Portable Radio while Biking and Kayaking

Two Adventures on May 19, 2009

It was so beautiful today, I spent the whole day outdoors.
I worked Germany, Poland, and the Canary Islands while
kayaking and biking.

Part I - Germany from Hermit Lake

There was a light frost overnight and this morning
the air was cool and crisp... just the way New Hampshire
is supposed to be. So I headed for Hermit Lake in Sanbornton
with the kayak and my radio pack for a trip around the lake.
It was glorious.

In the past I've operated right from the kayak, but I didn't bring
an antenna for it this morning. I would set up a small
station on shore along the way. I really wanted to paddle
around a bit and enjoy the sunshine. I wasn't the only one.
This big turtle was sunning himself on a log jutting out of the
shallow water.

Hermit Lake is dotted with floating islands. They actually
move a bit from week to week depending on the wind. They're
comprised mostly of peat. They make a wonderful habitat
for the pitcher plant and the sundew plant (two fly-catching
carnivorous species) which inhabit the peat islands of Hermit
Lake. The Pale Laurel (a relative of the Mountain Laurel) was
in full bloom this morning.

I headed over to the shore to make a quick contact before lunch.
I setup a half-wave vertical wire on 20 meters and used the ATS-2
and the ZM-2 tuner. Right away I heard Hauke, DJ7EC calling CQ.
I worked him earlier this year in April from a trail along the
Winnipesaukee River.  When I told him I was QRP he dropped his
power to 5 watts and we completed the QSO. I was 549 and he was
579 to me on higher power and about 559 on 5 watts.

Thoroughly satisfied with the morning, I headed home for lunch.

Part II - Canary Islands and Poland from the Bike Path

I've been meaning to drive over to East Andover about ten miles
from here to explore the Rails to Trails path. Today was
the perfect day and I went after lunch.

I started about five miles from Andover in the little village of
East Andover right on shores of Highland Lake. Being an old
railroad grade, the riding is pretty easy. After about 40 minutes
I got to the bridge at the Blackwater River.

The trail is pretty much a straight shot all the way to Andover. I
rode to the center of the village and stopped for a drink of
water before heading back. Horseshoe Pond is right alongside
the trail and seemed a perfect place to set up the radio gear.

The pond actually has two parts... one on each side of the
trail. So I had good views both ways. I threw my 30 foot wire over
a maple limb and hooked up the ATS2 and the ZM2 tuner.
Making contacts was harder here. I could hear stations well,
but they didn't hear me as well as usual. I think the leaves and
branches were brushing against my wire on the way up and maybe
that affected my signal. Even so, I made two quick contacts. The first
one was with EA8/DH2MS in the Canary Islands off the Northwest
coast of Africa. He gave me a 559 and I was thrilled to have the
QSO after a few failed attempts with other stations. Shortly after
that I worked Paul, SP2GWH in Poland and had a nice QSO with him.

My small station alongside the trail only takes four or five minutes
to setup. But it sure gives lots of fun. I pack up and start the
ride back to East Andover after a perfect afternoon.