Mini Expedition 2017

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

Callsign: w8v

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.

We had a blast, I would do it again in the heart beat! Hopefully, we’ll be en route to some other exotic place in the hills of West Virginia within the next year or so! Stay tuned!






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