A Walk on Shute Hill
November 2011

This afternoon Judy and I walked on Shute
Hill and sat down for a while in a lovely field.
It was over 70 in the sun. I worked Germany,
the Czech Republic and a station in Alabama.

Nature is going to sleep. It doesn't happen all
at once. It's a gradual process with a few days
of warmth and sunshine along the way. Today
is one of those days.

We head down Rufus Colby Road to the point
that it turns to a Class 6 road and the
town no longer maintains it. We turn right
after a quarter of a mile and head east up an
old farm path. The buildings are all gone, but
the fields remain. The oaks and beeches are still
golden in the brilliant sun.

The field has turned brown. The ground is covered
with leaves. The air is filled with the smell of cured
tobacco. It is the smell of decomposing leaves
that comes to the New England woods every fall.

I throw a line into an oak tree at the edge of the
field. I start on 15 meters with the ATS-4 at 3 watts
to a 25 foot vertical wire.

My first QSO is with Tof, DJ6ZM in Germany. He gives
me a 559 and he is 579. "TNX Jim," he sends. "UR
3W FB." The QSO lasts only a minute or so.

Then I switch to 20 meters and have a quick contact
with OK1DIG. Dan and I have worked many times before.
Today he is participating in the CWOps mini sprint. We
exchange 599s.

Then I return to 15 meters where I hear WA4NTM calling
CQ. He is booming in and I answer. To my surprise, Jim in
Alabama gives me a 599 too. Jim is 81 years old and we
chat for ten minutes. "You would be very happy to hear
your 3W CW signal on this end," he sends. Jim is running
a K2 at 90 watts to a yagi.

Now it is time to pack up. We stop to visit with two horses
in a lower field and then chat with Ivan Phelps, a retired
boat builder, who now farms for a hobby.

Last week an early storm dumped 14 inches of snow here.
There's only a trace of it left today. But the respite will be
short lived. We'll have several weeks of gray, wet weather,
then it will begin to snow in earnest. We usually get four
or five feet during a typical winter. I will remember today
fondly during the coming months.