WD3P Trip to Transmit from the
Maryland Appalachian Trial
May 6, 2000

This was a trip to the Maryland portion of the Appalachian Trial for the purpose of transmitting from the trail for those seeking the Eastern PA AT award. This was a family outing so the operating time was limited to only an hour. We got a late start so we didn't arrive at the trailhead until after 1 PM. After a quick lunch we headed off towards Black Rock on the trail. This is a rock outcropping overlooking the town of Hagerstown.

View a Map of the Trail to Black Rock

The first place one comes to from the trailhead is the footbridge across Interstate 70. I had passed under the bridge numerous times over 30 years but had never had the opportunity to walk on the bridge itself. For this hike we did not have to cross the bridge as we were heading north from the parking area. The first part of the trip was a slow one when we hit the first climb. There is a 400 foot climb in the space of about three tenths of a mile. The nine year old did not take kindly to such hills. After that first climb it was a nice easy 2.5 mile hike to the overlook.

After a two hour hike of about two and a quarter hours we arrived at our destination. Along the way we passed up the more popular site at Annapolis Rocks. We decided that it was more popular simply because it was a shorter hike. The views should be about the same there as at Black Rock. Black Rock is simply a rock outcropping along the trail with a good view into the Hagerstown valley below. We were at an elevation of about 1850 feet. The valley floor below is only about 500 feet. Not a large difference by western standards but it is about the best elevation difference you will see on the Appalachian Trail in Maryland. While it might be hard to believe this mountain ridge presented a formable obstacle to the early settlers on their way west. There is a state park to the south of where were - the George Washington Monument State Park - as George Washington was one of the party that cut the first trail through the mountain ridge.

While I played radio for an hour the xyl took a nap on the rocks and the three harmonics played around the rocks and in the forest. It made for a nice break in the middle of the hike for all of us. The equipment for this hike included a SST for 40 meters, A DSW for 20 meters. The antenna was a simple dipole feed with TV twin lead to a ZM-2 tuner. I used a set of 10 NiMh batteries for the power supply. And as a plus I found a real nice desk cut out of the rocks just waiting for me to set up the station.

And after the hour of play at the overlook we headed back to the car. The trail through the woods was a nice wide path with lots of open space under the trees. You felt like you could just set up a tent anywhere. And on the way back we passed a number of people headed into the woods for an overnight campout. This photo show the xyl and the third harmonic. One who managed to avoid the camera lens was number two son who also happens to be the only other ham in the family. And since I had the camera I also managed to stay out of the pictures.