Three Late Summer Outings

September, 2009

No matter how many times I do it, it's still magic,
and each time I work a station from the field, I'm
both excited and amazed. Today I took a quick hike
into Swain's field in Sanbornton and heaved a wire
into a tree. I worked Romania and Germany within a
few minutes, then continued on my walk.

The last few days have been glorious. In the 70s, with
clear, dry air. Today I went up the range road across
from Hunkins Pond. The road runs right through Swain's
dairy farm. Fields border the lane as it heads uphill.
The first field has an expansive view to the south.

I threw a 33 foot wire into one of the sugar maples
alongside the stone wall and sat down in the field,
surrounded by white and purple clover blossoms.
I hooked up the ATS-3 and tuned up from the bottom
of 20 meters. YO3JR in Romania was calling CQ. Andy
and I made a quick contact and I continued tuning.
The second station I heard was DL8PG, Gerd, in Germany.
He gave me a 549 and he was 579 running 500 watts
with a 3 element beam. When I told him I was running
4 watts, he sent "Oh, very good with 4 watts." With that
I packed up and continued the walk.

I've gotten out three times this week with the
QRP rig. The day before yesterday, I went for a bike
ride with my wife, Judy, in Old Hill Village.

Old Hill Village is about the nicest place in the
world to ride a bicycle. The road follows the
Pemigewasset River from Franklin to Bristol
through Hill on the west side of the river. The
village was abandoned in the 1940's to make
room for flood control behind the Franklin Falls
Dam. It's an area with fields and forests, perfect
for bicycles and working DX.

The smells and sounds of late summer filled
the air.

We rode our bikes for several miles, then turned
up a laneway into an old field. The area had
once been the village school yard. I tossed my
antenna wire into an ancient maple and sat
down on the grass below. A bobwhite called
from a few hundred yards across the field.
UR3HC was calling CQ from half way around
the world in the Ukraine.

It was a quick QSO and Alex gave me a 559. 
I packed up and we rode back. But not before
stopping by an apple tree laden with tiny wild
apples. They were sweeter by far than any
store-bought apples.

The next day we rode our bikes again... this time
on the east side of the river in Sanbornton. There
was never such a day.

We rode about a mile and a half north along the Pemigewasset.
We stopped at a bend in the river and gazed in wonder
across the water to an island. A dazzling display of  light
from the sunshine reflected off the water. It's not the
usual sparkling of sunlight on the water surface,
but a swirling, dancing show of brilliant explosions
of white light in constant motion seemingly floating above
the water. It is a dance of sun fairies in the glow of the
late afternoon and we are mesmerized by it. After a few
moments it fades and we continue on.

We turn into a field next to the old bridge abutment.
The bridge connected Sanbornton and Hill years ago.
In the height of summer boys swim out into the river and
climb the old stone supports. From 25 feet above the water,
they leap into the flowing river shouting as they fall. But
this afternoon it is all quiet save the sound of crickets.

I toss my wire into an oak tree along the shore. I have the ATS-3
and the band is excellent. I make four contacts within ten minutes.
Karen, OL16B in the Czech Republic gives me a 559. He is 579.
Then OP4F in Antwerp gives me a 559. Jean is a 589. After that
I work CO6WD in Cuba and Chris, F6EAZ in France. I pack everything
up and Judy and I walk south through the field along the river.

The field is rife with golden rod and asters. Here and there colonies
of milkweed are starting to fade toward the yellow of fall. A beaver
swims across to the shore on our side. He is in no hurry and leaves
a wide wake.The trees glow in the late afternoon sunlight and the
greens come alive in a vibrant show of true color.

It is all magic. The radio contacts, the colors, the sky, the river,
and the land.