Helicopter in Hill and QSO with Russia
September 2012

This afternoon I rode my bicycle to Old Hill Village on the
Pemigewasset River. Just as I was about to call an Italian station,
a Black Hawk Helicopter landed in the field in front of me.

I wasn't really surprised... the National Guard from Concord flies training missions along the
river. It's a wonderful, isolated place... not just for nature-loving radio ops, but for helicopter
training maneuvers as well.

So I put down the key, and walked out into the field as the helicopter was about to take off
again. They had left an airman on the ground.

I walked over to see what was going on. "You want me out of here?" I asked the airman. "No, you're fine," he
replied. He explained that the helicopter was going to circle the area, drop a rescue litter and then circle again and
haul the litter aboard. They were practicing rescue operations. The airman is a medic, and his team is leaving
for Afghanistan at the end of the month. I thanked him, wished him godspeed in Afghanistan, and walked
off the field to watch the practice session.

Soon the helicopter returned and dropped a line to the airman who guided the litter to the ground.
Afterwards, they hauled both the litter and airman back aboard. Soon I could hear them repeating the
drill in a field on the other side of the river.

I returned to my setup at the edge of the field. I was running the little Chinese HB-1B on
20 meters with a half-wave vertical wire. As soon as I sat back down, I heard R1NA calling
CQ. Alex was pretty strong and answered my call. He gave me a 449 and copied all of my
information. He was north of St. Petersburg, not far from the Finnish border... about 4,000 miles
from Old Hill Village.

After the QSO, I packed up and started back to the car. It was a glorious afternoon in Hill.
The day was balmy, early fall flowers were in bloom, and I was exhilarated to be in the
outdoors once again.