Spruce Knob West Virginia, Elevation 4,863 feet, the highest point in West Virginia and the highest peak in the Allegheny Mountains.
Date: 8-18-2017 though 8-20-2017
The Coal Country Amateur Radio Club planned this outing well in advance. We had our campsite reserved many months before the trip. We coordinated with the National Radio Quiet Zone in Greenbank West Virginia to make sure we did not cause any interference and we made sure that operating from the platform on top of Spruce Knob was allowed by the National Park Service. We had several people wanting to go, but with K8VYD’s xyl about to bear their first child, two of our fold didn’t make it, grandpappy K8KDC was on “baby watch” duty. And we’re happy to report the new addition to Ham radio was born and all is well 🙂 There were others that had wanted to go, but it came down to three of our members and one father thereof.
We set out in the early evening on Friday, August 18 2017 for the 4 hour trek through the hills of West Virginia to get to our campsite. Myself (wv0cq) and Roy (kd8vyo) went the southern route across I-64. Tristan (ke8enc) and his father (not yet a ham) went the northern route up I-79. Roy and I were held up along the way, despite this, we were able to make it to the Spruce Knob Lake Campground before Tristan. Turned out, Tristan lost a wheel off of the utility trailer that was borrowed from kq8usa (Jim Nelson) for the trip. They tried to make repairs, or find a wheel, and the result of which was two 5 gallon bucket lids, duct-taped together. We eventually bore a hole through the center, aligned it with the axle, then secured it in place with what else? More duct-tape. Red Green would be proud!
Let me tell you, it’s absolutely amazing how much gear three ham operators can take in three different trucks! We had our choice of equipment. Several different rigs and several different antennas were used by our crew to make a bunch of contacts. We were able to have successful QSO’s from Germany to California, from northern Ontario down into Central America. We worked 10, 20, 17, 40 on vertical antennas and 40/80m ever-so-briefly on a dipole.
We had planned to operate on 40/80m well up into Saturday night, but the weather started looking rough. We had a big storm rolling in with air-to-ground lightning. Considering we were on top of the tallest point in the State of West Virginia, we decided to bug-out prior to the storm becoming an issue.
The following day, we decided to forego any more Knob operations. We took a drive down to the Spruce Knob Lake and then each of us went our separate ways.
Posted in Mini Expeditions by admin
The Coal Country Amateur Radio Club ventured out into the Mountain Tops of Wild and Wonderful West Virginia for a 24 hour mini-expedition, 4-wheeling and camping excursion. Four members of the club made it to the top of an 1890′ peak at coordinates 38.015223° -81.798769° where we setup base camp and our radios/antennas. We were able to make many contacts from our location, however, due to the DX contest taking place this weekend, we were not able to make as many contacts as we would have liked. John Holstein (WV8JBH) was able to successfully check in with his OMISS net and make a few contacts, Ken and Matt were able to tune in various repeaters and make contacts as far away as Bristol Tennessee through a repeater in that location. We experimented with two different types of antennas, a vertical “Eagle One” and a multi-band di-pole, both were tunable and workable on selected bands.
Here’s a shot of my Side-x-Side, loaded up and ready to head out from the house:
Let’s take a look at Matt Cregger’s (KD8VYD) Deuce as it heads up the mountain for the final leg of the trip. Riding shotgun is the CCARC President and Matt’s dad Ken Cregger (KB8GLY):
Here’s a video of the last bit of 4-wheeling in the Deuce before arrival at the campsite. Matt’s Deuce is like a goat in the mountains, it shredded everything put in it’s path.
Now, in order to setup a proper campsite, we had to get food on the table as quickly as possible. with some help from the KP crew of Ken, Matt and Roy, John threw together a “Deer Stew” into a Dutch Oven where we cooked over charcoal while we setup the rest of the camp…..
Here’s Matt splitting some firewood:
A few shots of the sunset, as seen from camp:
Here’s some more shots of the West Virginia Mountains:
Here’s a screenshot of some of the contacts we made over the weekend. Like I said above, we didn’t make a lot of contacts because the bands were absolutely saturated from folks on the DX contest. That’s ok though, we had a great time, made a few contacts from multiple countries and various states, had a great deer stew, told stories and enjoyed the outdoors.
And finally, here we are loaded up and ready to head off the mountain. It was a great trip, one that we hope to make an annual event in the future.
Posted in Mini Expeditions by admin