Even though I've had this year's Skeeter Hunt on my calendar for quite a while, it still managed to sneak up on me, somehow. I decided at the last minute to drive up to the Hopewell Fire Tower in French Creek State Park. I had never operated up there before, so I figured I'd just go up there and wing it. About an hour before the contest, I hastily stashed some radio gear in my truck and headed out.

Hopewell Fire Tower

When I rolled into the parking lot, there wasn't a soul in sight. Before unloading anything, I set out on foot to check out the fire tower and scope out an operating location. I found some picnic tables near the fire tower but I was a little concerned about some antennas mounted on the tower and some powerlines running overhead from a little cabin up to the tower. So, I figured I'd just set up at a table out near the road instead.

Monument Near the Fire Tower

As I was walking back to the truck, I noticed a picnic table back in the woods just off of the parking lot. I walked back into the woods and found a nice little secluded clearing with some great looking (antenna-wise) trees. It was a great area; very secluded, yet just a short walk to the truck. I grabbed my equipment and went about setting up.

Operating Position

I set up a 53-foot inverted L, which was supported by a 31-foot Jackite pole and fed through a 9:1 unun with 25 feet of coax. For the far end of the antenna, I tossed a line up into one of the trees. The rig was my trusty little YouKits HB-1B running about 4 watts and an Elecraft T1 tuner. Skeeter #36 was on the air about 20 minutes into the contest. Not bad for getting such a late, disorganized start.

Inverted L Feedpoint

I wound up with 20 QSOs with 19 skeeters. Forty meters turned out to be the most productive for me today. It was nice working my old friend, Carter N3AO. I also worked Larry W2LJ, the person behind the NJQRP Skeeter Hunt. Around 4:00 PM (2000 UTC), things really started to thin out on the bands. I made one more contact and decided to call it a day.

WB3GCK (obligatory selfie)

Despite the occasional swarm of gnats, it was a nice relaxing and fun afternoon. The weather was absolutely beautiful. I'm glad I decided to give this location a shot. I will definitely be operating from the Hopewell Fire Tower again in the future.

40M	1718	N2JJF	Denis	NJ	Skeeter #115
20M	1730	AB9CA	Dave	AL	Skeeter #59
20M	1737	KX0R	George	CO	Skeeter #86
20M	1740	N0SS	Tom	MO	Skeeter #66
20M	1750	NM4T	Craig	AL	Skeeter #18
40M	1811	VE2DDZ	Mal	QC	Skeeter #73
40M	1817	N3AO	Carter	VA	Skeeter #19
40M	1827	WI2W	Steve	NJ	Skeeter #54
40M	1845	W3ATB	Tim	NH	Skeeter #153
40M	1835	W3BBO	Bob	PA	Skeeter #3
40M	1839	W2LJ	Larry	NJ	Skeeter #13
40M	1853	K3RLL	Don	PA	Skeeter #25
40M	1858	N1ABS	Pete	MA	Skeeter #10
40M	1901	W4MPS	Marc	NC	Skeeter #110
40M	1904	AI4SV	Jack	VA	Skeeter #63
40M	1919	NQ2W	Will	NY	5W
20M	1930	AB4QL	Barry	AL	Skeeter #81
20M	1938	W2KJ	Joe	NC	Skeeter #38
40M	1946	K2TD	Tom	NJ	Skeeter #21
40M	2015	N3CU	Ken	PA	Skeeter #154


73, Craig WB3GCK

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