I found myself up in New York on the occasion of QRP TTF day and asked Tom, N2YTF for some suggestions about peaks in the area that would be relatively quick activations and/or provide some cover for expected rainy weather. He gave me a great list, which I’ll be working through on subsequent visits to the area.
The most proximal was Hook Mountain, which is accessible right off route 9W just across the Hudson River from where I was staying. Tom did warn of ticks on that hike, but it looked like an easy walk. However, Bear Mountain was also tempting: a bit further to the north but essentially a drive-up peak topped by a large parking lot surrounded by trees. I decided to put Bear Mountain in the log first and figured that I’d then have more time for Hook Mountain.
As W2SE mentioned in his review of Bear Mountain, activators should check ahead of time that the road to the top, Perkins Memorial Drive, is open. I did call the park to check, but it being Saturday morning, no one was there and I went right to a voice navigation system that failed to mention status of that road — which of course I found chained off when I got there. So, this is the story of activating the peak by way of the Appalachian Trail.
ADDENDUM APRIL 19: This event was canceled due to inclement weather; we will reschedule at a later date.
The Vienna Wireless Society will be conducting on the evening of April 20 and morning of April 21. Those dates coincide with the onset of the Lyrid meteor shower. I am soliciting SKEDs up to the day of the event and would also welcome replies to CQs during the event. Full details, below.
We saved the easiest peak for last during this visit to Shenandoah National Park, and tackled Hogback after Compton Peak and North Marshall. Park at Hogback overlook (38.762N, 78.2742W) and walk back northward along Skyline Drive about 500m to a chained-off gravel service road that ascends towards a commercial antenna installation. From the road to the top, it’s about a 40m rise, easy-peasy.
North Marshall was the second peak of the day, wedged between Compton Peak and Hogback Mountain. The Appalachian Trail rises right from the parking area (38.775104N, 78.210851W) and it’s about a 900m walk in from there with 80m rise — a pleasant walk up a nicely maintained trail.
Back to Shenandoah National Park for this 6 point peak that lies alongside the Appalachian Trail. I entered the park from the Front Royal entrance to the north and drove down to the Compton Gap parking lot at 38.823907N, 78.170463W. On the same day, I activated W4V/SH-009 North Marshall and W4V/SH-007, Hogback Mountain, and the three made a nice day-long package, with decreasing effort from first to last.
This was the first of a series of summits I am hoping to activate within Shenandoah National Park, and proved to be very straightforward. The only twist was avoiding operating next to the government installation at the end of a road leading to the summit. Instead, I operated just a little to the side, but still on the summit.
Last weekend was one of the highlights of my ham radio experience even though I spent most of it shivering and hunched over a pair of paddles on a frigid mountaintop.
Mike, KA4CDN, and I decided to mount an expedition with the goal of activating rare counties for the 2019 Virginia QSO Party. We poured over spreadsheets of prior year activity and looked for places where we might camp on the intersection of two or more counties. We came up with a few possibilities, but ultimately decided to check out Rocky Mountain, which lies at the intersection of Nelson, Rockbridge, and Amherst counties. Additionally, it is centrally located in Virginia, which we thought would give us the best chance of picking up the many multipliers (95 counties and 38 independent cities) in the state.
The Bottom Line
To cut to the chase, despite poor propagation, we did better than we thought we would: more than 850 QSOs and broad coverage of multipliers throughout both Virginia and North America. Best of all, we worked a bunch of people we knew including at least ten members of our home club, the Vienna Wireless Society.
I visited one of the tallest mountains in Virginia yesterday with Mike, KA4CDN. Our goal was to scope out potential sites to activate as an expedition during the upcoming Virginia QSO Party, and while up there, to work some SOTA contacts. The ridge line near the peak runs between Rockbridge and Amherst counties, and a dirt road continues northward to the three way county intersection that also involves Nelson County. Weather was clear when we left Northern Virginia, but halfway down we hit frozen rain and as we climbed in altitude, it just got colder and colder.