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.

Driving towards the Rock, there is a sign that indicates this is some sort of wildlife conservation area, but it that’s the case, it’s a pretty poor effort. The roadway is lined with commercial antenna sites and refuse. There was more than one carcass of an old picture-tube TV lying alongside the road. Dan’s Rock itself is pretty trashed and appears to be a local teen hangout. There’s parking across the street from it next to an antenna installation.

A bridge crosses over the rocks, leading to the observation platform. It might make a reasonable support for an HF pole.

I walked back and forth trying to figure out a place to put up an antenna. Because of all the commercial antenna sites, power lines criss-cross the area. The trees are relatively scrawny and I couldn’t find any that were in the clear and had good height.

Finally, I decided to go down the road just behind the parking spot; there are some tall trees along that road and they did well enough to support an end-fed antenna. Despite the high concentration of radio equipment in the area, background on HF was not a problem, and I worked stations without a problem on 20m and 40m, including a few European stations on 20m.

Some other approaches that could work would include setting up a self-supporting antenna on the overlook side of the road just before getting to Dan’s Rock. Alternatively, a pole could be lashed to the observation deck on top of Dan’s Rock, but this probably isn’t a good idea because there is a lot of foot traffic up and down the observation platform.

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