Profile Falls in the Rain and Snow

“This could go on record as the worst day of the year to operate. I used to do this on my own years ago just to see if I could operate in bad weather. I’m only out here today because you’re here,” proclaimed Jim Cluett, W1PID.

It was a raw day indeed here in central New Hampshire with a steady rain and the temperature hovering around 35 F. I worked outdoors for years as a homebuilder and have to tell you that days like this one simply chill you to the bone more so than single-digit days. Mother Nature would not disappoint us.

We decided to go to Profile Falls just south of Bristol, NH to operate. It’s a delightful place and especially busy spring, summer and fall. But today Jim and I would be the only ones brave, or foolish, enough to venture to this outdoor playground.

You can see the whitewater in the image. That's the stunning Profile Falls. Just to the right you'll see two parking areas carved from the forest. We parked in the one closest to the falls. Image credit: Google Maps

You can see the whitewater in the image. That’s the stunning Profile Falls. Just to the right you’ll see two parking areas carved from the forest. We parked in the one closest to the falls. Image credit: Google Maps

“I’d love it if we could find a place with a shelter and picnic tables under it. There were many public parks like that in Cincinnati, OH where I grew up. One in particular was close to my home. There was a grand stone and wood picnic shelter in French Park that even had a huge fireplace. Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could have a fire going today,” I said to Jim as we drove in the rain.

“Well, I don’t think we’ll find anything like that and we’ll have to operate in the car,” Jim said.

Within a few minutes we were turning off Route 3A onto a gravel road that leads down to the massive park area that’s managed by the US Corps of Engineers. Profile Falls is at the north end of a huge flood-control project that tries to tame Mother Nature’s water in the Pemigewasset River as it flows south towards the big New Hampshire population centers of Concord and Manchester.

“Look! There’s a shelter!”

Here's Jim inside the shelter. The only thing missing was a nice fireplace! Photo credit: Tim Carter - W3ATB

Here’s Jim inside the shelter. The only thing missing was a nice fireplace! Photo credit: Tim Carter – W3ATB

I spied one as we came down the park road just west of the parking areas at Profile Falls. It was exactly what I envisioned and would provide a nice dry spot to operate from on the spacious picnic tables.

It didn’t take long to set up. Jim threw his water bottle up into a tree branch on the first try. It was a perfect throw and we had plenty of altitude to put up his resonant 20M dipole antenna. We set it up as a sloper with the other end tied to the water bottle in the snow.

Jim got on the air first with his Small Wonder Labs DSW rig putting out a stout 2 watts. Within a minute he had snagged Ben, DL5ANT in Germany. Jim got a 569 and Ben was into us with a booming 599.

Here's Jim doing his QSO with Ben, DL5ANT. Photo credit: Tim Carter - W3ATB

Here’s Jim doing his QSO with Ben, DL5ANT. Photo credit: Tim Carter – W3ATB

I was next up because Jim had said he only wanted to do one QSO.

I plugged in the antenna to my HB-1B and immediately heard G3VBS coming in from England! He was right there on 14.058, the frequency I was on when I last used the HB-1B.

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I’m pretty happy making a DX contact seconds after turning on the radio. Sometimes the band is deader than a doornail. Photo credit: Jim Cluett – W1PID

I had some trouble hearing him, but it was all me and my inexperience. I still have a long way to go on my CW journey. I did hear my RST at 549 and I gave him a well-deserved 599 as his signal was strong.

We packed up as soon as I finished up and headed for a warm cup of coffee.

If you want to add some additional flesh to this skeleton story, watch this video of our adventure!

 

One thought on “Profile Falls in the Rain and Snow

  1. Pingback: FYOB Ham Radio Freeze Your Butt Off 2015 NH | W3ATB

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