SOTA W8V/EP-001: Third Hill Mt

This trail in West Virginia is closer to Washington, DC than yesterday’s trails (W3/WE-001 and W3/WE-002) in Maryland. It is a pleasant, easy trail, and one where I didn’t run into anyone else at all.

A stretch of the trail up is carpeted in moss.

Maps show the entrance to Beacon Trail alongside Hampshire Grade Road at roughly 39.45019N, 78.18652W. There is one or maybe two-car gravel parking space just opposite the trail head, and the trail head is clearly marked and visible from the road.

Trailhead for the Beacon Trail as seen from the road.

Follow the blue-blazed trail in from the road. In late April, parts of the trail were soggy, so waterproof boots are recommended. That trail is maintained by a conservancy group, but when I went, there were a number of downed trees across the trail, so I am not sure how often they come through with a chain saw, but it required me to occasionally route around obstacles.

The slope is very gradual and feels flat for long stretches. The walk in is about 1.5 km, and total rise is about 100m, but feels like less. At the peak, there is a metal fire tower. It has a ladder and the rungs looked intact and not too rusted, but being alone, I decided not to try climbing up. Instead, I pitched my end-fed antenna into one of the surrounding tall trees.

The fire tower, towards the middle, obscured partially by trees.

I had a good run on 20m and 40m cw and, for a change, plugged the mike in and had some ssb QSOs on 20m as well. I did hoist the VHF roll-up J-pole and was able to work some local repeaters, but I did not land anyone on either 2m or 70cm FM simplex.

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