I am only back in the Washington DC area for a few months, so I am triaging sites based on range from the house and ease of activation. I had thought that this site was more or less drive up, but that’s not the case. It’s not a difficult activation, but it does require a bit of hiking, some of it off-trail.
There is a road that runs near the summit, but it’s off limits. I recommend parking at the High Rock hang gliding site (39.694961, -77.523462). The road up is smooth and there’s parking for a bunch of cars just to the east of the platform where hang gliders jump off the mountain. The photo above is taken from the parking lot looking west towards that graffiti-covered platform.
The road continues eastward past the parking lot, but almost immediately, there is a no trespassing sign indicating that the property is a government installation:
As other activators have done, I backed off from that sign and took a trail marked with light blue blazes southward from just next to the parking area. That trail continues south and then merges with a trail with white blazes that continues south and west. Eventually, that trail leads down to the Appalachian Trail.
I continued down the trail just about to the lower edge of the map shown above and then went due east. I could have gone eastward earlier, but the approach to the summit is least steep from the south and I preferred to trade off walking for climbing.
Although there was no snow around Washington, DC, there was a couple inches at this elevation, so I appreciated that SOTA gave me a few extra points for winter activation. Yay.
When I was within the activation zone, I tossed an end-fed into a tree and scribbled down contacts and 40m and 20m. No takers on 10m, but that’s not a surprise. I was chilly, so I didn’t try FM.
I got a reasonable number of contacts, and the one that stands out was TI5/N4YDU. This was the Friday morning right before the ARRL DX CW contest and I had heard stations in the Caribbean warming up all week. Before I left 20m, I did a quick bandsweep, heard the station calling, chucked my call in once, and got an immediate reply. My other DX was G4OBK, who came in strong.
Here’s the full list:
Finally, a few more pictures from the hang gliding area: