Pine Grove Furnace State Park (KFF-1398)

The XYL and I made the 2+ hour trip to spend the weekend at Pine Grove Furnace State Park, one of our favorite campgrounds. It’s a beautiful park and is the halfway point on the 2000 mile Appalachian Trail. It had been 2 years since our last visit here, so we were definitely overdue.

Located in south-central Pennsylvania, Pine Grove Furnace is one of Pennsylvania’s gems.  The park features the remains of the Pine Grove Iron Works, along with two mountain lakes, hiking trails (in addition to the Appalachian Trail) and a beautifully wooded campground.  If you stop by the camp store, you might see Applachian Trail “thru hikers” celebrate reaching the halfway point by taking the “Half-Gallon Challenge”.  The challenge is to eat a half-gallon of ice cream in one sitting.  Pine Grove is also home to the fascinating Appalachian Trail museum.

Although it wasn’t my primary focus this weekend, I got a little radio time in. The monthly SKCC Weekend Sprintathon (WES) contest was going on and I wanted to squeeze in a Parks on the Air (POTA) activation of KFF-1398.

Our campsite at Pine Grove Furnace State Park.

Our campsite in the Charcoal Hearth Campground in Pine Grove Furnace State Park.  My Jackite pole vertical is just out of the picture on the other side of the picnic table.

We had almost no cell phone service at our campsite, so I was concerned about not being able to spot myself for the POTA activation. Fortunately, while we were out getting a few supplies, I managed to post my operating plans on the POTA Facebook group.

WB3GCK making some straight key contacts from the trailer.

WB3GCK making some straight key contacts from the trailer.

When I got back to our campsite, I called CQ for about 30 minutes on 40, 30 and 20 meters with no success. Eventually, KG8P found me on 40 meters and gave me a call from Michigan. After he spotted me on the DX reflector things picked up for a bit. I wrapped up my one-hour session falling a few short of the ten contacts needed to qualify my activation. The good news, however, is that the SKCC contacts I made pushed me well over the top.

Pine Grove Furnace State Park is also home to the Appalachian Trail Museum. They have some fascinating exhibits on the history of the trail and some of the early hikers.

Pine Grove Furnace State Park is also home to the Appalachian Trail Museum. They have some fascinating exhibits on the history of the trail and some of the early hikers.

It was a nice weekend with some great Fall weather. We won’t wait so long for our next trip to this great park.

73, Craig WB3GCK

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