SOTA: W3/WE-004

Quirack Mountain

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:

No trespassing sign.
Click to enlarge any of these images.

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.

Screencap from Open Streetmaps using the cycling overlay to show topography and trails.

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:

17:46zW5ODS14MHzCWs599 r589
17:49zW0MNA14MHzCWs599 r589
17:49zW0ERI14MHzCWs599 r599
17:50zK4MF14MHzCWs599 r559
17:51zKB7HH14MHzCWs589 r539
17:55zK3TCU14MHzCWs569 r339
17:55zKR7RK14MHzCWs559 r339
17:56zG4OBK14MHzCWs569 r449
17:57zK0RS14MHzCWs559 r539
17:58zNS7P14MHzCWs589 r229
18:00zK9OZ14MHzCWs579 r599
18:01zWD0ACB14MHzCWs579 r229
18:02zVA7VJ14MHzCWs559 r339
18:03zAG6V14MHzCWs589 r589
18:04zWA6KYR14MHzCWs339 r319
18:06zN0EVH14MHzCWs579 r359
18:07zAC5K14MHzCWs579 r559
18:08zN6PKT14MHzCWs449 r529
18:09zAI6IE14MHzCWs449 r579
18:12zNG6R14MHzCWs589 r559
18:20zTI5/N4YDU14MHzCWs599 r599
18:25zNE4TN7MHzCWs599 r599
18:26zW9MRH7MHzCWs569 r559
18:27zN2AF7MHzCWs579 r559
18:28zKD1CT7MHzCWs579 r559
18:30zW2SE7MHzCWs449 r449

Finally, a few more pictures from the hang gliding area:

A sign with rules for hang gliders.
Some rules for hang gliders in case anyone is considering activating the site aeronautical mobile HI HI
View to the left (SW) from the platform.

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