WPX Contest - Bald Ledge
Working the world with 5 watts
By Jim Cluett W1PID
Hanz W1JSB and I hiked up to Bald Ledge
in New Hampton this afternoon.
You should have seen Hanz working the
WPX contest on SSB with only 5 watts!
He worked 7 countries in about a half
hour. Everyone he called came back to
The trail starts out at Sky Pond. We walked
about 20 minutes before reaching the ledges.
For the most part the trail was dry, but we
hit several icy spots and some wet places too.
Hanz sunk five inches into the mud at one
place. We were more careful where we stepped
Bald Ledge is a beautiful spot overlooking Lake
Winona. Off to east you can see Lake Waukeewan
There aren't any tall trees around so we put up a
sloper. We used a 33 foot wire and the Par Electronics
tuner for 20 meters. It was sloping toward the East
and Europe was coming in like gangbusters. Hanz
worked UK, Spain, Germany, Belgium, and Serbia
After Hanz worked a string of contest stations I
made a few CW QSOs. I worked Slovenia and Russia
then switched to SSB and worked France.
We packed up and headed back. Not too far
from Sky Pond we angled back through the
woods up an old range road. There were some
abandoned electric poles and wires that we followed
for a quarter of a mile or so. They ended up near an
old foundation in the middle of the woods. The
spot was warm and had some tall beech trees.
We decided to set up again. It was a goofy
idea, but fun none-the-less. This time the antenna
was perfectly vertical.
Once again Hanz started making contacts on
20 meter SSB. He worked Belgium, Germany
and Spain with the FT-817 and 5 watts from this
rock under the beech tree. I was grinning from
ear to ear.
On the way back, Hanz turned on the FT-857 in
his car. He had a 20 meter hamstick mounted on
the trunk. When he heard a Swedish station
calling CQ, Hanz answered. Right away the station
came back and Hanz had a CW QSO from Dana
Hill Road to the other side of the ocean.
It's amazing how much fun you can have on
a spring afternoon with a few watts and some