Return to Pilot Rock

It stands to reason that if you have a good operating location you always want to go back. That is the case here with Pilot Rock near Hopkinsville, KY (Todd county). Getting together one morning after our normal CW QSO at the local Donut

Delight in Clarksville Tennessee, the Flying Pigs decided it was time to revisit one of our favorite operating locations. You guessed it Pilot Rock KY. I have described this location before and it only seems to get better the more we work from this top of the world location form Kentucky. It is one of the higher spots in the Hopkinsville area and is close enough to our home QTH in Clarksville Tennessee to make a one day trip.

So off we went after fortifying ourselves with coffee and donuts form our informal clubhouse at the Donut Delight. The plan was to meet at the home of Lewis, KF4WK so Terry, N5HOT and I (John, KM6NN) met up with Lewis and away we went headed for Hopkinsville. The day before our trip we gathered up the necessary equipment to make our climb and stay at the top of the Rock a bit more comfortable than the last time. Sitting on the ground to operate is no fun. So this time I took along a folding chair an a small portable table to operate off of. The antenna was the trusty Mystery Antenna by W5GI and Terry brought along his portable antenna that would attach to the back of his Yeasu FT 817. This trip Terry and I were working on dueling FT 817 radios. Actually Terry wound up spotting for me while I worked stations. What a guy.

Getting back to the trip, we made our way back to Pilot Rock with little difficulty and after arriving we set about our long climb. Lucky we were not in a hurry. LOL Time was on our side and the trip up was more or less uneventful.

Just a little bit of hard climbing but we have all the rest stops already marked out. Looking up at the cliff is real impressive and it stops a lot of people from the climb.

Once up the hill we set about taking out the equipment and setting up the antenna. I get a lot of practice setting up antennas and work stations and it is almost as much fun as operating the radio. With the antenna up and the water bottle near me I began searching the bands for someone to contact.  Things were looking good on the receive end and on 20 meters I heard WA3YN talking it up the

VE3HEQ but before I could call anyone they faded out. A little more searching around and I heard I2RTF, Pierto in Italy. After several calls it was a bust and

I moved on. DL3AO, Rolf in was working portable near Stuttgart Germany. Several calls and still no joy. Moving to 40 meters I heard Lou, WG3D in a long winded QSO. I waited for quite a while for the QSO to end but this guy kept on going like the energizer bunny. No doubt this guy qualified for the Rag Chew award. So off to another band.

This time I picked up 15 meters and around 21014, I heard this BIG signal coming from W7WHO, Dennis located at Crooked River Ranch in Oregon. Man this guy was booming in with a 599 PLUS signal. Here I am running 5 watts and I know this guy is burning up the airways with something that would power my rig for about two months. Come to find out he was running 300 watts out of a Icom 756. Of course the three element Stepper at 50 feet was a big help. Real good signal and his CW was great. What a brake to get this contact. After no joy for the longest time the guys and I declared W7WHO a DX station LOL.

Moving  right along I spun the dial looking for a DX station that Terry was spotting for me. Not being able to hear the station I moved to 10 meters  and found PY2XC, Carlos in Brazil. Several calls to him and also no  joy. Not hearing anything else that could hear me I moved to 20 meters  and bam... 9A5K, Kresimir Kovarik from Croatia was booming in. He was  also hooking it at about 25 to 30 words per minute. He was in some kind  of contest and when I called him he came back with a 599. With his  signal I had no doubt that he was sucking my signal in right out of the  air. That was OK with me as it was a great contact.

After all that  excitement I looked around a little more and I heard an IK station but I  was not able to make out his whole call. He also was moving right along. Being as the day was getting on we decided we should start  braking down our stations as the trip down the hill would not be a good  one in the dark. As it was the trip down the hill was uneventful and  once on the roadway next to the truck we noticed a couple of men looking  up the hill we had just came down with that look that said they were  not interested in climbing where we had just came down from. They did  agree to take our group picture which was cool and with that we made our  way home. What a great day for QRP.

Thanks for reading this story.  Stop by on 40 meters on 7120 at 1400Z for a little slow speed CW. If you  are close enough you can join us for coffee and a donut at the local Donut Delight on Providence Blvd. Give us a shout.

 72, from John KM6NN