In Search of Sky Pond

Hike to Bald Ledge June 2009
Photos by W1JSB

This afternoon Hanz W1JSB and I
found Bald Ledge near Sky Pond.
It was our second attempt at reaching
the spot, and it was well worth the effort!
It's a grand place in the foothills of the White
Mountains. The view is spectacular...
but conditions on 20 meters weren't  so
dazzling. We were  lucky to snag a QSO with
Venezuela before heading back.

The Sandwich range to the East is bathed in light

Our first attempt, a couple of weekends ago,
was something of a comedy. We set out from
the hills of New Hampton, and after 45 minutes
realized we'd been walking in circles. We ended
up right back where we'd started. This time we
were more careful.  We consulted the topo maps,
brought a compass with us and even chatted with
a couple of fellows who had just returned from the

June in New Hampshire is brilliant green

The trail was wide open and easy to follow, at
least for the first mile or so. We crossed a couple
of brooks, and we kept our eyes keen for a
turn to the South. We'd been told to look for
a sign pointing out the route. The last time we
missed it completely. Hanz captured a big
smile on my face when I spotted the tiny arrow
pointing out the trail. It was hidden behind some
trees and nearly impossible to see. Someone had
swiped the real sign off the post.

The trail narrowed to a small foot path
and we knew we were near.

The view to the South was breathtaking. I started
setting up an antenna right away. It would be an
inverted L with about 45 feet of wire. Straight up
20 feet to an overhead branch... and across 25 feet
to a nearby tree. I was using the ATS3-A and the
Elecraft T-1tuner. The wire tuned well on 40, 30,
and 20 without a counterpoise... but where were
all the stations? 40 and 30 were quiet and I could
only hear a couple of weak stations on 20.

While I struggled to make a QSO, Hanz pulled out
his handie talkie and started making contacts easily
on VHF. 2 meters... there's a band! From this spot
he could hit nearly a dozen repeaters.

Hanz takes a water break after a string of VHF QSOs

I scoured three bands, but didn't hear much at all.
I kept at it, thinking if I stalled a bit, the activity
would pick up...  After nearly 20 minutes of searching,
I finally heard YV5DTJ in Venezuela calling CQ. Jose
in Caracas was 579 and he gave me the same. A QSO
at last! And he copied me well... Odd conditions.

Now, we feel free to pack up... our mission is complete.
A great hike... a bit of  DX and a new destination

This will be a perfect spot for the Flight of the Bumblebees
in July.