“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.
“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!”
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.
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.
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!