Wellington State Park | Wind and Chilly

wellington state park newfound lake

We wanted to set up at this picnic table but the wind was blasting us from across the water. We decided to find a place farther from the beach that had protection from the cutting breeze that was one step below a gale. Copyright 2018 Tim Carter

Yesterday I set up at Wellington State Park on a gorgeous mid-October day in central New Hampshire. Wellington State Park is on the west shore of Newfound Lake. Local lore has it that this body of water has the cleanest and purest water of any lake in the state.

Joining me on the adventure was Dave Benson, K1SWL and my friend JT better known as Jim.

k1swl w1pid

Jim is on the left and Dave has his eyes closed to prevent sand from getting in his eyes. They’re both facing the stunning Newfound Lake. Note hands in pockets and Dave’s winter jacket, yet it’s the middle of October. Copyright 2018 Tim Carter

The sun was brilliant but it was offset by a stiff wind and temperatures that tried to claw their way to 50 F but never quite made it. New Hampshire had a hot and humid summer and the transition from heat to cold has been very rapid. All three of us complained about the wind that cut like a knife.

As we hunted for a spot to set up, I spied this giant carved woodpecker. I’m glad it’s not been vandalized. Copyright 2018 Tim Carter

Dave and I retreated to a picnic table nestled in some giant pine trees about 200 feet back from the beach. It had quite a bit of protection from the wind and had a splash of sunlight on it.

Here I am hard at work trying to find a strong signal from an operator calling CQ. Hunt and pounce is the only way to score contacts. Copyright 2018 Dave Benson

Jim decided to saunter back to the parking lot to soak up the generous solar radiation that was in full force. His location had even more protection from the biting chill.

Within minutes I was on the air with my Elecraft KX-2. I had put up my standard 29-foot vertical wire. The end of it was attached to a 9:1 unun. A 19-foot counterpoise wire extended from the unun across the carpet of pine needles. The counterpoise really helps get a perfect SWR match with the internal tuner inside the KX-2.

It took at least ten or fifteen minutes before Dave and I found Stefan, DK1HL in Germany on 20 meters at 14.021 Mhz. Both Dave and I successfully made contact.

Next up was Jamie, M0SDV in England. I was thrilled to have two contacts in the log because the propagation was not the greatest. We heard some stations, but they were weak or didn’t answer us back.

Finally, I heard our dear friend Bert Banlier, F6HKA. I answered his call and then handed the iambic micro pico paddles to Dave. Watch the video below to hear part of the conversation between Bert and Dave.

The chilly wind won the battle and we packed up to go find some hot coffee. It was great to get out but we left knowing we need to toughen up. Soon it will be below freezing and a foot of snow will be on the ground.

I was reminded of an old Swedish saying, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes.”

We need good clothes.

 

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