SOTA W3/WE-011: Fairview Mountain

I drove out from around the Washington, DC area to see friends in Valpariso, Indiana this summer and plotted an optimal (and optimistic) course to take me by SOTA summits on the way. There are plenty between Washington, DC and Pittsburgh, PA, but a lot fewer west of Pittsburgh. For optimal coverage, I chose slightly different outbound (Interstate 70) and return (Interstate 76) routes and looked principally at summits within 20 and ideally 10 km of my route, favoring those that would afford quick access.

The outbound route, with “green” peaks labeled.

The first of these was Fairview Mountain, which looks like it is at the top of a paved road on aerial imagery. On GoogleMaps, search for WCRH FM Williamsport, to bring up the summit and one of the towers located there.

Aerial photo of area around the site, with arrow to parking spot at the base of the access road

When I got to the bottom of the access road, I saw signs that said something along the lines of “authorized vehicles only”. I didn’t see anything that said “no trespassing”, so I left the car at the side of the road and hiked up about a kilometer of paved road, which switches back and forth about three times before leveling out around a large facility. That building appears to house the transmitter for public television station WWPB. There were a good number of cars parked up there and lots of work going on around the antennas.

Singe level brick building with WWPB TV logo; above the building, a large commercial mast supporting a lot of antennas.
WWPB building and parking area at the upper end of the paved access road.

However, that facility is not the top. Continuing straight ahead, there is a dirt path that continues on and gradually upward.

A gravel road flanked by trees.
A gravel path leads northwards from the parking area.

When you think you are nearing the end of it, it keeps going on for quite a while. At the far end of the path is another, smaller antenna facility. A ridge runs along behind that facility, but is heavily wooded and not all that easy to access. I chose to go back down to the path and throw an antenna into a high tree. It is only marginally lower than the summit, and within bounds for SOTA activation.

A dirt and gravel path leads along the ridge to the actual summit, slightly higher than the WWPB site.
Commercial mast near the actual summit

I worked a total of 13 contacts, mostly on 20m. As my daughter had accompanied me (and, importantly, carried the radio bag!), I didn’t try to mine out every last contact. I worked them while they were jumping, gave a few follow-up calls, packed it in, and was back on the road.

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