SOTA W3/PT-001: Mt Davis

A view downward through trees of the activation site.
View from the top of the observation tower. My daughter waits patiently below for me to finish securing the antenna support line to the tower.

My final SOTA stop on the way back to Washington, DC from Indiana was at Mount Davis, the highest point in Pennsylvania. Arriving towards the end of the day, I did not take advantage of any of the hiking trails from around the mountain, but followed signs directly to the parking area. A path leads around to a metal observation tower and a path continues past the tower to a sort of rock garden with some informational plaques. Not far from the tower’s base, there are some large boulders, where I set up the radio.

I thought about operating from the top of the tower and tossing the end-fed antenna downward, but even as dusk approached, there were intermittent visitors to the tower, and I thought it better to set up from the ground. Also, I thought it would be better to have the far (low impedance/high current) end of the antenna elevated rather than the feed point. Consequently, I climbed the tower and draped a support rope over the upper railing and used the rope to haul up the antenna.

Ironically, considering the height, I did not have good cell phone coverage on T-mobile, even at the top of the tower. It took a while to get my four contacts, mostly by responding to their CQs rather than sending my own. The park closes at sunset, so I was eager to finish the activation while there was still light. In retrospect, I should have gone up the tower and tried for some FM contacts. There may not be a huge number of hams in the area, but given the height, there would be a good chance to picking someone up on simplex.

I had visited Sugarloaf Knob East earlier in the day, but ran out of time to visit the other peaks that I had plotted along the return route to Washington, DC: WE-001 and WE-002 — those will have to await my next trip through the area.

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