A February Trip to the Cabin

February 16, 2011

Today Hanz and I skied up to the cabin at
Knox Mountain. It was warm, sunny and the
DX was great. We worked Amsterdam, Belfast,
Spain, St. Kitts, Hungary and the Slovak Rep.
Hanz made all his contacts using SSB with the
FT-817. I operated with the ATS-4 using CW.
We shared a 30 foot end-fed sloper.

The snow was several feet deep and the conditions
changed from one spot to the next. At one place
it was crusty and incredibly slick. At another it
was wet and sticky. We were apprehensive about
the trip back down because of the icy spots.

Deer tracks criss-crossed the trail at several places
near the brook. The deer were apparently headed
for the water.

Even though we've had nightly temperatures hovering
around zero for the last couple of weeks, the brook still
flowed beneath an intermittent covering of ice.

The porch at the cabin was unbelievably warm. While
the ambient temperature was about 40 degrees, on
the porch, with sunshine streaming across the pond, it
was a bit over 70 degrees. Hanz took off his down vest and

We threw the wire over a nearby branch and soon had an
antenna. We used the Elecraft T-1 tuner. Hanz took the
first turn and worked PG9W on his first try with SSB.
Wim was 59 and he gave Hanz a 53 in Amsterdam. We
were thrilled.

Hanz works Amsterdam with 5W SSB

I took the antenna and connected the ATS-4 running
3 watts. V47KP in St. Kitts was calling CQ. We exchanged
quick reports and I switched to 20 meters. First I worked
HA9RT in Hungary and then OM3DX in the Slovak
Rep. Michal gave me a 599. When I told him I was
QRP with 3 watts, he sent, " HI good sigs for 3W. HR
KW and 6 element yagi."

W1PID works OM3DX in Slovak Rep

I gave the antenna back to Hanz and he made three more
QSOs on 15M with SSB and 5W. I was amazed. First EA7ISH
gave Hanz a 57. Then Simon, MI0SAI, gave him a 57 in Belfast.
When Hanz told him he was QRP, Simon asked about the antenna.
He laughed when Hanz told him it was a 30 foot wire. "Well,
it's doing the job for you, Hanz. You're 57 to 58 here in Belfast."
Before packing up Hanz worked another Belfast station... GI4FUM.
David gave him a 57 again and congratulated Hanz on the signal.

Thoroughly excited by our DX contacts, we packed up, put on our
skis and headed warily back down the trail. We were pleasantly
surprised to find the warmth had changed the snow conditions in
our favor during the last hour. While we feared careening out of
control on some of the steep turns in the trail, we made out just
fine, enjoying a quick ski back to the trailhead.

The warm weather gives us hope for the coming weeks.
Winter's not over, but perhaps the bite has gone out of it
and we can enjoy some more outings before the ground
is bare.