Cannon Mountain and The Flume
August 2014

Today Tim W3ATB, Dick N1LT and I went up Cannon Mtn and then
to the Flume in Franconia Notch, New Hampshire. We had a great time
hiking and operating QRP.

We took the Aerial Tramway up the mountain. At the bottom it was sunny and warm. But we
could see clouds at the top. Midway the wind was gusting to 25 MPH and the tram was swinging
in the wind.

At the top (4100 feet) we knew we'd need some cover from the wind. The wind-chill was barely over
40F. We headed down the side of one slope hoping to find protection from some thick evergreen trees.
Tim and I tossed wires into the trees. They were only up 15 feet or so. My antenna was pretty marginal
by any measure. I set up the KX3 and tuned around 20 meters. Pretty poor conditions, but an Irish station
seemed strong enough to make a QSO. Doug EI2CN answered my call and gave me a quick 599. I doubt
that I was that strong, but he copied the exchange. I was really glad to make a contact under these

Dick N1LT is in the foreground. I'm sitting on a ledge and working EI2CN

I had promised my friend Carter N3AO I'd call him on the cell phone and
see if we could make a QSO. We settled on 30 meters and could hear each
other well enough for a quick exchange. Carter gave me a 459! He was running
5 watts and was 449... 2-way QRP!

Here's the view from my operating position.

After a couple of contacts we hiked around toward the south of the mountain
and had lunch. I turned on the D-Star handie and right away worked DK8QU
Rudy in Germany. He was mobile, but sounded like he was right on the
mountain sitting next to us.

Tim W3ATB on the trail to the observation tower.

After lunch we hiked over to the observation tower and headed back to the
tramway and down the mountain. I thought we were going home, but as
we dropped into the Notch, Dick said, "Why don't we hike up to the Flume."
The Flume is a beautiful gorge and waterfall which forms the headwaters
of the Pemigewasset River. The scenery there is spectacular. We quickly

Dick N1LT (left) Jim W1PID (right) photo: W3ATB

My hiking companions were making jokes about my bringing radio gear
along on the walk to the Flume. The gorge is surrounded by high mountains
in all directions except for a narrow window to the south. Given the band
conditions, the chances of making any QSOs were slim to none. So we enjoyed
the unusual geology, the beautiful falls and lush vegetation. But I kept looking
for an out-of-the-way place for an antenna.

At the highest point in the hike I found a little side trail and coerced the others into
following me. I tossed my wire over a maple branch and set up a sloper.

I tuned around 20 meters and quickly found KR0M from Kansas calling CQ! Coop only gave
me a 359, but he copied my name and QTH.  I was pretty pleased about making the contact.
Before packing up, I switched to 30 meters and heard Chuck KJ4RV in North Carolina
calling. I sure was surprised when I found out his 589 signal came from a K1 running only
5 watts. Another 2-way QRP QSO. Chuck gave me a 589 also and told me he was in the woods
operating from a picnic table. I promised to send him some photos of our hike and signed.

We packed up and hiked back to the parking lot. We had a fantastic time.