Wachusett Mt W1/CR-001 Activation Washout

Today was going to be primarily an equipment checkout, so a “drive up” activation was the order of the day. It’s been years since I’ve been to the top of Wachusetts, but it’s much as I remembered. Lovely view, and easy drive up, but lots of people. A short hike from the parking lot to the activation point, giving extra time for experimentation.

Alas, despite checking weather reports prior to going to bed and seeing a clear day ahead with rain forecast in the late evening, there was overcast upon arrival in the morning. Not a bad ting in and of itself, but 10 minutes after getting set up (new 3 band 1/4 wave vertical antenna) the drizzle started, then it really came down. XYL and I toughed it out for a bit, hoping it would abate, but no such luck. Rain continued for another hour and we decided to pack it in for the day, as we were both getting cold. Thank goodness I brought the tarp along for a bit of shelter, or the radios would have been very wet.

About all that happened was a quick WSPR on 20 meters to see how the bands were doing (got as far as Germany, and a lot on the west coast of the US). Guess that doesn’t count as an activation :slight_smile:

But the day wasn’t a total waste. A young man stopped by just as we got the last guy rope in place and were preparing to start operations. He said he was studying for his Technician class license and was planning on taking the exam soon. He was fascinated by the idea of operating on the local summits, and was inspired to study for the General class license on the basis of that (he said he lived in an apartment and considered HF operation impossible, but now thought differently). We chatted for quite some time as the rain fell, waiting for it all to let up. Some other hikers expressed interest and admiration that a mere 5 watts could talk to the world. As a social event it was a hit.

Now that we know a great spot to set up, we’ll return to do a real activation on W1/CR-001 soon. Moreover, I’ll remember to check the weather before we leave the house! It’s usually pretty accurate 12 hours out, but New England is like that… No real harm done, but I had been looking forward to trying the new 15-17-20 1/4 wave vertical antenna and the HiMite VXO 20 meter Xcvr putting out a mighty 250 milliwatts. It’s been years since I made a QSO on that little rig, and had finally decided to box it up so it could be taken into the field. Next time for sure.