session.

Soon the helicopter returned and dropped a line to the airman who guided the litter to the ground.  Afterwards, they hauled both the litter and airman back aboard. Soon I could hear them repeating the drill in a field on the other side of the river.

I returned to my setup at the edge of the field. I was running the little Chinese HB-1B on 20 meters with a half-wave vertical wire. As soon as I sat back down, I heard R1NA calling CQ. Alex was pretty strong and answered my call. He gave me a 449 and copied all of my information. He was north of St. Petersburg, not far from the Finnish border… about 4,000 miles from Old Hill Village.

After the QSO, I packed up and started back to the car. It was a glorious afternoon in Hill. The day was balmy, early fall flowers were in bloom, and I was exhilarated to be in the outdoors once again.

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

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