It’s Spring! Daffodils and forsythia are blooming. And its the season for an annual ham-radio operating event, QRP to the Field.
This year, the event’s sponsors opted for a native-American theme: On April 25, operate from a location whose name has a native-American origin. “Piece of cake,” said I. Be it street, park, school, knoll, rock, river, or mountain, here in the Bay State you’d be hard pressed not to find one within a mile or two of any place in the state.
Perusing the possibilities a couple of weeks ago, I came across a reference to Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg. It’s known to the US Department of Interior as Lake Chaubunagungamaug (to save ink?). Or, shorter still, call it Webster Lake.
The spot brought back memories of day trips I and my family took to Norwich, CT, back when my sister lived there. We’d pass the lake heading to and from her top-floor condo in a spiffed up, riverside mill. She long since had moved back to California, and I forgotten about the lake. But when it came time to pick a QRP TTF site, its name leaped from a list of native-American place names in the state.
The most credible translation of that incredibly long name (purportedly the longest place name in the US) goes something like this: Fishing Place at the Boundaries — Neutral Meeting Grounds. For locals, the more conversational version reads: You fish on your side, I’ll fish on my side, and nobody fish in the middle.
The town of Webster, MA, has set up a well-kept lakefront park, and that’s where I thought I’d spend a quiet day at the radio swapping howdies with other QRP TTF participants. Quiet? Not so much!