As a change of pace, Karen and I thought it would be interesting to do a rove along the coastline in North and South Carolina. And, we thought that January would be the perfect time to do it. So, next week, the Lighthouse Rover II will be on the road heading south. We had the Subaru repaired in December, so we will again rove in that vehicle and leave the Jeep home in NNJ.
On Saturday, we will start the contest just north of the Outer Banks and work our way down to Oak Island, NC, where we will spend the night. On Sunday morning, we will start at one of the town beaches on Oak Island and then follow our way down to the coastline, finishing up just south of Charleston. We have no set destinations on Sunday and will stop and operate at locations that look good when we come across them.
Thanks to the folks who responded to our posting asking for suggestions for operating sites. Many people mentioned the Chesapeake Bay-Bridge Tunnel sites. Having operated there before, we know that they are indeed very good sites for a rover. However, after plugging the anticipated route into the computer, it became obvious that if we started there, we wouldn't get to Oak Island until the middle of the night. (As it is, this route looks like we will arrive after midnight.) For the same reason, we will pass up several grid corners and stick to the coast.
We will try to stay around 144.200 or 144.232 for this trip. From there, we will QSY as needed. Please see Equipment Lineup below for our band coverages and capabilities.
Information on most locations can be found on the N2MH RoveSite Locator Page. The first three locations on Saturday are courtesy of W3IY(SK) and Harkers Island is courtesy of K1MAP. All sites for this rove are new for us, so we don't know how well any of them will play for us.
At home in New Jersey, we put the Lighthouse II Rover back together after getting the car back from the mechanic. (We had just finished having the blown head gasket fixed as mentioned for the September, 2005 contest). On Friday, we drove it down to our place on Oak Island, NC. Unfortunately, we were unable to find a Y-cable that we had built during the January, 2004 contest. Thus, we were only able to navigate or record our geographic position at any given time. We were unable to do both simultaneously without that cable.Saturday
We left early on Saturday to allow for the five hour drive from Oak Island to our first starting point, FM26ai. Our route took us through Elizabeth City, NC, in FM16. Since we were running early, we decided to check out possible rover sites. And, we did find one - FM16xe. We liked it so much that we decided to start the contest there.
From this new site, we connected with K1TEO, W3SZ, and several others then proceeded to FM26ai, Waterlily Road. On the way to Waterlily Road, it started raining (and would continue for the rest of the day). We made some contacts at Waterlily Road, then proceeded south to FM25. By the time we reached FM25, it was pouring. In addition, we needed the GPS feed for navigation purposes, so there was no log of our exact positions. We found and operating spot in the parking lot for a row of apartments and made several contacts from there.
The bad weather made us uneasy, plus it was starting to get late and we were now behind schedule. So, we decided to go back home and not make any more stops. Fortunately, en route, we were able to make a few contacts. But, for the most part, it was a long drive (4~5 hours) from the Outer Banks back to Oak Island and there weren't many contacts to make up for it.Grids Operated From On Saturday
Since we didn't make any of the sites south of the Outer Banks on Saturday, we decided to scrap our plans for Sunday and concentrate on going up the coastline. We especially wanted to see how the town beach at Oak Island played as well as finding a good site in FM13. We were able to do both.
We left our place on Oak Island and proceeded to the town beach. (Actually the whole town has a public beach but we wanted to operate from the western most end of the beach. At the town beach, FM03vv, we operated for a while and made a handful of contacts. From there we proceeded to the Southport/Fort Fisher ferry for the ride to FM13ax. This was a new site for us and played very well in all directions. In particular, we were able to do a clean sweep with K4QI in FM06ja, about 185 miles away.
After finishing up near the ferry terminal we proceeded up the coast and stopped in a shopping center in FM14 both to operate and get something to eat. Since it was starting to get late, we decided to not go up the coast any more but to head over to FM04 and then back home to FM03.
We found the parking lot of a small strip mall in FM04 and made all of 3 contacts. By now, it was raining again (the day started out nice) and we called it quits and went home.Grids Operated From On Sunday