“Saturday, December 6 was SKYWARN Recognition Day, sponsored by the National Weather Service. The Boston Amateur Radio Club, using club call W1BOS with designator /MQE, set up a station at the Blue Hill Observatory on Great Blue Hill in Milton. “MQE” is the station designator assigned by the NWS to the Blue Hill Observatory, home of the longest continuous weather data in North America.
“We’ll remember this one for a long time,” said Mark Duff, KB1EKN, the leader of the event. The storm of December 6, 2003 was to become one of the most substantial to hit our area. It turned out to be one of the biggest December snow storms on record. You couldn’t ask for a more perfect day for a SKYWARN event.
Fortunately, Mark, KB1EKN, Bob, WA1IDA, and Hank, K1QK set up the station, strung a couple HF wire antennas, and mounted a VHF ground plane on the day before the event. It turned out to be excellent planning.
The same trio, along with Geri, KB1ISG and Joe, KB1IXK met at the Observatory at the summit of Great Blue Hill about 0900 on Saturday, December 6, as the storm continued to increase in intensity. By then, approximately 6 inches of snow had fallen. The Observatory had earlier recorded a wind gust of 53 miles per hour! Thanks to the work done on the day before, the group was able to get on the air in short order.
Contacts were made on the HF bands with stations across the country on 10, 15, and 20-meters. We were also active on 2-meters, both on simplex and through repeaters. The wind blew to nearly 50 mph and the snow fell heavily during the event. Since one of the items reported during the QSO exchanges was the local weather, we couldn’t have been more pleased with the exciting conditions to report.
Operations continued into late Saturday afternoon, when the better part of valor suggested that we shut down and get off the hill before we became stranded. Mark led the way with the dismantling of the antennas in 40+ mph winds. [Boy, these fire fighters sure are tough.] Both of the 4-wheel drive vehicles that brought the group up the hill made it off safely as darkness was falling. All in all, it was quite an adventure—and we had fun.
Kudos also to Blake, K1BTH, for providing the mid-afternoon fuel (in the form of coffee and donuts) that helped provide the energy required for the tear down, and to Bill, N1VUX, for arranging to have W1BOS/MQE listed as an official station.
Finally and foremost, thanks are due to KB1EKN for the concept and the arrangements with the Observatory.
Shown (L-R): KB1EKN, K1QK, KB1IXK, WA1IDA
—Written by K1QK, in Boston ARC The SPARC, December 2003, photo courtesy KB1ISG[See also: W1BOS to Operate From Blue Hill Observatory for SKYWARN Recognition Day]