Sunday, November 06, 2005

Pulpit Rock on the AT in PA with WA3WSJ:

I have been corresponding with Ed Breneiser, WA3WSJ, via email for several weeks concerning "scenic vistas on the AT in PA." Ed indicated that one of their local spots, Pulpit Rock, was "just about as good as it gets for the AT in PA." That was good enough for me so I took a vacation day from work, got up at 4 am on Friday the 4th of Nov. and drove the 120 miles to Hamburg, PA. We met at 8 am and drove out to the parking area and began our hike into the site. The fall colors were spectacular, the temps in the mid 50's, sunny and windless. It doesn't get much better than this. The 2.5 mile hike in was painless due to the non-stop conversation and the breathtaking weather and scenic fall colors. The site at the top is part of the LeHigh Valley Astronomy club and consists of a cleared mountain top area for their 4 observatories. The "Rock" itself is a overlook of the Reading valley area. Very scenic and the views south were great.

I set my 20m vertical up in a grassy area near one of the observatories. Ed was nearby on 40m. We made a number of contacts, my best into Europe (Budapest Hungary). After an hour of operating in the HOT sun, we packed up and walked back to the vehicles. Temps were now in the low 70's. Outstanding for this time of the year.

We drove over for lunch at Cabela's who claim to be the "world's largest outfitters". Their PA store is HUGE and an outdoor enthusiasts dream world! Lunch was great and filling. We were then off for the 30 min drive to Round Rock, our overnight destination and a 3.5 mile hike in over "typically rocky" AT trail terrain. We were with full packs now: mine at an overweight, carry everything-you-might-ever-need 45# and Ed's a more seasoned veterans weight of 30-35#. After a mile or so, the rock "scramble" began over challengingly difficult, very rocky and very leaf-covered trail terrain. The heavy leaf cover made travel slow because you were never sure of your footing! We got to the ridge campsite about an hour before sunset (5pm EST), quickly put up antennas and tents. I tried 30m for the first time with my vertical. I was not pleased. I need to check continuity of my elements. I should have brought my new, multi-band dipole instead. Conditions were only "ok" and I had to really work for contacts.

There was a firepit at the site so we made a very nice campfire. I think I enjoyed the campfire as much as the remote, field operating. The temps were still mild and there was very little wind. We both retired to our tents about 8pm. I was tired because of my long day and only operated for about an hour.

The next morning I converted the vertical to 20m and was making a number of contacts with several into Europe. Always enjoyable to work EU on 5 watts! The K1 has such a great receiver! We hung around until about 11:30, then packed up and hiked out. Ed had his daughter's 30th birthday party that afternoon so we had to get him out and I had the 2-1/2 drive back to NJ. All in all it was great overnight and a pleasure to meet Ed and see some great hiking and vista areas on the AT.
Ed's Comments on the Elecraft Reflector were:

"Well I met Guy, N7UN, for the first time on Friday morning. We drove to the Hamburg Reservoir Parking Lot and then hiked the 2.5 miles up to Pulpit Rock. I used my K1 with my VBWFPA. Guy used a vertical too. Guy worked 20m while I worked 40m. Thanks to all who called us. I must apologize. I was using my Palm PDA to log and I just can't get used to it. I will use a paper log and my AT Paddle only for all future trips. We hiked 5 miles Friday morning then drove to Cabela's for lunch. We then drove west to Rt.501 and started the next hike about 2:30pm. Guyand I hiked another 3.5 miles out to Round Head and set up camp there-it was great! Warm sunny weather with a big blue sky. We set up camp just as darkness fell on us. I then started a nice campfire and we just sat there gazing at the fire under a starlight sky. Guys, it doesn't get any better than that! On Saturday morning I made contact with a K8 in MI, but my palm froze up. It gave me some funny memory error that I couldn't clear? So I took the batteries out and reinstalled them. To mysurprise it cleared the error, but also cleared all my apps on the Palm too! I had no way to send cw as I forgot my AT Paddle when I changed packs! The lookout near the camp has a killer view to the west and all the trees look like they're on fire! We could see the entire mountain we hiked out to get to Round Head. We both had a great time, but my feet are feeling the 12 miles we hiked! Guy is looking into a hike this year yet to the top of a 3K+ mountain in NJ or NY. I have decided to upgrade my K1 by putting 4-band board, backlight and tuner into my K1. Guy's K1 backlight was so cool! So that's the rest of the story! More to come later from the Nomad.....72, Ed, WA3WSJ"

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