Mountain Pond in October
by Jim Cluett
This afternoon Hanz W1JSB and I hiked to
Mountain Pond. It's a remote reservoir for
the nearby town of New Hampton. We set
up on 20 meters and operated for about
half an hour. Between us we worked nearly
a dozen stations including Oregon, Florida and
The trail beckoned us onward right from the
beginning. Brilliant fall foliage lined the pathway
both underfoot and on the branches.
I haven't been to Mountain Pond in perhaps
five years. It's a remote area about a mile
and a quarter West of Spectacle Pond off
Rt. 132 in Sanbornton. The day was perfect
for a hike.
Along the trail we came upon several huge trees
blocking our way. They came down last summer
when a microburst cut right through the area.
After walking for nearly 40 minutes we reached
The place is stunning. All around the pond
and in the hills beyond, the trees are in
brilliant color. Beaver lodges and cuttings are
easily seen. A huge hawk soars overhead and
moose and deer tracks can be seen in the mud
along the water's edge. We set up our antennas on
a pine knoll about 40 feet from the water.
Hanz put up an end fed wire as a sloper. The
end is up about 30 feet and it's a perfect
45 degree sloper. I also use an end fed but have
it straight up as a vertical.
The wind is whistling and it's only slightly
above 40. By the time we're ready to operate
our hands are pretty cold.
Hanz sits on a huge tree trunk with his SW-20.
He's added lots of enhancements like an LED
frequency readout, a touch keyer and battery
We hear mostly stations in the FOC contest and
work a bunch of them. I am using the ATS-2. We
switch off. Hanz works a couple of stations, then
I do the same.
I don't hear a lot of DX at the bottom of the band.
But the FOC stations are pounding in way over
S-9. I work K4XU, Dick in Oregon who graciously
congratulates me on the QRP signal. I also worked
Bob N4BP using the Second Class Operators call
W1SOC. Before shutting down I managed to work
HA9RT, Joska in Hungary. He was one of the few
European stations I heard today.
On the return hike the sun was lower and bathed
the leaves in light. We stopped on the trail
several times just to soak in the magic of it all.
A combination of wind and rain due this coming
week will probably put an end to the enchantment.