Boschveldt Summer Camp 2020

A few of the Boschveldt QRP Club members descended upon Pine Grove Furnace State Park over the weekend for some camping, hiking, and radio. Although the weather was hot, we had a rain-free weekend and a good time hanging out with old friends.

Located in Cumberland County in south-central Pennsylvania, Pine Grove Furnace is a beautiful park with a wooded campground. For this trip, there were four of us occupying two campsites: Ed WA3WSJ, Glen NK1N, John NU3E, and me, WB3GCK. 

(L-R) WB3GCK, WA3WSJ, NK1N, and NU3E at Pine Grove Furnace State Park
(L-R) WB3GCK, WA3WSJ, NK1N, and NU3E at Pine Grove Furnace State Park

On Saturday, Ed, Glen, and John set out to hike the Pole Steeple Trail, a short but steep trail leading to a scenic overlook. NK1N was planning to operate in the CQ Worldwide VHF Contest as a Hilltopper station, and the others went for the view. Ron WA8YIH and his family also came out for the day to join them for the hike. 

I decided not to challenge my knees with the steep climb and opted to stay back at the campsite for a POTA activation. (Pine Grove Furnace is K-1398 for POTA and KFF-1398 for WWFF.) I set up my 19-foot vertical on the back of my truck and fired up my KX3 at 5 watts. 

WB3GCK set-up for a POTA/WWFF activation at Pine Grove Furnance State Park.
WB3GCK set-up for a POTA/WWFF activation at Pine Grove Furnance State Park.

Despite my low power, I managed to put 27 CW contacts in the log, including one park-to-park contact. At one point, I took a break from my activation to work NK1N on 6M SSB and 2M FM, along with NU3E on 2M FM. I was happy with the 30 contacts, given that this was a short, impromptu activation. Due to the lousy cell phone coverage in the campground, I was unable to spot myself. So, I’m grateful to the kind folks who stumbled upon my QRP signal and spotted me. 

NK1N operating in the CQ Worldwide VHF Contest from the Pole Steeple Trail. (Photo by NU3E)
NK1N operating in the CQ Worldwide VHF Contest from the Pole Steeple Trail. (Photo by NU3E)

Following the hike, the other guys stopped for well-deserved ice cream before returning to the campsite. Their tales of hiking the steep trail in the high heat confirmed that I was right in opting out. With my knee issues, that hike would have been risky for me. 

After breakfast on Sunday, we started packing up before the temperatures heated up again. On my two-hour drive home, I was able to talk to WA3WSJ and NU3E at various times on 2M, and that helped to make the drive seem shorter.

It was great hanging out with the Boschveldt crew again, but it’s also great to be back in air conditioning again.

72, Craig WB3GCK

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