As I clear up the backlog of blog posts from this summer, I would be remiss not to mention W2KGY’s participation in Hudson Valley Digital Network’s Hudson River Radio Relay special event. West Point participated from Constitution Island, US Island NY073R. I will detail our equipment, contacts, and details of the event!

Constitution island

Constitution Island is a historic island directly west of West Point Garrison located on the Hudson River south of Cold Springs, NY. It had incredible importance during the revolutionary war and continues to provide cadets with training area for relaxation, retreats, and bible studies.

I visited Constitution Island several times during the academic year. It was surprising to see the land and beautiful area available to cadets, especially with the historic background! This land is given exclusively to cadets - it is an incredible area that must be used and preserved. We scouted our sites and chose a picnic area with 120V AC to operate from. We could have operated from a redoubt or artillery fortification, but needed shade, rain cover, and voltage.


We had three stations running simultaneously: two 100W rigs for HF SSB/FT8, and my elecraft SOTA rig for 10W CW. One rig used an inverted-vee dipole, while the other used a Buddipole tuned to 40M. We made about 30 contacts total, the majority being via FT8. I was looking forward to operating CW but my End-fed antenna could not handle the high noise floor and adjacent stations. Even operating on different bands, the EFHW received high interference.

To fix our near-field problems, Steve K2GOG suggested implementing filters or changing antenna orientation. The EFHW is also especially sensitive to noise, so I will be changing my daily antenna to a center-fed dipole soon.

While I always enjoy “park-portable” operating, I sometimes wish there were more credits in place for truly portable operating. The SOTA qualification standards are the gold standard - self-carried, no vehicles, and within 15m of the top!


Dipole Setup

Cadets and Stan KD2JEW erecting a Dipole

Cadet Operating Cadets operating FT8 using 100W and a buddipole

Operating Stephen KJ5HY, Ben N2IAV, and Joe N6CL operating FT8 at our central TOC


Thanks again to Steve and the HVDN crew for organizing this event! We plan to use Constitution Island for many more events. I have my eye on some usma-specific special events too…

We were able to reach the fundraising goal for Bannerman’s island, so mission success!

Author’s Note: This is the last nontechnical post for a while. Expect more technical updates including my improved SOTA antenna!