Turkey Point Light Station

USA-857

Elk Neck State Park, MD

Cecil County

N 39.497683      W -75.973549

15 August 2009 Activation by Ron de WB3AAL

(Pictures and movies are below the write up)

Hello, this is my story about my activation of the above lighthouse in Maryland. The drive from

Reading PA to Elk Neck State Park in MD takes about 1 3/4 hours. I had to be at the parking lot

by 11:00 UTC (7AM local) so I can transfer my equipment from my car to Joan vehicle. Joan is

one of the caretakers for the Turkey Point Light Station (TPLS). She did not want me to make

the 0.8 mile hike from the parking lot to the TPLS. The road does have some washed out

sections. So I loaded up the vehicle and barely closed the hatch. She was amazed that I got all

my equipment into the vehicle.

 

I wanted to be on the air between 12:00 and 13:00 UTC (8 and 9 AM local). My first agenda was

to find suitable trees to hang my 80 thru 10 meter Carolina Windom. I paced off the space between

two trees and I had the distance I needed to hang the antenna. I check my position on the compass

and found that the antenna will hang East to West direction which was parallel to the 100 foot cliff.

The antenna will hang between 100 to 150 feet  from the cliff. I used a sling shot to place a 1 ounce

sinker on 5 lb test fishing line up into the tree. I found a good strong branch at the top. One shot and

my  line was over the branch and on the ground. I tied parachute line onto the fishing line and pulled

it up and over the branch. Wow, one shot and one end is up in the tree. After I got the one end of the

antenna up in the air I went to the center insulator to do some work. At that point in time I heard some

screeching from the woods. I thought to myself that the noise sounded like an Eagle. When I turned

around and looked toward the bay there was an Bald Eagle flying over the water about 50 feet from

the edge of the cliff. Wow, this was a good sign. I went to hang the other end of the antenna and I

did have some problems getting that end up in the air. After about an hour of getting the antenna up

in the air and setting up the station I decided to place my screened-in canopy for some shelter from the

sun. This was a good and bad thing for me to do. The good that came out of using the canopy was it kept

the bugs and sun off of me during the day. The bad thing that happened was when the wind died down

the temperature under the canopy rose up to 101 degree F.

 

It was now 13:15 UTC and I was ready to start my operation. My rig was a Kenwood TS-50 with

the matching automatic antenna tuner. I had two 100 amp hour gel cell batteries that were fully charged.

One battery was for my small laptop running W3REG's LHTracking Program. The other battery was for

the radio. I tried to tune up on 40 meters but I had no power output. After two phone calls from fellow

ARLHS'ers asking me am I on the air, I finally found out my first problem. I had a bad connector on the

end of a coax. I took this section out at the barrel, now I had power output on CW but not on SSB. The

hand mic I had was working but something happen to it in transit to the site. Now I started to think what

I can do and I remembers that the mic on my 2 meter radio in the car was a Kenwood model. I asked Joan

if she could drive me back to my car and she did. I grabbed the mic and went back to TPLS. Plugged in the

mic and now I have power output on SSB. After solving my second  problem I noticed that I had one more

hurdle to clear. My computer was not working! Did a little trouble shooting and I found the in-line fuse

was blown. I did not have any spare fuses but I did not want to do a paper log. I took a fuse from my 35

watt foldable solar panel, now I had my computer up and running. Now that my McGiver portion of the

trip is finished I started to call CQ around 13:45 UTC.

 

I made 123 contacts on 40 and 20 meters SSB within 4 1/2 hours. The bands were not in the best of shape

but the Carolina Windom at 35 feet in the center and 45 feet on the ends worked Great! I was receiving

reports of 59 +20 and 40 over. I was going to setup a vertical but the ground radials would have been in

the way of the visitors to the TPLS. If I go back to TPLS to operate in the future I will take the Carolina

Windom. I worked a total of 43 ARLHS Members and 18 Lighthouses. I did make one DX QSO with

EB1LA in Spain.

 

I would like to thank Jim de KA3UNQ for all the spots on the Beacon Bot and the DX Cluster through

out the day. I want to thank all those stations for working me and waiting their turn in the pile up. I had

to run the operation like it was a contest. I took two letters from a call, when I got the two letters out of

the pile up I said what I had in the blocks of five calls. I went through and call out for the station with

NQ in the call and they came back to me. I told that station his signal report and all my information for

a good contact. When I turned it over to the station they said QSL and thanks. Then I went onto the next

station  with TK in the call. I gave him his report and listen for their information. I worked a lot of stations

this way and anyone that had questions or asked me to repeat, I took the time to do so. The way I figured

it, I mounted this effort to place the TPLS on the air with bad band propagation. I was going to try and

work everyone that was calling me. There were only a few stations I could not work. It seemed like

everyone  was happy that they did make a QSO with USA-857.

 

Turkey Point Light Station Marker

Turkey Point Light Station (my station was under the aqua canopy)

New steps going to the top

Winding up to the top

Looking out into the Chesapeake Bay

Looking down on my shelter

Movie - Turkey Point Light Station

Movie - Looking out in the lantern room up top

What is this?

Looks like a Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly

 

If you worked me and would like a nice double sided color QSL card and some other things,

please send a number 10 SASE to my current QRZ or Callbook address.

73 and Keep The Flame

Ron de WB3AAL

ARLHS #423