Following my failed attempt at activating the Captain John Smith Trail (TR21) back in July, I figured it was time to try again. This time, I headed down to Havre de Grace, Maryland, to activate an NPOTA twofer: TR21 and the Star Spangled Banner Trail (TR22).
I have always had a fondness for Northeastern Maryland. I went through Navy Radioman School at the former Bainbridge Naval Training Center back in the early 70s and frequently traveled through this area during my working days. The town of Havre de Grace has always been one of my favorite places. It’s a scenic little town that is steeped in history.
For this trip, I made the hour and a half drive down to Tydings Memorial Park in Havre de Grace. I set up in the parking lot near a marina. I got as close to the waterfront as possible but some overhead power lines kept me from taking a parking spot at the water’s edge.
After setting up my KX3 and my 29.5-foot vertical, I started calling CQ on 40 meters. Things got off to a slow start. After 15 minutes without a contact, a Havre de Grace police cruiser rolled up to see what I was up to. I gave him my ham radio/NPOTA spiel but he seemed more interested in the mechanics of my 31-foot Jackite pole. After chatting for a bit, he told me to have fun and left.
Eventually, I scored my first contact. Right about that time, K4JDF pulled up. Bernie, who lives in Havre de Grace, saw my spot on Facebook and stopped by to visit. After chatting with Bernie for a bit, things got busy on 40 meters.
While working a mini pile-up on 40 meters, I was battling some intermittent issues with my paddles. At one point, I had to put the KX3 in straight key mode and use one side of my paddles as a straight key. I eventually got that issue resolved. A little later, I inadvertently hit the wrong button on the KX3 and put the receive filter in some weird state. I eventually got that straightened out, too.
After shifting to 20 meters, things got pretty intense for a bit. The band seemed to really be open to the western states. After things thinned out on 20 meters, I took a few pictures and packed up for the trip home.
Some other highlights:
- Working fellow QRPer, W1PID. Jim was out on a trail in New Hampshire.
- Working N3FJP. Scott is the developer of ACLog (among others), which I use for my main station log. I think this is the first time I’ve worked Scott on the air.
This was a beautiful Fall day. It was “t-shirt weather,” for sure. I’m hoping to squeeze in a few more activations before the end of the year.
72/73, Craig WB3GCK