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Surfin': Finding Woodstock

08/17/2009

Forty summers ago, my high school classmates Joe Bergantino, WA1CYU, non-ham Ron Cibulskis and I decided to attend the Woodstock Music & Art Fair. Our plan was to drive to Bethel, New York (the site of the event), on Friday night, stay over in a hotel and go to the concert on Saturday and Sunday. We decided to pass on the first day of the show because the Friday line-up was heavy on the folk music side of the music spectrum and we were rockers, not folkies.

With tickets in hand (I still have mine because no one collected them), we completed the 120 mile trip without difficulty. Traffic was heavy at times, but there were no slow-downs or stoppages; we arrived in the Bethel area in about three hours.

We found a room in a hotel on Route 17B, which according to the desk clerk, was a "few miles" up the road from the concert. We planned to drive to the concert site in the morning, so we got a good night's sleep, had breakfast and then went outdoors to discover that Route 17B was now a parking lot.

Since the concert site was only a "few miles" down the road, we figured we walk to the site, see the show and walk back to the hotel whenever we needed a break. Ten miles later over hill in dale on a hot, humid August morning, we arrived at the site and plopped down on the ground with 300,000 others.

Joe and I did not bring our ham radios. The equipment I owned at the time (the Heath DX-60B and HR-10B "twins") was not portable and Joe owned Hallicrafters equipment, which was no more portable than my twins. The only gadget we had on hand was my Kodak Super 8 film camera and I shot about half a roll of film that day.

The concert began around noon, and after seeing performances by Quill, Keef Hartley Band, Country Joe McDonald, John Sebastian, Santana, Canned Heat, Mountain, Grateful Dead, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Janis Joplin, Sly & the Family Stone, and The Who, the Sun came up and I was very ill. I convinced Joe and Ron to leave and we hitched a ride back to our car, drove home, and I spent most of the following week in bed nursing flu-like symptoms.

This weekend is the 40th anniversary of that weekend, so I searched the Internet for any and all connections between Woodstock and ham radio. I hit pay dirt when I discovered that the Radios N Rest Radio Club, KC8SKK/N8SIX, is operating a special event station on 1.865 MHz-70 cm from August 13-17, in honor of the 40th anniversary. QSL via N8VGC.

My search for ham radio and Woodstock connections also turned up the radio club Web site of the Mount Beacon Amateur Radio Club. Mount Beacon is on the east side of the Hudson River and is very imposing. You can't miss it if you travel on I-84, as I do on my treks to and from the Dayton Hamvention.

The photos of the club's repeater site on the mountain are breathtaking, and the rest of their Web site is good looking, too. By the way, Google made the connection between the club and Woodstock because the home address of the club's president, Pete Cecere, N2YJZ, is in Woodstock.

Until next time, keep on surfin'!

Editor's note: Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU, wishes he had shot more film at Woodstock. His editor, S. Khrystyne Keane, K1SFA, was at Woodstock, too; she was 2 (her mother took her, and to this day, Khrystyne only remembers four things about the event: It was cold, it was wet, it was loud and it smelled funny). To contact Stan, send him e-mail or add comments to his blog. By the way, every installment of Surfin' is indexed here, so go look it up.

Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU
Contributing Editor



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