QRP to the Field at Knox Mountain
April 2012

The QRP to the Field Event was held this year on April 28. I went
to the cabin at Knox Mountain and worked 18 stations including
Montana and Switzerland. What a perfect day for a hike!

The hike up the mountain is exhilarating. The brook flows
vigorously from rains earlier in the week and everything
is turning spring-green.

The sounds of spring are musical along the brook.

It's wonderful to be outdoors in nature again. The climb is
steady but gentle. The trail roughly follows the brook to the
pond. There are two bridges along the way. The second has
been removed by the land owner because the timbers were
rotting. Someone has replaced the second  bridge with a simple
plank across the rocks. It serves the purpose well.

After a mile and a half, the cabin comes into view across the pond.

It's cool... about 45F, but in the sun it's closer to 70F. The wind is gusty, peaking at 20 MPH.
This keeps the black flies away. Today I bring two antennas and set them both up. The
first is my stand-by, the 33 foot half wave wire put up as a vertical. The second is a 44 foot
dipole fed with 300 ohm ribbon. I want it so I can switch to 40 meters and 15 meters. I put
the dipole up about 30 feet. I have brought the KD1JV ATS-4 rig. It's a beauty and works
flawlessly switching bands easily from the top panel. I start out on the vertical and right
away work Paul W0RW in Colorado. Paul is using a KX-1 at 4W. I work a dozen stations with
the vertical including two Swiss operators, HB9ARF and HB9CA. Then I switch over to
the dipole to compare performance. As expected, I work a bit closer in with a nice QSO with
Joe, W2KJ in North Carolina. He is running the HB-1B and the Par end fed.

I am experimenting with the LDG 4 to 1 balun. I've never used it before. Without it, the T-1 won't tune
the 44 foot dipole on 40 meters. Switching to 40, I have a 15 minute rag chew with W2EZB in New York.
We have a great path and both send 599 reports. For my last QSO I try 15 meters. What a nice
surprise to hear KF7JL in Montana calling CQ. Marlowe gives me a 339 and he is 559. I am thrilled to
make a contact on 15 with the dipole. He is the only station I hear on 15. I have operated a little more than
an hour and have made 18 QSOs. I'm overjoyed to see all the activity, but getting chilled from the wind.

Not far from my operating position is a field filled with bluets and violets. I pull down the antennas,
pack up the gear and head back down the trail.

Here's my log:
Date               UTC     Freq      Call         My His  Exchange
28 Apr-12 1753  14.062 W0RW   CW 559 559 CO Paul  
28 Apr-12 1755  14.063 W4ZV   CW 559 559 NC Bill 
28 Apr-12 1758  14.063 KB0KFX CW 559 559 WI Scott
28 Apr-12 1803  14.064 NN9K   CW 559 559 IL Peter
28 Apr-12 1805  14.063 K0UU   CW 579 559 MN Jeff
28 Apr-12 1806  14.063 N5LG   CW 559 559 AR Les
28 Apr-12 1808  14.061 W8PBO  CW 559 559 WV Art 
28 Apr-12 1810  14.060 K4F    CW 599 599 FL Steve
28 Apr-12 1817  14.057 K4MF   CW 599 599 FL Gary
28 Apr-12 1824  14.022 HB9ARF CW 599 599 HB9 Phil
28 Apr-12 1825  14.027 HB9CA  CW 599 599 HB9 Andy   
28 Apr-12 1827  14.030 K4O    CW 599 599 FL Dan   
28 Apr-12 1830  14.036 KE1F   CW 599 599 FL Louis   
28 Apr-12 1830  14.036 N4S    CW 599 599 FL Bob   
28 Apr-12 1833  14.054 K4LQ   CW 599 599 FL Fred   
28 Apr-12 1842  14.060 W2KJ   CW 559 559 NC Joe   
28 Apr-12 1850  7026   W2EZB  CW 599 599 NY Chas   
28 Apr-12 1906  21.060 KF7JL  CW 339 559 MT Marlowe