Ham and Astronomy!

I have been wanting to get my 8” dobsonian reflector up to Cherry Springs State Park PA (A International Dark Sky Park) on a clear moonless night and I did yesterday but not without bookending the observation session with two SOTA summits!

Yesterday I activated Prospect Hill W3/PW-072 I tried 6m and 10m but the Bands were closed and moved down to old reliables 20-40m and it must have been dinner time since I had to work for my 8 QSOs!

An hour away is the dark sky park which has a unique location on top of a “mountain” that was once a airstrip so the whole of the horizon is unobstructed 360* no towns are within a 18 mile radius and they are tiny-It’s a very cool place. Since it was a new moon HUNDREDS of people were there quite different from when years ago I would camp there with the place to myself! The cat is out of the bag…I made a list of 10 deep sky objects that just hint at something there from my semi-rural light polluted home but with the dark sky’s stood out brilliantly M51 the Whirlpool Galaxy was amazing looking like a spiral and bright!

I slept in the back of my Jeep. My key FOB has been warning the battery was low and this morning @630am I awoke trying to be quiet with many other campers still sleeping around I hit the power lock but the doors didn’t open! I next pulled the handle from the back seat and…….the anti-theft device activated!!! Horn and lights blaring and I couldn’t get it to stop. I was NOT popular with the other campers! It took me a couple minutes to figure out how to stop it.

Anyway I hightailed it out of there and hiked a dirt road up Lyon Hill W3/PW-069 for 8 points including transatlantic 3W! Thanks F4WBN Christian! before heading home.

Pennsylvania “mountain-field”

No pictures from astronomy park as I got there after dark and they (rightfully so) frown on any white lights or flashes!



That should attract attention. The summit chief on the MT is a professional astronomer. Further, there was a time when I asked all attendees at the Pacificon SOTA lunch to name their second favorite hobby. A fourth of them said astronomy.

Elliott, K6EL