I can’t believe it– three decent weekends in a row. Thanks to El Niño, we’re headed for record temperatures this weekend. I definitely needed to take advantage of these mild temperatures. So, I drove down to Valley Forge National Historic Park to do some portable operating. I had planned to operate from Mount Misery (aka Valley Forge Mountain) for a while but never got around to it.
Following some directions that my friend, Carter N3AO, gave me, I hiked up the Mount Misery Trail. Carter operated a QRP field contest there years ago and said it was a nice spot. I hiked in about a mile and branched off onto the Horse-Shoe Trail for another half-mile or so. Most of the other hikers seemed to be staying on the Mount Misery Trail. I figured the Horse-Shoe Trail would be more secluded. I was right. The only other person I saw was a Park Watch volunteer. She came by as I was trying to figure out where to hang my antenna. I’m sure she was wondering why I was standing there staring up into the trees.
My biggest challenge of the day was getting my antenna up in the trees. I continued to hike looking for something that resembled a clearing. The woods up there are dense and there is a lot of brush just waiting to snag my antenna wire. After about 20 minutes, I managed to get my LNR EFT-10/20/40 EFHW antenna up. I set up my trusty YouKits HB-1B and got on the air.
I called CQ on 20 meters and AF5BA answered from Arkansas. After that, I got a call from fellow QRP Polar Bear, WA8REI. Ken was also QRP portable, operating from his trailer in a deer camp in Michigan. Next up was VE1BA in Nova Scotia. John’s 5-watt signal was booming into Pennsylvania.
I moved down to 40 meters, but I didn’t hear a lot of activity. I tuned around and heard NM1I calling CQ from Massachusetts. I gave him a call and we had a nice chat.
I took a break to stretch my legs and take a few pictures before heading back to 20 meters. I worked the VE9CRM club station in New Brunswick. The operator was VE9BEL. Their club station was putting out a very strong signal.
I was getting ready to shut down when I heard KG0YR calling me from Missouri. Dave was running 1 watt and had a nice signal. On his heels was K4AKC from Alabama. Tom was running 5 watts. I hated to cut our QSO short, but I needed to pack up and hike back down the hill.
All in all, it was a productive 2 hours.
I did have one take away from today’s outing. I have been using 20 lb. test monofilament line with a 2-ounce lead sinker to get my antenna up. It works great, but the line becomes completely invisible in the woods. I need to get some high-visibility line and paint the sinker.
Across from Mount Misery is another mount named… Wait for it… Mount Joy! That’s on my list for a future outing.
73/72, Craig WB3GCK