KC3WD/R June 2003

2003 June VHF Rove al la KC3WD

John, ka1tb, joins Matt, kc3wd, once again. In a repeat of our June 2000 teaming, we outdo ourselves to come up with a score of 162k!!!

In 2003 for the Mid-Atlantic states, April showers brought May showers, which brought June showers! This all made configuring and driving of the RoverMobile a wet prospect… But thankfully the rain held off for all of our stops and we had no problems driving, so it was a great trip!

First we stopped at Green Bank to hook up the trailer… this really improved our signal :)

Trailer.jpg

New trailer helped us improve our signal!

Rich, n3uw, along with his father Dick kc4pgc started with us on Black Mountain. A very nice high spot in EM98. Unfortunately being in the middle of the Radio Quiet Zone means that there aren’t many hams to talk to, and the surrounding mountains tend to attenuate our signal. A number of passerby’s stop to gape at our crazy contraptions. One ex-ham from the nearby town of Marlinton explains that he lost everything, including all his radio gear, in the enormous floods of 1985. With less than 40 contacts we take off…

Our next destination is Hopkins Mountain in EM97. This site suffers the same problems as Black Mountain, so with less than 30 additional contacts we are 5 hours into the contest! But things will be looking up soon! We are off to the Blue Ridge Parkway…

Once on this incredibly well maintained mountain top road we reach a pull-off near Devil’s Knob. The view from here is nothing but tremendous. You can see all of Staunton Virginia up the Shenandoah valley. A worthy stop for anyone. We leave n3uw and kc4pgc here to continue operating from this fine location.

To catch FM17 and FM18 we head east to Mineral VA. There is a nice spot just South of town on the line between 17 and 18. It’s not the highest location in the world, but we were able to work w3iy in FM27 through 10 GHz!

It’s 4 AM, do you know where your rover is? On the road to Hogback Mountain, of course! This perennial rover spot was deserted when we rolled up and caught a couple hours of sleep. Once we started operating we had to wake everyone up, but were able to squeak out nearly 40 Q’s! N3uw is here and we roust him before heading to our next stop.

Coming down the mountain we pass w3hms on his way up! We get to work him later in the contest. On to Bear Trail, on the ridge line west of Winchester. This FM09 spot is quite nice in a mountain development where n3uw owns some property.

Skiing anyone? Well, the snow base is 0 feet so we will just have to operate microwaves from the top of Blue Knob ski resort in FN00. What a great view! We run into Steve, kb8vao, up here with his microwave gear. It’s nice to have some built in Q’s and we knock off another 40 or so from the top… but we are eating into the last few hours of the contest.

Our FN10 site is hard to get to so we settle for just off the PA Turnpike near Ft Littleton. While mobile we make a few contacts, activating our 9th grid.

Big Mountain, what a great name for a VHF spot in FM19. We drive all the way to the top where a huge clearing could accommodate 10 rovers easily! Lot’s of good microwave contacts and a nice place to finish up the contest.

Our summary tells the tale… we had quite a nice run!

I’d like to thank everyone who helped out on this effort, there are many. First John, ka1tb, who defied sleep deprivation to make our 1000 mile trip a resounding success. Then Owen, k6lew, who’s fine microwave equipment has been the life blood of kc3wd/rover since 2001. Also Bill K (no call) who’s mastery of wood and metal work made “Matt’s Marvel” possible. Terry, k8isk, who is the heart and soul of the Grid Pirates contest group and really made me into a rover. Andy, k1ra who at almost 1 month my senior, was my elmer and continues to show me the path of Amateur Radio. Rich, n3uw, who provided lots of great contacts, and someone to talk with between the mountains. Bill, w3iy, and Brian, nd3f, both who all rovers must look to as the epitome of this crazy sport. Dave, w3km, for KMROVER, a great rover logging program. Liz, kf4nol, who got her license for me for Christmas one year, became my wife in 2001, and still puts up with this silliness. Alyce, w00f who always likes to chase the deer at Terry’s mountain home…. and all the many contacts on all the many bands!

73’s and see you next contest!

Matt / kc3wd