N4W Special Event Station

I always enjoy working special event stations. I found this one operating from an old “railroad caboose” in Burlington, NC. (N4W) I worked Randy on a 40 meter CW frequency.

The caboose (now a thing of the past) was always the last car in a long string of railroad cars and held the workers while they gathered and dropped  off “cars” along a long railroad route. In the world of today, the caboose has been eliminated and you see nothing but a “flashing light” on the last car of a long train.

Speaking of trains; West Virginia has an interesting train which is located at the Cass Scenic Railroad State Park  This old “Shay” steam locomotive climbs a very steep grade to the top of a mountain which is a little over 4,700 feet elevation.

Although not a good place to transmit because of the Green Bank Telescope (This area is part of a “quite zone” which shields the enormous radio telescope) in the valley below, it’s a great place to “monitor” all kinds of other radio broadcasts, and it’s a great place to watch the stars and listen to the sounds of nature.

And…..on top of the mountain, on a “side spur” towards the old logging town of Spruce; there’s a railroad caboose ! Popular with campers and hikers, this railroad caboose is an interesting place to spend the night. It’s rustic, but functional, and I can’t think of many places which are better for star gazing and listening for long distance radio stations.

John Smithson, Jr., N8ZYA, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from West Virginia, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

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