Canoeing on Hermit Lake
July 2013

Hermit Lake in Sanbornton, New Hampshire  Photo:W1JSB

Hanz and I went canoeing on Hermit Lake this morning. We made a QSO with NC while /mm
and then we stopped on an island and made a few more... it was all makeshift because I forgot
a tuner!

It was 85 degrees on Hermit Lake... hot and humid, but with a nice breeze. We set out about 10:30
with an FT-817, a bit of wire and hopes for a great adventure. That's when things started going wrong...

As I began to raise the 14 foot fiberglass pole, I broke off the tip and had to rethink my strategy
for attaching a wire. I knotted the wire around the tip and pretended everything was fine.
I reached for the tuner, only to discover I had left it behind in a last minute gear switch. I
thought the adventure was over... but recovered quickly. Oh well... who needs a
tuner? We'll just find the band with the lowest SWR and hope for the best.

A 14 foot pole is lashed to the canoe with a rubber band.

After putting up the antenna, I stuffed the wire into the center conductor
of the SO239 on the back of the rig. I didn't even use a counterpoise.
I turned the rig on 15 meters and there was K2J, the 13 Colonies Special
Event Station from North Carolina, calling CQ with an S9 signal. I called
him signing /MM. He came right back to me. Hanz and I grinned from ear to
ear. I told the operator I was on a lake in New Hampshire and thanks for the
contact! Then I realized I had forgotten to switch on the external battery.
I was running with 2 1/2 watts on the internal AAs with no tuner. And all that
with a few feet of wire wrapped around a 14 foot pole lashed to the canoe
with rubber bands... and no counterpoise. To make things worse, the bands
were clearly very poor. Geepers!

Hanz right after the first QSO

We floated around for a while but there wasn't a lot of activity. At one point
we heard KG4TO in Guantanamo Bay. He heard us and tried coming back to
the /MM, but he couldn't quite get our call. We headed for an island to get
out of the wind a bit.

Once there, we decided to land and set up a dipole cut to frequency. We grabbed
the gear, and headed up a short but steep hill. At the top was a clearing with some
tall trees. We heaved a wire over a branch and pulled up 33 feet of wire and laid a
counterpoise over the tops of some bushes, and listened around. 20 meters sounded
like the best bet. We had to shorten the wires a bit to lower the SWR, but quickly
made contact with Paul, KW7D in NM. Paul gave me a 579 and we were thrilled.
Hanz took the key.

Small island on Hermit Lake    Photo: W1JSB

Hanz worked K2G, the 13 Colonies station in Georgia. Tim gave us a 599.
We figured we'd beaten the odds of an outing with no tuner and called it

W1PID working New Mexico from Hermit Lake Island