Camping on Moon Island

June, 2008

by Jim Cluett, W1PID

It's been a year since Bill, AB1AV, and I canoed out to
Moon Island on Squam Lake. We had such a fantastic
time (, we
decided to go again. This time it would be an overnight
with plenty of time to operate.

Again we brought Bill's beautiful homemade canoe and
left from the Squam Lakes Assoiciation launching area
in Piper Cove. The day was perfect, though a bit windy.
There were no clouds and temperatures were in the
low 80s.

In the protected bay, the water was smooth. But
once out on the lake, it was a different story. A stiff
Northwest breeze brought small whitecaps to
the lake and made paddling a challenge.

The trip took us slightly more than an hour. The winds
gusted to nearly 20 MPH and water spashed into the canoe
more than a few times. We arrived shortly before
noon and had a quick lunch before putting up antennas.

I used a 33 foot vertical tuned with the little Par Electronics
end-fedz matchbox. Bill put up an 88 foot speaker-wire dipole.
We both used our ATS3 rigs by KD1JV. Bill has a touch-keyer
mounted right on the Altoids tin. He looks like a piano maestro
with his fingers dancing on the rig.

Shortly after setting up, Bill worked VE3VJC near Toronto
on 20 meters. "He says I'm pounding in," Bill called over
to me. Bill then switched to 40 meters and made contacts
with KI4XH in VA and  W9JOB in VA.

The bands were distinctly quiet, but I made several
stateside contacts on 20 meters. First I worked N5XM
in Arkansas. Rick was a 579 and gave me a 569. As soon
as I finished the QSO, W4DF called from VA. "Amazing
QRP sig," Fred sent. "UR 4 watts doing real job."  I got
a call from another VA station, K4JJQ. "UR booming
into Northern VA," sent Jack and we chatted for 10 minutes.
Then I worked another QRPer. Dale KO8L in Cleveland
was a 579 and he gave me the same report. We chatted
for nearly 20 minutes. He was running 5 watts with a loop.
Afterwards Bill worked him too.

It got slack so we took a break to walk around the island.
The views were super.

Bill, who was ahead of me, shouted back to me. "Jim," he called...
"The Hams shared Moon Island with friends and stranger!"
Huh? I followed him around the trail to an old foundation where
he pointed to a plaque.

Little did we know there was a long history of Hams right
here on Moon Island. I hammed it up for the camera in front
of the old foundation. The plaque lies on the ground on the
right front part of the photo.

When I sat down again to operate, it was later in the afternoon
and DX started showing up. I made a quick contact with
ON4ATW in Belgium. I was only a 449 there. Shortly
after that I worked RX6AMV in Russia. Nick gave me a 569.

A highlight of the trip was working Carter, N3AO from
VA. He called Bill on 40 meters in the early evening.
Bill gave Carter some details of our setup and chatted for
a while before I took the key to say hello to my old friend.
What a thrill to work him. I signed: AB1AV/P/QRP/JIM/FUN.

As evening approached we got ready for the VT-NH
CW net on 80 meters. Bill used his 88 and I set up a low
dipole with no feedline and tuned with the Elecraft T-1.
I strung my wires about 4 feet high over low branches.
Bill and I sat facing each other when we checked into the net.
W1ZPB in Massachusetts said we were peaking about an S7.

During the day the winds held the mosquito hordes at bay.
But toward evening the wind died down, and we put on
our long sleeves and deet. Early evening on the lake with the
loons calling back and forth is a pure joy.

The forecast called for a cool night dropping into the 40s.
But the lake moderated temperatures and it didn't drop below
50... perfect for a good night's sleep.

The mosquitos were as hungry as we were at breakfast.
So after a cup of tea and some oatmeal, we decided to
pack up.

The trip back on smooth water only took a half hour. But the
othernight left us with enough memories to last until our
next visit.