Two Short Visits to Knox Mountain

Fall, 2008

Trip 1:
I headed up to Knox Mountain today shortly before lunch.
The trail was rife with that rich smell of fall. As I passed a
shallow moose swamp, the sun shown across the clearing
and through a large patch of yellow turning the little stream
into a rippling ribbon of bright gold as it flowed across the trail.

My view from the cabin steps

At the cabin the pond was surrounded by bright oranges
and deep reds. Water rushed over the dam encouraged by
the weekend's heavy rain. I sat on the cabin steps and opened
my fanny pack. I had brought the little Par end fed antenna
and a two-watt MFJ Cub.

I tied a line onto my water bottle and gave it a heave. The
bottle bounced off the tree and landed back on the ground.
The top broke when it hit a rock, and all the water leaked out.
I went searching for something else to throw. I found a heavy
stick nearby and used that instead. The antenna wire went
straight up half wave length for 20 meters.

Right away I heard 9K2MU, Murtada, calling CQ. At least five
strong stations were calling him. Somehow, he came back to
me and we had a quick QSO. Yes... this is Kuwait! Then I tuned
up the band a bit and heard Jeorg, DL2DSL calling CQ. We
exhanged signal reports and names. So that was it. Just ten
minutes of operating and it was time to get back for lunch.
(I was already late for that.)

Time is moving faster than I like. In just another week or so
the trees will be at peak color. The warm weather will soon
be gone.

Trip 2:
I started out again shortly before lunch. It's now October... a week
after Trip 1 described above. There was a bright carpet
of color covering the entire trail to the cabin. The brook sparkled
in the morning sun. Looking up, brilliant oranges contrasted with
the clear blue.

The cabin seemed quieter. The water level in the pond was much
lower. Only a jay and a few crickets broke the silence of the place.

I tossed the endfed wire over a nearby branch. I used the same
rig and antenna as I had used on my earlier visit.

My setup on the porch steps

KL7V/4 was just finishing up a QSO near the QRP frequency and
I gave him a call. Sam was in Alabama and had a nice 579 signal.
He gave me a 569 and we chatted for nearly 15 minutes. He's
also a QRPer but was running more power than usual today.
"Ur Cub is doing a FB job," he sent. "Sure makes the hike more
fun," he continued. He was right about that!

I tuned down the band after Sam left for lunch and heard
DL1VDL, Hardy in Dresden, calling CQ. He was also 579 and
he gave me a 559. "Condx have been trying the last few days,"
he sent and then added that he could copy me nicely.

What wonderful magic to talk so far away from the porch of
this woods cabin by the pond!

A single cricket from beneath a crack was sending his own messages...
I'm not sure to whom he was calling, but I was not able to copy.
The signal was strong, but his Morse was shakey at best, or perhaps
he was sending with his left foot.

I packed up and headed back along the brook trail to the car.
Fall is too short.