The Adventure Radio Society Top of the World Contest

Held in Conjunction with the ARRL VHF Contest September 12-14, 1998


The Top of the World Contest was a great little contest in the midst of a big one. Sunday September 13 dawned bright and sunny. A great day for a trip to the mountains. The week before I had built myself a dipole for 2 meters just for the contest, hoping of course it would not be raining or any such thing. The element was taped to a bamboo stick and fed with a ten foot piece of coax.

About 10 AM my ten year old son, Eric, KB3BUR, and I headed out on the two hour drive to the mountains. Our destination was Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park in VA to do the contest portable QRP style. We each took along our 2 meter handhelds and the homebrew dipole. I had the high power battery pack for one rig so we ran a full 5 watts. Arriving in the mountains we ate a quick lunch and then headed out on a hike to the top of Stony Man Mountain (elevation - 4011 ft.) in Page County, VA for the contest. We could have set up at any one of the many overlooks along Skyline Drive after all the road attempts to follow the ridgeline for over 100 miles but this was to be an outdoor adventure as much as a ham radio event. Arriving at the top of the mountain we first took a bit of time to admire the view and then got down to business. Turning the rig on we heard a station calling CQ, so of course we had to answer. At that point the dipole had not been set up yet so we just used the extended whip on the rig. It took a couple of tries be the first QSO was in the log. He was a fixed station in Gettysburg, PA about 100 miles to the north. I knew we had a good location. He asked me for a QSY to 440. I had to say I'm sorry but I can't accommodate you but I can put my son on for you. So Eric stopped his exploring to give the fellow a second contact.

After a bit more sightseeing we headed back into the woods to find a place where the dipole could be hung from a tree. At first I hung the dipole horizontal, but then switched to vertical. That worked much better. For a bit over an hours work at the top of the mountain I ended up with 11 contacts in three grids. In addition to PA we snagged WV, VA and MD. Surprisingly we didn't get any one in FM18 in the VA suburbs of DC. Eric ended up with 4 QSO - he would come over and help someone out when they asked for a 440 QSO which I did not have capabilities for. We were eventually chased from the mountain by the lack of activity and the bugs that seemed to be everywhere. All and all it was a fun contest. We are ready to do it again.