PSK 2nd Try at Knox Mountain

November 2009

Last July I took a computer and an FT-817
to Knox Mountain for a test of portable
PSK-31.  I made loads of CW contacts, but
not a single QSO on PSK31.

It kept eating at me, and today I tried again.
This time I was successful and scored a bonus
too. I worked Paul, W0RW, who was backpack
mobile in the mountains of Colorado.

The trail to Knox Mtn always beckons

It's November now. No more green. No more fall
colors. But still, a beautiful day in the woods
and nearly 50F. The trail is covered with the brown
and ocher of fallen leaves and the heavy, pungent
smell reminiscent of dried tobacco.

The hike in is fast. I have packed the gear in a
Maine basket pack. It's almost 20 lbs compared
with my usual 4 pounds or so.

On the porch of the cabin, I set up the station...
an FT-817, the EEE pc running linux and fldigi
and the Signalink USB interface. The antenna
is a half-wave wire nearly vertical in a nearby

My thermometer hits 70F in the sun on the porch

Right away I see K9QDA calling CQ on 14.070 and I answer.
Wayne is 599 from Illinois. He also gives me a 599 and
sends, "UR 5W IS DOING A FINE JOB." I am relieved. PSK-31
from the field should be easy... just as it is from home. I
think now, perhaps I did not have the 817 properly configured
for digital transmission in July.

A few minutes later I see Oscar, EA1DR calling CQ from Spain.
He is strong and I reply. Good! He gives me a 599 and I am
pleased that whatever issues caused me to come home empty
handed in July have been resolved. I switch to CW... my first
choice for portable operating.

I am looking for W0RW/pm. Paul posted this morning on QRP-L
that he would be operating in a few moments with 10 watts
and a 10 foot whip while walking along a ridge in the Colorado
mountains. He is using a Viet Nam era military backpack rig,
the PRC-74. I hear him booming in! Paul gives me a 559 and I
give him a 579. Two portable stations, nearly 1800 miles apart,
using tiny rigs, tiny antennas and low power. And Paul is walking
while sending Morse... you can't beat it!

I'm thrilled to work W0RW/pm in the Colorado Mountains

I make one more contact with a station in Tampa, Fla.
before calling it a day. AB7JK, Kim and I exchange
reports and I pack up the equipment.

As long as the weather holds, I'll make a few more
trips to the cabin before winter. Within a month
this trail will be covered with snow.