by Jim Cluett
Hanz and I hiked to Sabbaday Falls in the
Sandwich Range today. The mountains
didn't help us get much DX, but we had
one amazing contact using an antenna
that was only three feet off the ground.
The leaves in the mountains have all fallen.
On the way, we stopped along a switchback
to have lunch on the Kancamagus Highway
heading east from Lincoln. The Sandwich
range is to the south.
Hanz on the Sabbaday Falls trail
We stopped at the trailhead and started walking
on the Sabbaday Falls trail. We hiked about a
half mile south along the beautiful brook.
We continued along the trail and stopped at
the falls to enjoy the view and take some
photos. We hiked along the brook until
we spotted a small island. We hopped across
some rocks and found a great place to set up.
Hanz heaved a line over a 50 foot high branch. It was
a stunning throw and we pulled up a half wave
wire. I set up my ATS-2 on 20 meters and worked
HB0/HB9LCW in Liechtenstein. Little did we know
that this would be our only 20 meter QSO. I tuned
up the band and heard HK1N in Colombia just
booming in. I called and called, but he couldn't
hear me. So I gave the antenna to Hanz to see what
he could do.
Hanz had his SW-20 and moved up the band. We didn't
hear many stations. But K4UY was very, very strong
calling CQ. We thought it was an easy contact... but
no answer. This came as a shock because we knew
from experience that a station this strong would surely
hear us. Darned mountains must be blocking our
signals. We tried for more than a half hour to make another
20 meter contact and just couldn't. So we packed up and
headed back to the car.
Less than a quarter of a mile down the trail I stopped. "Hanz!
Let's try 40 meters, darn it," I said. We hesitated. The idea of
setting up again was too goofy. But I couldn't stand it. "Hanz,
you've got a half wave wire for 20, and so do I. We'll put them
together and make a 40 meter dipole and we'll hook it
directly to the output of the rig. I've got a BNC connector with
binding posts on it."
So right there I took out the ATS-2 and plugged in the 40 meter
module. I strung a wire from my pack to a branch that was up
about 4 feet from the ground. Hanz did the same with his wire.
I was never so happy to hear my friend Pierre, VE2PID
near Sherbrooke, Quebec. (I'm not kidding. Pierre and I
have the same suffix and have worked many times.) And
just as incredible, Pierre was also running QRP with four
watts with a KX-1 from his camp in Quebec. Pierre gave
me a 579 and I gave him a 599. He was using an inverted
vee up 32 feet. I told him my antenna was 3 feet off the
ground. We had a solid QSO for at least five minutes.
It was starting to get dark and cold, so we called it quits.
Our expedition had been short on contacts, but that last
QSO more than made up for it. We had smiles on our faces
all the way home.