Rockingham Field Day Site

This page has more details on our operating location for Field Day 2023

Map of Princeton area with site at top (north)
Thanks to N2LO, here’s another aerial view of the site.

What does the site look like?

View of the hilltop from half way between Rocky Hill and Kingston (across quarry)

We have chosen a site very near Princeton, in Franklin Township, Somerset County, NJ. It is at the top of “Tenmile Run Mountain” a piece of park land which was once the site of “Rockingham”, the house where George Washington made his last wartime headquarters. The site was once a state historic site, but now is county open space. The building has been moved to a new site on Kingston-Rocky Hill Road, about 2 miles from the hill site, by the D&R Canal.

There is a parking lot of about 1/3 acre, with fine gravel, surrounded by open woodland. Elevation is about 300′, about 40′ higher than our Sand Hill repeater location. The land south of the site has been quarried down 200 feet, which may make propagation a bit interesting. Let’s hope it makes our antennas seem higher! There are also two farm fields on the hill. These are used by farmers, and not included in our permit. (Fun fact: Rockingham’s original location was nearby overlooking the entire valley. The building was moved up the hill to allow the quarry to expand. That Revolutionary War era property site is now 200′ above the current surface of the quarry. )

Looking South across Tenmile Run Mountain toward Princeton, Site is the gravel area in the yellow circle
This image, from NJ Geographic Information Network, shows the elevation of the large gravel parking area. It is fairly flat, with a slight tilt for runoff. The driveway in goes down another five or more feet.The driveway to Route 518 is to the right, and the “Grassy Knoll” is a slightly lighter green area to the left.

The image above shows that the parking area is 290 feet above sea level. By comparison, the Rocky Hill bridge is at about 40 feet elevation. The hill is about 250 feet high. Drainage is good off the parking area. The driveway up from Route 518 could get runoff in a thunderstorm.

Here’s a photo taken in March, looking up the driveway from Route 518. The row of boulders at the back is 42 Meters long (130 feet). Beyond and above it is the “Grassy Knoll” suitable for, say, a 40Meter vertical antenna.
The relatively flat operating area is fine gravel, about 0.4 acres. The driveway in can be used for antennas as well, but the driveway is not level, and it is more visible from Route 518.

Note that the southern edge of the site gets most of the shade. Setting up tents there may be a good idea.

Compare the depth to a football field.
This pseudo-aerial image, taken from across Route 518, shows that the “Grassy Knoll” is almost as big as the gravel parking lot. It is about 5′ higher in elevation, and may even have some soil depth for putting in ground stakes… though they don’t call the place “Rocky Hill” for nothing.

The location is wonderful for antennas. Trees are all around. But there are a few concerns:

  • We are in open space, so there may be wild animals wandering by.
  • There are no rest rooms. We need a reasonable solution to this situation.
  • Very thorny Multiflora Rose grows around the parking area. Queen Anne’s Lace, a weed with sap that can cause a rash, also grows on and near the parking lot. Long pants and sleeves, and perhaps boots are needed to erect, adjust and bring down antennas.
  • Tick repellent is advised.
  • While there is a microwave tower about 0.3 miles away, we may be the highest point around. Lightning could easily strike this high point. Safety procedures are needed for thunderstorms.
  • There isn’t much shade in the parking area, we will need tents or tarps. Wind may be a problem too. The south side of the parking area does get some shade, especially the parking area near the Grassy Knoll which has afternoon shade and some wind protection.
  • There is ‘some’ poison ivy, but not in the parking area.