The First Activation of Spy Rock, W2/GC-075

Dave, W2VV and I were planning on activating Slide Mountain, but on the way there I suggested we try a new summit…Spy Rock. Spy Rock was so named because it was from this location that George Washington’s scouts spied on British ships sailing in the Hudson River during the Revolutionary War.

This past beautiful Sunday afternoon Dave and I parked at the Reservoir Road parking lot and headed into the park. For our entire 3.5 mile hike we could hear what sounded like thunder in the background…even though it was a clear day. While going over the peak of Misery Mountain, we worked an aeronautical mobile station, I believe it was W1JG or W2JG.

Finally we arrived at Spy Rock, a large rock summit with a singular wide and short pine tree growing out of the center…a nice shady spot. It was at this point that we realized what the thunder we heard actually was…it was artillery fire from the nearby West Point Army Academy. Within about an hour the artillery fire changed to machine gun fire with the sound of mechanized infantry moving…about 45 minutes after that the firing stopped and we heard the sound of helicopters. It was fun to daydream about some student being graded at his effectiveness at machine gunning the enemy…

I setup a 4 element 2m beam on a mast and Dave setup his end fed wire for 20m to work cw with his Elecraft KX1. I was quite excited because this was my first attempt at using my FT-817 with my new BX-184 built in voice keyer and internal venom lithium pack. The voice keyer was a godsend and the 2m contacts kept on coming. Dave worked some Bumblebee event and had a grand time on CW.

We didn’t have many visitors and packed up with enough daylight to just barely get back to the car. On the way back to the car we bumped into the forest manager who told us a little about all of the research projects going on in the surrounding forest. Apparently the whole park is supported by research dollars from universities and in return the universities get to conduct natural reasearch. We even came across a ham radio standard telescoping tower of at least 100 feet that was being used for some sort of forestry experiment.

A grand time was had by all and I made several 100 mile contacts on 2m as well as a pair of 10m contacts while Dave worked at least 6 chasers on cw and a bunch of bumblebees.

Tom, N2YTF