QRP Joy on Mount Misery

I can’t believe it– three decent weekends in a row.  Thanks to El Niño, we’re headed for record temperatures this weekend.  I definitely needed to take advantage of these mild temperatures.  So, I drove down to Valley Forge National Historic Park to do some portable operating.  I had planned to operate from Mount Misery (aka Valley Forge Mountain) for a while but never got around to it.

Following some directions that my friend, Carter N3AO,  gave me, I hiked up the Mount Misery Trail.  Carter operated a QRP field contest there years ago and said it was a nice spot.  I hiked in about a mile and branched off onto the Horse-Shoe Trail for another half-mile or so.  Most of the other hikers seemed to be staying on the Mount Misery Trail.  I figured the Horse-Shoe Trail would be more secluded.  I was right.  The only other person I saw was a Park Watch volunteer.  She came by as I was trying to figure out where to hang my antenna.  I’m sure she was wondering why I was standing there staring up into the trees.

The intersection of the Mount Misery and Horseshoe trails.

The intersection of the Mount Misery and Horse-Shoe trails.

My biggest challenge of the day was getting my antenna up in the trees.  I continued to hike looking for something that resembled a clearing.  The woods up there are dense and there is a lot of brush just waiting to snag my antenna wire.  After about 20  minutes, I managed to get my LNR EFT-10/20/40 EFHW antenna up.  I set up my trusty YouKits HB-1B and got on the air.

My operating position on Mount Misery.

My operating position on Mount Misery.

I called CQ on 20 meters and AF5BA answered from Arkansas.  After that, I got a call from fellow QRP Polar Bear, WA8REI.  Ken was also QRP portable, operating from his trailer in a deer camp in Michigan.  Next up was VE1BA in Nova Scotia.  John’s  5-watt signal was booming into Pennsylvania.

I moved down to 40 meters, but I didn’t hear a lot of activity.  I tuned around and heard NM1I calling CQ from Massachusetts.  I gave him a call and we had a nice chat.

I took a break to stretch my legs and take a few pictures before heading back to 20 meters.  I worked the VE9CRM club station in New Brunswick.  The operator was VE9BEL.  Their club station was putting out a very strong signal.

WB3GCK operating on Mount Misery in Valley Forge, PA

WB3GCK operating on Mount Misery in Valley Forge

I was getting ready to shut down when I heard KG0YR calling me from Missouri.  Dave was running 1 watt and had a nice signal.  On his heels was K4AKC from Alabama.  Tom was running 5 watts.  I hated to cut our QSO short, but I needed to pack up and hike back down the hill.

All in all, it was a productive 2 hours.

Trail marker on the Horseshoe Trail

Trail marker on the Horse-Shoe Trail

I did have one take away from today’s outing.  I have been using 20 lb. test monofilament line with a 2-ounce lead sinker to get my antenna up.  It works great, but the line becomes completely invisible in the woods.  I need to get some high-visibility line and paint the sinker.

Across from Mount Misery is another mount named… Wait for it…  Mount Joy!  That’s on my list for a future outing.

73/72, Craig WB3GCK

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4 Responses to QRP Joy on Mount Misery

  1. Tom K4AKC says:

    Nice pictures! And a nice signal into Alabama. I’ve been using a 3 mm yellow woven nylon (I believe) cord to sling up and over a tree branch. The yellow is easy to see; it rolls up into a sandwich bag. I bought it at a camping/rock-climbing store. GL with future QRP hikes. -TH

  2. wb3gck says:

    Thanks for the QSO, Tom! Whenever I used nylon line, I had to lay it out on the ground before throwing. Invariably, it would get caught on something. With the fishing line, I hold the spool in one hand and throw with the other. I let the line run out of the spool like I’m a human fishing rod! 🙂

    Anyway, many thanks for the QSO and the signal report from Alabama.

    72, Craig WB3GCK

  3. Tim Carter says:


    Now that was a rocking story. I felt like I was there! Fantastic photos that really put us right there with you.

    Congrats on the success!

    W1PID and K1SWL and I are going out today here in NH. Insane WX forecast is 51 F and some sun.

    P.S. Watch out for that Carter guy, especially if he says he knows where an ice cream parlor is….. 😉

  4. wb3gck says:

    Thanks, Tim. Have fun today!

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