This year was different. I headed out early and set up the PAR ENDFEDZ, using the Jackite pole and my drive on mast support. One thing you notice when you get up there is how quiet it is. There weren't many people up there, even though it's an easy drive to the top and its a local tourist attraction. All I was able to hear was the breeze rustling through the trees.
Set up went easy, like a hot knife through butter. It turned out that there was a conveniently placed picnic table there, which provided a perfect operating location. Within minutes I was calling "CQ QRP".
The Sprint was scheduled to run from 4:00 - 8:00 PM EDT. On the way up, I noticed that the observation area is only open to 6:00 PM, so my participation was going to be limited. I worked the following:
All these stations were worked on 20 Meters. I tried going to 40 Meters for a while, but the static crashes and QRN were so vicious that I didn't stay there long. When I went back to 20 Meters to call CQ again, I knew it wouldn't be for long as I would have to begin packing things away soon for my return trip down the mountain.
That's when I had my "winner" QSO of the day. My "CQ QRP" was answered by DK7IT, Fred in Stuttgart, Germany. Fred was a loud 599 and I received a 579 in return. Fred was attracted by the "CQ QRP" and told me that he was not accustomed to hearing such clear QRP signals from the States. He was curious as to what the setup was, so I gave him the rundown. Admittedly, Fred's great signals were due to him running 100 Watts into a 3 element Yagi, but I guess the mountaintop location sure helped my QRP signal.
After my QSO with Fred, I quickly repackaged everything and made it down the mountain in time before closing. Not a ton of contacts were made, but I had a lot of fun and the DX QSO, which turned out to be a real "honest to goodness" QSO was icing on the cake. The cheeseburgers that I grilled for dinner when I got back to the cabin weren't half bad, either!
72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!