All America CW from Knox Mountain

May 17, 2009

Early this evening Hanz, W1JSB and I took a
spur-of-the-moment adventure to Knox
Mountain. We only operated for a half hour, but
we worked several South American countries and
then, as the sun was going down, we snagged Greenland.

It had rained all night and was cloudy most of the
day. By late afternoon things were starting
to clear, and I was anxious to get outside. The whole
world was bursting with green from the spring rain.
Hanz was working in the garden when I called him on the
Franklin repeater. Five o'clock in the afternoon hardly
seemed like the time to start a hike to Knox Mountain. But
we did it anyway, and we had the time of our lives.

We left the trailhead at about 5:30.

Barely a quarter of a mile up the trail is the first bridge. It
was built years ago, and its old timbers are sagging. A few
gaping holes in the middle warn walkers of rotting planks.
We step gently, but take time out for a quick snap shot of
the brook. The last time Hanz and I were here together,
we were on skis and there was 3 feet of snow on the trail.

It's not a steep walk but a steady uphill route the entire
mile and a half to the cabin. The trail is dotted with deer
droppings. Where the earth is soft we see some huge moose
tracks. The moss along the way is electric green and contrasts
markedly with the wild violets that are strewn here and there
in patches.

Hanz stops to get some pictures of the brook and I
click a few action shots as he catches up to me.

The black flies and mosquitoes are taking advantage of
the overnight moisture. We are well covered with mosquito

The cabin is a wonderful and quiet place. I've never seen
anyone else there during my visits. I chuck a water bottle
into the tree in front of the porch and I reach at least 45 feet
over a nice branch. I pull up 30 feet of stranded wire for a
half wave vertical wire on 20 meters. I set up the ATS2 and
a ZM-2 tuner.

Within a minute of sitting down, I make contact with ZF2XP
in the Cayman Islands. It was easy. He was calling CQ MM
in the All America CW Contest. It's a quick exchange:
599 NA, and that's it. Hanz and I had already agreed to switch
positions after every QSO. He puts on the earphones.

Just as quickly he works K0FK in Colorado. Same
exchange. Hanz is amazed because the station
hails from his home town.

It's my turn again and I work PX2W in Brazil. After
the exchange I tune up a couple of Khz and work
a second Brazilian station, PY2ZXU. As soon as
Hanz puts on the earphones he hears CW5W in
Uruguay calling. Hanz works him!  We're delighted...
It's 2/3 of the way down the coast of South America.
For the last QSO I heard OX3XR working stations and
signing NA. North America? Where the heck is OX3?
I work him, still confused, and don't figure out that
it's Greenland until I get home.

Only a half hour of operating and we're ready to head
back before it gets too dark.

As we head down the trail toward the car, Hanz captures
the pond, the cabin, the reflections and the last glimmer
of sunlight. We make it home in time for some dinner
and the Flying Pigs Run for the Bacon sprint.