Gatlinburg TN Portable

Discussion in 'On the Road' started by KA8MNP, Nov 18, 2020.

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  1. KA8MNP

    KA8MNP Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I'll be in Gatlinburg TN mid December. I would like to work portable from my car. 80 meters and very early in the morning. I like to check into the Early Bird Transcontinental Net. I'd probably be using something like a ham stick dipole up about 15 feet.

    Does anyone know of a location near there where I could operate safely and not cause any disturbance to residents or tourists. I've operated from the area before without much success. In the past I just used a single ham stick antenna on top of the car. Probably too early in the morning to go into the park and some of the roads in the park may be closed because of weather anyway. I'll be staying right in the middle of Gatlinburg on the Parkway. I'd like to operate as closely as possible to my hotel. Their parking lot is less than ideal. Too much metal and too much electrical noise.

    Anyone have any ideas ?

    Thanks Randall KA8MNP
  2. KI4POT

    KI4POT Ham Member QRZ Page

    I was going to suggest the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, which is lightly traveled and has pull-offs, but I just noticed it's closed in Winter.

    What about the SMNP visitor center just outside of Gatlinburg? The parking lot is large, you could set up away from everyone (if there's anyone there at 4amET). All of the other options I can think of will be closed or not ideal for your needs.

    Though, if you're adventurous and have a 4x4, there's a 1-way fire road branching off the Cades Cove loop that would put you up in the mountains a bit, grant some solitude, and give you trees to hang an antenna from if you wish. It's been more than 15 years since I drove that road though. It wasn't rough, but it's not advisable to take a car on it.

  3. KA8MNP

    KA8MNP Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks Chris, last time I did this I went over to the Gatlinburg By-pass and pulled off onto one of the overlooks. I'd like to go up to the Clingman's Dome parking lot just to get in the clear but at 4:00 maybe not the best choice and pretty sure there is a good chance that would be closed as well. Of course on 80 meters height above sea level doesn't really matter but it is fun to operate from a mountain top. It'd be nice if I could think of a location where I could actually string up a temporary full size dipole or inverted vee. I can't think of such a place though. One good thing with cooler weather bears shouldn't be a problem.
    KI4POT likes this.
  4. WG8Z

    WG8Z Ham Member QRZ Page

    This time of the year is great for checking into the EBTN.
    Pony up for a good screwdriver or bugcatcher.
    Hamsticks are a waste of time on 80M.
    Even a 60 foot endfed will work great. Some good pull-offs on the western cabin loop roads. Pull over, toss the wire over a tree branch and have at it.
    Don't feed the bears.
  5. KA8MNP

    KA8MNP Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Actually when I have used the ham stick dipole I've had pretty good results. It has to be used as portable of course but I never actually operate from a moving vehicle anyway. I just use the vehicle as a platform to operate portable from. Likely a rented vehicle so I can't really use a screwdriver type antenna. The end fed is an excellent idea but being able to find a place to put it over a tree branch at 4:00 AM is kind of ify. And you are right this time of year is a great time to check into the EBTN we suffered through a long spring and summer where conditions were less than ideal to say the least. Lots of fun to get on the air at 3:00 AM and rag chew with the Birds from Miami to Ontario and New Brunswick and sometimes even talk to a West Coast station. And then when the net starts to be able to hear both sides of a two way conversation is good too.

    Not really sure where the western cabin loop roads are, that's the kind of thing I was looking for more of a where and not the how.

    Thanks Randall KA8MNP
  6. WG8Z

    WG8Z Ham Member QRZ Page

    Understand all Randall
    Yes 4am is way too dark to set up. Some of the roads at best are challenging in the daylight.
    You might scope out Gatlinburg scenic overlook, on Gb bypass north of Ski mountain road. Other than that just might have to do some recon. I stayed in town once. Line noise and all the neon was so bad I couldn't even listen to ball games on AM. Clingmans dome and an HT is wild.
    Most of all enjoy your time. Radio or not.
  7. KA8MNP

    KA8MNP Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks, I'm thinking GB bypass is the best bet too. I went to Clingman's dome last year around Thanksgiving. I made 6-10 contacts on 146.52 in just the space of a few minutes. I always enjoy the GB - Pigeon Forge area,we thought very hard about moving there as newlyweds. We loved our own home more plus we had strong family ties here so we stuck. We go back as often as we can though.

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