Rove from Cape Hatteras area to North Jersey
The Lighthouse Rover II is going out on its first January rove for this contest. We will start in Nags Head, NC and head north back to home. Karen (my wife and my driver) wants to stay close to the shoreline. So, while we won't have too many stops with any elevation, we should have a lot of stops with a good water view. Some will be to the north east and some will be to the northwest and west.
Here is our schedule, probably the first one we've ever published. Let's hope we can keep to it. Bands will be 50, 144, 222, 442, and 1296 (no 900). We'll try to keep an ear on 144.232 and 144.200. All times are local EST.
Information on all locations can be found on the N2MH RoveSite Locator Page . Almost all locations are new for us and those marked with an asterisk * are new for anybody. Thanks to Bill, W3IY for suggesting the ones used on Saturday.
From the QST contest report written by Bill Seabreeze, W3IY:
Mother nature often fools us in winter with some nice weather, leading us to believe that the January contest might be blessed with some reasonable conditions. Not this year! Wind, rain, ice and snow seemed to characterize this event for many operators across the country.
Karen and I left home on Friday morning for the all day drive down to Hatteras. When we got down to the area, we scoped out a couple of the sites recommended by Bill, W3IY. At the FM26ai site, we actually ran into him and Christophe, ON4IY who were checking out their equipment. We chatted for a while and agreed to meet for breakfast at the motel the next morning.
At the motel that night, we took the opportunity to make a Y-cable for our GPS feed so that it could be used by two different programs on the laptop.
We were also keeping an eye on the weather for the next couple of days. A storm covering the mid-Atlantic area was forecast and we watched its progress very closely.
We met Bill and Christophe for breakfast at the motel. Afterwards, we went out to the parking lot and inspected each other's rig and took some pictures (see below).
We also kept an eye on the weather forecast. As expected, the storm kept approaching and the forecast was not good. As the morning progressed, it became clear that the area that we had chosen for our rove was the exact area that would be affected by the storm. Just before we left for the contest, we made the decision to completely forego our plans and head straight home and try to outrun the storm. We informed Bill and Christophe and took off early and started the contest from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel coffee shop parking lot, FM16wx.
At the parking lot we worked a number of stations. When we were through, we proceeded up the coast and eventually ran into snow in the late afternoon. We continued on to the Lewes/Cape May Ferry parking lot in Delaware, FM28ks, where we waited an hour and half for the next ferry and contested during that time. By now, the storm had abated for us and there was no more snow. It stayed this way for us for the remainder of the weekend but it was cold!
Getting off the ferry in Cape May, NJ, we decided to run the FM28/FM29 grid line in North Wildwood (FM28ox and FM29ax). We did this right on the beach and took up positions in each grid about a block apart from each other. While we were there, we worked K1DS/R who happened to be operating from the ferry parking lot. When we drove off the ferry, we probably drove right past him and didn't know it, just like two ships passing in the night.
After leaving North Wildwood, we drove straight home and didn't stop anywhere, just working stations as we travelled. Once home, we went to sleep for the night.
Essentially, what we had planned to do in two days, got shrunk down to one day and we skipped almost all of the stops we had planned to make. In retrospect, it turned out to be a wise decision to outrun the storm. We only had an hour or two of light snow. See the photos section below for the precipitation report for the mid-Atlantic area for late Saturday night.Grids Covered On Saturday
Since we had completely discarded our planned rove for the contest we had to come up with a route that would take us from home and back to home in one day and cover several grids. We managed to do that and were able to discover a new operating spot in the process.
We hastily put together a route for the day and covered 4 local grids. As expected, our local stop at the Eagle Rock Reservation, FN20vt, was a very good choice for Sunday morning netting some 70 QSO's (almost every vhf ham in the NYC area). We then went to the State Line Lookout, FN30bx, and got to High Point, FN21qh, just as they were closing. Since we couldn't operate there, we returned to a rest stop on I-84 that we spotted on the way in. Finally, we closed out the contest at a shopping center in FN20pv.
Fortunate, the weather was good all day Sunday (bright and sunny but cold) with no snow.Grids Covered on Sunday
|The Intergalactic Battle Jitney, W3IY/R (left) and the Lighthouse Rover II, N2MH/R (right) ready to do battle.||N2MH Photo
||Christophe, ON4IY (left) and Bill, W3IY (right) just before heading out for the contest.|
|Mark, N2MH (left) and Bill, W3IY just before heading out for the contest.||ON4IY Photo
||Precipitation report for Saturday night. If we had kept to our plans, we would have been right in the middle of that mess (right by the word "Salisbury")!|
The Lighthouse Rover II placed first in the Northern New Jersey Section, and first in the Hudson Division and just out of the running for the North East Division. Overall, we came in 21st nationwide.