Delaware QSO Party 2019

Every year, a few QSO parties fall on the same day, some large ones including 7th Call Area QSO Party and the New England QSO Party, and some individual state ones like the Indiana QSO Party. And then there is Delaware.

Brecknock Park from GoogleMaps. The grey marker is the position of my picnic table.
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SOTA W2/NJ-010: Cushetank Mountain

I intentionally activated Cushetank Mountain in the late Spring: the Round Valley Recreation Area charges no admission before Memorial Day, it was not too hot, and most importantly, the number of bugs in the air was tolerable.

The set up is kind of odd: you need to enter the Round Valley Recreation Area off Stanton Lebanon Road, park in the South Parking Lot, and then follow a trail that wraps around the western and southern edges of the Round Valley Reservoir. The trail goes through a dam facility, a summer camp, and past a few houses before it turns towards a campground and the summit.

From GoogleMaps: The parking area (green marker) at upper left, and the summit (red marker at bottom).
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SOTA W4V/SH-004: Hazeltop

Hazeltop is another summit on the “not too hard” list within Shenandoah National Park. If you park at the Milam Gap parking lot (38.4784N, 78.4517W), it’s about a 3.3 km hike along the Mill Prong trail to the summit, with a net vertical rise of about 170m. There are some flat stretches to this trail, but also some hilly bits.

From the parking lot, walk east and then follow the turn southward towards the peak.
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SOTA W4V/SH-001: Hawksbill

After activating Stony Man (W4V/SH-002), I hopped in the car and drove a bit more south on Skyline Drive to reach the Upper Hawksbill Trail parking area.

The trail up is wide and well-maintain and joins up with a gravel fire road for the last third of the ascent to the summit. At the top, there is a shelter and stone stairs lead to an observation platform that has a stunning view. The total distance in is about a kilometer and a half and elevation gain is about 100m. I had good cellular data service from parking to summit.

Panorama from the observation platform.
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SOTA W3/WE-002: Dan’s Rock

On the way back to my house from Marsh Hill (W3/WE-001), I stopped at Dan’s Rock. Google Maps got me there with no problem. The site is a graffiti-covered metal staircase to steel observation platform, which overlooks a valley.

A view from the parking lot towards Dan’s Rock at left. The tower and antennas on the right are private and not part of the SOTA site.
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SOTA W3/WE-001: Marsh Hill

Marsh Hill is a very different kind of SOTA site than the ones I’ve been working recently in the Shenandoah Valley — it’s a ski resort. It is at the extreme western edge of my range, working from my house just north of Washington, DC, and it took about three hours to drive out there. When I got out there, I was amazed to see, in the third week of April with outside temperatures in the low 70s F (about 24 C) that there was still a little snow clinging to the slopes.

A view of the sport center parking lot, looking northward. I was up on the grassy hill to the right of center, above.
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SOTA W4V/SH-013: Pass Mountain

I activated Pass Mountain (W4V/SH-013) and The Pinnacle (W4V/SH-005, not to be confused with just plain Pinnacle, W4V/SH-019, a never-visited peak) in the same day, and I have one pointer: don’t park in the obvious spot, neither Pass Overlook nor Pinnacle Overlook are near the paths to their respective peaks.

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