Monday, November 14, 2005

Bearfort Fire Tower, NJ for the Polar Bear Outing:

This was the initial message from Ron Polityka announcing a Polar Bear "outing" on Sunday, Nov. 13th.

Hello, This Sunday, Nov. 13th we plan on having another Polar Bear Moonlight Madness Run. The actual full moon is on Nov. 15th but we are going to do it on the weekend.November is the Full Beaver Moon.Please send me an e-mail if you plan on going out that evening and I will place you on the list.So far we have the following:WB3AAL 40, 30 or 20 CW
WA3WSJ 40 or 20 PSKNK8Q 40, 30 or 20 CWK3YTR 75 SSBKB3JNE VHFKB3JND VHFVE3WMB 40 & 20 CWVA3SIE 40 & 20 CWWA8REI 40 & 20 CWN7UN/2 40 & 20

CWAll frequencies will be around the QRP Freq. + or - due to QRM

72 and Thanks,
Ron Polityka, WB3AALPolar Bear #2 (

I went up to the BearFort Fire Tower which is about 10 mins from my house but is on the BearFort Mtns, actually a ridge, that runs north and south in north New Jersey. It has a great overlook west and east and is about 400' or so HAAT. So the RF takeoff angles are great. It was warm with temps in the mid-50s but a 15 -20 mph south wind will keep it chilly as nightfall approaches. It was clouding up since a weather front was approaching from the west with expected rain after midnight.

It's about a 15 min hike up the fire access road to the fire tower. It was really pretty since about 80% of the leaves have fallen but some leaves on the more hardy trees were still hanging on. The road itself was completely leaf covered. Surprisingly the Fire Tower was manned as there was motorcycle at its base. This was a first for me and kind of surprising for this late in the year. I climbed the tower stairs and connected my dipole rope thru a pulley that I left in place from my last visit. The other dipole end is strung through a tree about 150' away...this is a nice setup which results in my multiband dipole having an average heigth of about 35' or so. Excellent! Sunset was at 5pm and I took about 45 mins to get everything installed. It was starting to get cooler and the wind was steady out of the south. The almost full moon was rising behind the thin overcast in the east. I got on the air on 40m but was inundated with eu RTTY contesters....they occupied frequencies down to 7020. I made a couple of QSO's but was fighting the RTTY guys. No fun. So I lowered the dipole and switched over to 30m. My first with this antenna and at this site. Boy did it work great! I had a number of good QSO's and everyone was surprised at my QRP signal strengths. I was getting colder....I really needed another layer of windbreakers, especially for my legs. I had my gloves on and sending CW was a bit of challenge. It was real dark now; the overcast clouds were blocking most of the full moon light. My "red" LED headlight was doing a great excessive "white" lights to night blind me. I was getting cold and made some mental notes to bring more layers on my next polar bear outing. The wind chill was the challenge and my hands were cold in spite of some poly gloves I had on. I know I would have been warmer if I had a windbreaker layer on top of what I was wearing. The problem is that you are stationary and not moving when operating and consequently getting cold. The highlight of the evening was a call by a previous contact from the same site, CU2JT, Gary, who heard me calling CQ and answered. We had a good QSO for nearly 45 mins or so. It was now about 6:45pm, cloudy, dark, and cold with temps around 45-deg f. The wind was still at 15-20 mph from the south. I was cold so I packed up and hiked out. To disassemble takes about 30 mins total. Not bad at all.
Here's the original call for the Polar Bear outing:

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