After activating on the west coast of the States, now I have a look at the east coast. I had been in Philadelphia for a few days and had three spare days before the flight home. On the first of these, I was to focus on W3 summits.
Snowy Mountain W3/PD-007
The first of these summits was Snowy Mountain. I had headed off early from Media, near Philadelphia and made my way along US30 to approach this summit. Access is straight forward, using PA233 Rocky Mountain Rd and then Snowy Mountain Rd to the west of the summit. This reached a junction with Forest Rd, about 1100 yards from the summit. Snowy Mountain Rd is a good quality unpaved forest road. Forest Rd was closed. There had been some recent logging activity. I proceeded on foot to about 600 feet from the summit and activated there.
The forest floor is very open here. I operated using the KX1 powered by 6 NiZn AA cells, the 41ft random wire and the 4.7m squid pole. Here is the operating location:
And looking from there towards the squid pole:
I had no cell phone coverage, so I could not self spot. Looking at the spots after the fact, it appears that I was being picked up reliably by the Reverse Beacon Network and being spotted through the RBNgateway. I worked a series of stations on 40 and 20. My activation times would need to be short given I had five summits on
I headed back the way I came and made my way north back to US30.
Methodist Hill North W3/PD-006
Crossing US30, I continued on PA233 north and then turned left onto Milesburn Rd. This made its way up to Long Pine Run Reservoir:
The summit is accessible on good quality forest roads continuing to the north from here. I parked out of the activation zone and walked up, activating at the highest point in the forest near the junction of Milesburn Rd and Ridge Rd. Again, RBNgate acted as my spotter here.
After finishing up, I headed northeast down Milesburn Rd. This gave me easy 2wd access into the next valley into Shipennsburg.
Sherman Mtn South W3/PD-004
From Shipennsburg, I made my way along PA696, turning right onto PA997, which gives access to 3 Square Hollow Rd. Part of this road may have been realigned, the western alignment up the small valley approaching the ridge is not passable in a 2wd, but the alignment further east is easy in a 2wd. There’s a nice view along this road as the ridge is approached:
From here, I headed South West until the junction with Blue Mountain Rd. I proceeded about 500 yards up this however left the car on the side of the road when it got a bit too rough – and given I was in a hire car, I wanted to take no risks. I continued on foot until well inside the activation zone. It appears the eastern side of the road is private land – and the private land comes quite close to the roadway, so I setup the antenna on the righthand side of the road.
Again, RBNgate was my friend here, with a mix of contacts on 20 and 40. No takers on 30 however.
I headed out the way I came, back to PA997.
Clark Knob W3/PD-002
The next summit of the day was Clark Knob. I continued along PA997 turning left onto PA533. I could have taken Mountain Rd as a shortcut, but this is not my home territory, perhaps not everything is optimal! Upper Strasburg Rd is a bit bumpy for a paved road, take some care along this. The forest road leaves to the south of this, heading up the hill. I parked near the summit, but about 300 feet away from the comms towers and did the walk to ensure final non-motorised access to the summit. The communications gear seemed to have no discernible impact on my noise floor or operating. Again, the forest is very open here:
My operating experience here was similar to the other summits. After wrapping up, I headed back down the hill the way I came, back onto PA533.
Big Mountain W3/PD-001
I may have gone the long way to my final summit, proceeding onto US11, then US30 through Chambersburg. Instead, I could have continued west along PA4004 and then onto PA75. Big Mountain is easily accessed from US30, up Tower Rd, an unpaved forest road. There’s a car park here, and good views up the valley:
I was keen to get a little away from the people coming and going from the views, so I operated in the middle of the loop made by the road at the carpark. It was a bit more secluded in here:
I had to do a bit of jury-rigging on the antenna here. I had done about 30 activations since I used the higher grade wire at the BNC adapter, then soldered the light grade speaker wire onto the short 2 inch long high grade wire. The solder joint was fine, but the thin wire tore near the joint. I used the electrical tape to stick it back on, but the joint was not as good. The activation was still ok, but the KX1 tuner was not as happy on 40, with SWRs lifting to high 1s, low 2s. This is the way it would have to be for the rest of the trip, I can’t resolder a new joint until I return to Australia. I’ll just have to be careful that I don’t put excessive physical strain on the wire from now on.
With the completion of this activation, it was a several hour drive down to the town of Stauton, where I was to stay the night, and that would be the base for some activations in WV (W8V) and VA (W4V) on my final two days.
Regards, Wayne VK3WAM