Saint Gaudens NPOTA SSB Activation

Yesterday Dave Benson – K1SWL, Jim Cluett – W1PID, and myself traveled once again to the peaceful Saint Gaudens National Historic Site. We were there just over a month ago when the harsh New Hampshire winter was interrupted by a warmer day. CLICK HERE to read about that adventure.

The large white house on the right is where the sculptor lived. We operated in the parking lot about 300 feet to the right of the house. Photo credit: Tim Carter - W3ATB

The large white house on the right is where the sculptor lived. We operated in the parking lot about 300 feet to the right of the house. Photo credit: Tim Carter – W3ATB

Typically it would be 41-43 F in early March here in this part of the Northeast. It’s not uncommon for 2 feet of snow to be on the ground. Yesterday there were just small patches of snow, mostly in places where it had been plowed into piles or shaded from the increasingly intense rays of the sun. Believe it or not, the temperature climbed to 70 F by mid-afternoon.

We decided to work 20 meters and do phone or single sideband. Our last time we did CW and it was thought it would be nice to give the phone, or voice, operators a chance to score a relatively rare location on the NPOTA list of activation sites.

Dave registered us on the NPOTA page telling the world we’d be there operating between 16:00 – 18:00 UTC. We decided it was best to use his call sign so as to not cause confusion.

We used Dave’s 1/4-wave antenna made with a Buddipole collapsable whip attached to the end of a fiberglass painter’s pole with two dandy bare copper radials sloping down at a 45-degree angle. The tip of the antenna was a good 27 feet up in the air and it worked well. We were able to log chasers all across the USA and into Europe. All told we had 92 QSOs, almost all of them SSB.

About two weeks before this activation I had taken delivery of a very nice 12-volt 15 amp-hour lithium iron phosphate battery from BioennoPower.com. It’s very light and we wanted to see if it would power Dave’s ICOM 706 100-watt radio. We only transmitted at 25 watts and the battery did a magnificent job for the one hour and fifteen minutes of hard work.

Here's the great Bioenno battery and Dave's IC-706. CLICK the image to BUY Bioenno batteries.

Here’s the great Bioenno battery and Dave’s IC-706. CLICK the image to BUY Bioenno batteries.

Dave was on the air first and being a pro he marched right through the pileup we knew would happen once Jim spotted us. Dave’s been an operator for decades and it shows.

I didn’t operate the last time we were out and I’ve done very little HF phone work so far in my amateur radio career. This would be a first for me.

The chasers calling us were very patient and I only stumbled from time to time using Dave’s call sign instead of mine. I can tell you it’s very important to have a good logger with you and as the control operator, you should be writing down the call signs of those stations you’re working. That helps you confirm the chasers’ call signs.

Left to right: Jim Cluett - W1PID, Dave Benson - K1SWL and Tim Carter - W3ATB Photo credit: Canon S-95 on flat sign post with 10-second timer

Left to right: Jim Cluett – W1PID, Dave Benson – K1SWL and Tim Carter – W3ATB Photo credit: Canon S-95 on flat sign post with 10-second timer

Many chasers are taking this event seriously and within 18 hours of Dave posting our log on Logbook of the World (LOTW) we already had 62 chasers confirm QSOs. That’s remarkable!

I like to add a little spice to conversations and at the end of one of the short QSOs with a man who lived in southwest Indiana, I said, “Thanks and  keep growing corn for us!”

Jim got an odd look on his face and said, “Corn?”. It became the joke of the day. Corn was on my mind as it was the topic of discussion as Jim and I drove to the Saint Gaudens site. We were wondering about imitation and real kettle corn. I’m tasked today with trying to discover the first use of the phrase kettle corn.

That’s what these outings are all about. They’re supposed to be adventures, they’re supposed to be filled with laughter and they’re supposed to be relaxed.

We scored on all three yesterday. Realize we can still get snow here in New Hampshire this time of year, but with it being March already it’s just an annoyance as the sun will send it back to the ocean in no time. The warming rays of the spring sun are much anticipated here in New England and believe me we soaked them up.

We’ll be activating more sites here in New England as the year progresses, but any in Massachusetts will be sans Jim. He doesn’t like going south, unless of course you want to go north to Maine.

Yes, that’s another inside joke and nice-to-know information, not need-to-know. There’s nothing more to see here, so kindly move along.

3 thoughts on “Saint Gaudens NPOTA SSB Activation

  1. Corn huh? I can just picture “PID’s” face 🙂 it reminds me of when I decided to be “friendly” early on in a contest and decided to sign TU 73 GL de K1QO to everyone who called me. N1IX heard me on the air and sent me a message to “Ditch the 73 GL everyone just wants the contact and wants to move on” 🙂 Congrats Tim for getting on the air and making some NPOTA q’s! Sounds like a nice time out!!!

    • It was a great day. Are you ready to do the Lampray River site down near you?

      We’ve got experience now and it could be a fun day if the WX cooperates. I think I could get the other two amigos to show up and the four of us could work for two, maybe three, hours. Let me know.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *