Franklin Falls Dam
February, 2012

It felt like spring today. I walked across the Corps of Engineers flood control
dam on the Pemigewasset River at Franklin and worked Sweden, Bosnia
and Germany.

View of Knox Mountain to the north of the dam

The day was gorgeous and warm too.... 42F. I hiked in about two miles on the
access road. It's a great place to walk because the Corps plows the road and
it's paved. No mud, snow, ice or traffic. The forecast called for a 10 MPH
breeze from the SW. So I brought a kite hoping to lift my wire using a colorful
parafoil. There's usually a stiff breeze along the top of the dam, but not
quite enough today.  I decided instead to head for the northeast corner
of the dam and set up under some pine trees. That worked out beautifully.

A half wave wire runs from the pack to a high branch

I set up a half wave end fed wire for 20 meters and tuned it with the Par
endfed matchbox. I was using the new YouKits HB-1B. 20 meters was
good with some strong European stations. Tuning up from the bottom of
the band I first heard SM5EPO calling CQ. Peo came right back and gave
me a 559. Then a station from Bosnia... E73W.  He gave me a 599 during
the quick exchange. Erhard DK1WI was strong from Germany. He only
gave me a 329, but he seemed to copy my entire exchange and got it
all correctly. Shortly after, I called Bernd, DL6ZBN. He gave me a 569
and sent "FB QRP," when I told him I was running 3 watts.

It's tricky to find a good place for kite lifted antennas in New Hampshire
except over at the coast where there's a steady breeze. Near the foothills of
the White Mountains, the breeze is often fickle... coming from one direction
and then another. I'll try again at the Franklin Dam. The wind here is often
strong and steady... a rare combination.

It was great to operate outdoors again. The forecast for tomorrow calls for
snow and sleet. It's not quite spring yet.