A day at Wildcat Mountain

I mainly went out to Wildcat Mountain to test and adjust my wire antennas, so I brought a couple of radios, all of my antennas, and a variety of test equipment. I set up just off the upper parking area near one of the trailheads of Old Settler’s Trail, which is one of my favorite hikes in this area at any season.

L to R, front row: (tr)uSDX & pack, X6100 & pack; back row: 30′ tape measure, coffee, spool of wire, 15AH battery, MFJ-259 in a hard case, cardboard flat full of very miscellaneous stuff.
Very Miscellaneous, and yet there were items I forgot; SMA adapters, PowerPole USB charger & cord for the (tr)uSDX so I can run low power for testing. Probably other things that I am forgetting yet again. Antennas for the (tr)uSDX were one of the main reasons for this exercise.
Both radios, as packed, with two field repair kits and DMM

A nice big picnic table in the partial shade of several trees was an ideal location.

All set up to measure length of wire vs. SWR

I thought it would be simple; check SWR of antenna, trim as required, move along to next one and repeat, but that was not how it worked out at all. I will gloss over a couple of hours of work by saying that I am not sure if I trust the MFJ antenna analyzer, it seemed to read high, and its readings fluctuated when my hands came near it; I think that the SWR scan function of the X6100 is closer to reality. I never got around to using the QRPguys power / SWR meter, because one of the times I turned on the 6100 to run a test, there was a station right there on frequency, CQing for the New Hampshire QSO Party, and in that moment it seemed like a sign, or fate, or something; anyway, I had to give him a call! In further support of that view, he replied to my very first call!

Well, so there’s one in the log, right? Only 9 more needed to make a real activation! I tried to keep on with the antenna work, but the lack of concrete results was dispiriting, and the temptation was great …

Just before I switched antennas; you can see the Buddipole down at the far end

After making a few contacts on the EFHW, I decided to switch to the Buddipole / 17′ whip combo that has been so reliable. As the count increased (fortunately working another NHQP station so I would not get flagged as a suspicious unique) I found that I had consumed all of my coffee and water (in lieu of eating lunch) and dinner time was rapidly approaching! I called it quits with 13 in the log (K2WPA in New Jersey was a twofer) and loaded all of my mountain of stuff back in the minivan. Entered the paper log into Xlog (the only log program that I can get to work on my Linux / Chromebook) and got it uploaded to POTA while eating dinner, as the sun settled into the western horizon.

Update, 9/23/23; here’s a QSO map:

NH and WA QSO parties, Rt 66 On-The-Air, and Park-to-Park; thanks, everyone!

When I idly looked at my user profile at POTA, I discovered that I topped the leaderboard for activations at K-1480, and stood at #3 for total QSOs there !

Thanks for visiting driftlessqrp!






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