Crater Lake, NJ 2000

Norcal 40a, DSW20

I sure had a good time Friday night operating from the AT in northwest NJ. Thanks to the fine ops I worked for making a fun outing even better.

A few hours before heading out, I was looking at my topo maps of the area and decided on a destination other than the Sunrise Mountain or High Point areas that I had posted about previously. Instead, I went to Crater Lake (no, not the one in Oregon!) which is at the top of the Kittatiny Ridge overlooking the surrounding terrain. The view from up there is beautiful – steep drop-offs on both sides of a crystal blue lake. The Appalachian Trail passes by the north side of the lake and a 3 mile rock strewn “road” allows access to the south side. 4-wheel drive isn’t necessary but high ground clearence is. I saw a lot of deer, all of em in groups of 5 or more, coupla raccoons and a noisy chipmunk. No bears.

I got there about an hour later than I’d expected and put up a 34′ wire into a pine tree. This was my first time to use the fishing reel/wrist rocket slingshot method and now I’m a believer. Got a line over the tree on my 2nd attempt! I’ve heard that wrist rockets are illegal in NJ. If that’s true, then it wasn’t really me putting up the antenna – it was someone who looks exactly like me with extremely similar DNA. Besides, the wrist rocket doesn’t even fit my wrist very well and “if it doesn’t fit, you must acquit”. Then I laid out a 34′ ground radial and hooked up all the gear.

The antenna tuned up fine on both bands. I brought the Norcal 40a instead of the 40m SST and was glad I did due to the incredible ssb QRM on what woulda been the entire tuning range of the SST. On the Norcal 40, at least I could tune away from it. I listened for Atlanticon’ers and TunaTin2’s on 7043, but nada.

Here’s the log:

24-25 March 2000

UTC Freq Station Sent Received Name QTH
2149 7040 W1HIQ 589 579 John RI
2200 7040 K1QM 579 559 Joel MA
2210 7040 N3AO 569 599 Carter PA
2217 7040 KW3U 579 579 Jim PA
2232 7040 NF0R 539 539 Dave MO
2257 14.016 EA1BSU 569 559 Alex Spain
2320 7041 W3KC 559 559 Chas MD
2342 7026 W0HY 579 579 Addison KS
2357 14.048 W5TZC 599 579 Larry AR
0006 14.026 YO2ARV 569 569 Frank Romania
0011 14.015 S52KA 579 579 Dan Slovenia
0020 14.060 KB9RNM 569 579 Gene IL

I was using the DSW on 20 meters and spent a lot of time calling CQ on 14.060 with no takers. Everyone was lower I guess, so I went down there and chased a little delta xray. Caught some too. All three DX stations came back to me on the first call.

Getting late - time to pack up

Here’s the gear list and the stats:
Norcal 40a
ZM2 tuner
Whiterook MK33 paddles
Sony headphones
10 alkaline C batteries
Maxwell House QRO coffee
Total weight of radio gear————-64 ounces
Coffee consumed———————–32 ounces
Number of QSOs————————12
Each QSO required 5.33oz of radio gear and 2.66oz of coffee. Not bad.

I shut ‘er down at about 8pm, blew out the candle lantern and looked up at a sky full of stars. Orion was up in the south with more detail than I can remember ever seeing (M42 *clearly* visible).

My whole reason for coming out here was to test an endfed half wave wire on 20m (I used the same antenna as a 1/4-wave vertical on 40m) with my DSW and C cells. And to work all the other Appalachian Trail states from the Trail. I’m happy with the results. I wish there’d have been more activity on 14.060 but I think I was operating too early for the domestic activity to have been there. Took a few photos – may post em on my outdoor QRP page once they’re developed. I’ll be back here April 29 for the QRPTTF.

I’m tired and smell like a campfire. Gonna go take a shower and a nap.