Thursday, September 16, 2021

POTA Activation #12

KB9BVN doing POTA

It has been since March 8th 2021 since I have had a successful activation for Parks on the Air. I figured out my coax was shorted in about three places, so I had to throw it away.  It was a fine 50 footer with nice soldered on  PL-259's, it had served me well for about 12 years but I think it got wound up one too many times.  Old age and kinks took it out.  

Anyway the new coax arrived from Amazon this week and I finally got a chance to try it out this evening. 

It was a very nice 79F with bright almost Fall sun beating down on my operating position, it was nice to be at the site and getting ready to work some POTA contacts. 

When I arrived the place was all mine, so I had no worries about bothering anyone trying or wanting to go fishing. 

It didn't stay that way for very long, but that's OK.  I'll be back here again soon. 

POTA ON!

Also I have been working like crazy, and the fishing bug bit me so I have been spending most free evenings trying my hand at catching some fish, as well as teaching some youngsters the joy of landing a big one...but here I am. 

Grandkids and a Nephew - Catching the fishing bug!

This evening I had just about an hour to operate, as you know you need 10 contacts to have a successful validation, tonight I got eleven contacts in just about 60 minutes.  I decided to run down to K-4183 (Atterbury Fish and Wildlife Area) and set up near the Italian POW chapel and Stone Arch Lake.  

Chapel Built By WWII Italian POW's held at Camp Atterbury


Welcome to Stone Arch Lake - Free Green Hamshack 

My first contact was EA1AF, David over in Spain.  I was tickled to death to work his 599 signal.  Tonight I was running with the K2 at 10w and my Eagle One vertical deployed on the trailer hitch of my ham mobile.  The next contacts were NQ7R in AZ, K7ULM in MT, and W7MMG in AZ, so the Eagle was definitely getting out on 20m.  Then it got quiet...so I moved to 30m. 

K2 on 20m - About 10w to the Eagle One Vertical

After moving to 30m, I re-spotted myself on the POTA spotting site, and it didn't take long to get the next seven contacts.  Signals were heard from NY, FL(2), VT, QC, TX, and MS.  I was going to drop down to 40m and stay about another half hour but several carloads of young guns showed up and they were wanting to fish, so I decided to pull anchor and head back to the ranch.

At least I know my setup is working again.  I look forward to activating more sites in K-4183.  They have at least a dozen different lakes, ponds, remote hunting areas, and places to check out.  It's not uncommon to see deer, squirrels, rabbits, raccoons, and according to the Indiana DNR the Atterbury Fish and Wildlife Area is home to over 150 species of birds...not to mention the snakes...which are everywhere.   

DE KB9BVN
Best 73! 

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Curses!! Foiled Again!

So I made another trip down to K-4183, the Atterbury Fish and Wildlife Area, and got all set up at a new much shadier site called Beaver Bottom. 


Beaver Bottom is a nice place next to a 5 or 6 acre lake.  I need to come back and fish here because I looked in the state fish stocking database and this lake has been stocked with 8 inch channel cats to the tune of about 500 per year since 2017, plus bluegill and a few others.  

First I set up the Eagle One vertical on the back of my SUV, set up my table, got the radio all connected and very carefully laid out the coax.  I was having some trouble getting it to tune so I inspected the connectors on both ends of the coax, and they seemed to be in good shape.  Yay.
Then I hit the tune button again and got a green light on my old LDG Z11 autotuner.  Great...now to spot myself on the POTA spotting page, and I was in luck, as I had three bars of cell service.  I got spotted and starting calling CQ.  Nothing.  I was on 7061, my usual spot, and I was not hearing anything anywhere on the entire band.  I moved to 20m and tried calling, nothing. 

So I started thinking about what could be wrong and I got up and started checking my coax feedline foot by foot.  I bought this feedline maybe 15 years ago, and I have used it and rolled it up and unrolled it and rolled it up again about 100 or so times that I could almost remember.  Sure enough, somewhere along the way the braid or the center conductor got damaged, by kinking, or too much rolling up, or something.  I found three suspicious "lumps" in the feedline. Curse you Red Baron!!  I know knew how Snoopy felt. 

Of course I did not bring a spare feedline for the vertical.  I was dejected but it was still a good outing, I was outside, it was flat gorgeous, and I saw a couple heron's, some squirrels, a few rabbits, and a gigantic Red Tailed Hawk. So I stayed and just soaked it in for a bit before tearing down and heading back to the ranch, a mere 25 miles away.  This site even had a Rumpke Office.


The day wasn't a total loss, no logs to submit, since I worked no one.  I have ordered a new feedline and will maybe try my Alex Loop the next time.  I forgot I even had it in the truck with me.  It normally does fine on 12m-40m 

Until the next adventure!  

OH!!  Congratulations to Joe Taylor K1JT  and Peter Parker VK3YE on being selected for induction to the QRP-ARCI QRP Hall of Fame!  Their contributions to the art and science of QRP radio have been felt worldwide. 

73 de KB9BVN


Thursday, July 8, 2021

New Rules at Atterbury Fish and Wildlife Area

It's been a few months since I have been able to get out and activate a park for the POTA program, but I was able to head out this weekend of July 4th.  I was surprised to find that the Atterbury Fish and Wildlife Area has made some changes about people using the site. 

First of all  it is now required, that you sign in at the self serve kiosk. 

The kiosk I found was at the north entrance to the area, at School House Road and Co Rd 550S.  It looks like a half shed and it contains the sign in forms, maps, Fishing Guides, Hunting Guides, and park rules and regulations.  I thought it was a pretty neat setup.  

So I stopped at the shack and did the self service thing by filling out my card and signing the log book.  I am not sure how long this has been in effect, I have not been here since March 8th of this year, but the log book only had one page filed up and I was the third person to sign in on page two.  

Sign In Shed at Atterbury Fish and Wildlife Area

So as you can see they have a logbook for Turkey hunters, night hunters, small game hunters, deer hunters, water fowl enthusiasts, and good old miscellaneous (which is POTA). 

Here is what the card looks like, you fill this out and put it in the dash of your vehicle.  Where it asks for your visitor number, you put the line number of the logbook page. In my case that was the number three. 

So when you get done for the day, they have receptacles for you to insert your permit as you leave the area. 

I checked Sight Seeing, Hiking, and Other.  I wrote in  Parks on the Air.

After this was completed, I place the permit on the dash and headed in to the area to scope out an operating location. 

Based on the new map, the marsh area called "Honker Haven" is within the AFWA boundaries, so I decided to setup there.  

It became clear immediately that I was going to need shade, but there was none to be had.  I decided to go for it anyway and setup my K2 and the Eagle One hitch mounted vertical and got tuned up.  Since it was mid day I decided to start out on 20m instead of my usual spot on 40m. 

I had no internet service on my phone so I sent a text to my friend Wayne AC9HP, who happened to be on vacation in Missouri. He was kind enough to spot me on the POTA page and I started calling CQ POTA on 14056 Khz. 



I was immediately answered by Eli in Hungary HA9RE, he gave me a 449 and I  sent him a 579 for report. I was excited to work DX on the first contact.  Did I mention it was 89 degrees and I was setup in the sun?  On a white table. In the sun.  Not in the shade. Humidity was about 93%? 



I made a total of 8 contacts, failing to activate, because my radio was starting to flake out due to it being so hot.  I had to QRT and pack it in.  I did bring water so I had plenty to keep me hydrated.  I gave it a total of 30 mins on the air, maybe, and left. 

Atterbury Fish and Wildlife Area - Johnson County Indiana


Lesson learned:  

Find a shady spot to setup in the middle of the day in the middle of summer. 

Best 73 de KB9BVN
Brian Murrey






Saturday, April 17, 2021

Virtual Four Days In May Update!

 

vFDIM is Saturday May 22, 2021

QRP-ARCI is excited to announce that the grand prize drawing will be for a brand new Icom IC-705 transceiver.  Also we have added another speaker/presenter, Will Jourdain AA4WJ. He will be having a presentation about the IC-705. You do not have to be present to win but you need to be registered. Also, QA sessions will run from 7PM CDT to 9PM CDT on May 22nd, the day of vFDIM.

Registration is at https://qrparci.org on the main page.
Registration will close at  MIDNIGHT CDT on MAY 15th, 2021.
Almost 300 have registered at this point, don't get left out.

Registration is $10.00, then one week before the event you will receive a link to the event
and a link to a PDF of the Proceedings Book. Please register as soon as you can so we
have some idea of headcount.

We are excited about vFDIM, and we hope you are too. It's is shaping up to be a great event.

Printed copies of the Proceedings Book will be sold through the QRP-ARCI Toystore
for $15 a copy. If you can not attend, the book is a great way to catch up on the
presentations from this Virtual FDIM.

"Book sales to US Customers Only, DX customers purchase through the Toy Store after 5/20/21."

Best 73
de KB9BVN
QRP-ARCI Webguy

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Four Days in May is Virtual and Taking Registrations Now!

Come one! Come All! Virtual FDIM is Saturday May 22, 2021

It's time to register for FDIM 2021, you do not want to miss out on our first ever virtual FDIM. Registration Link is found by going to https://qrparci.org on the front page. 

The line up this year includes:

Jerry Wolczanski KI4IO - Making an Antenna Coupler

Dr. Jack Purdum W8TEE - How to Select a Microcontroller for a QRP Project

Dave Benson K1SWL - Anatomy of a Transceiver; Building a Better Mousetrap

Han Summers G0UPL - Reach for the Skies: Extreme QRP at 35,000 Feet

Dino Papas KL0S - Bench Setup Using Inexpensive Test Equipment

Tim Snodgrass KC0DN - Breaking Free of the Sunspot Cycle

Ashhar Farhan VU2ESE - sBITX - An Open Source SDR that YOU can hack!

There will also be evening sessions with the authors, and vendors.  Registration is $10.00, then one week before the event you will receive a link to the event and a link to a PDF of the Proceedings Book. Please register as soon as you can so we have some idea of headcount. Also, registrants will be eligible to win fabulous and certainly valuable door prizes, like always! You do not need to be present to win but you DO need to be registered.

Printed copies of the Proceedings Book will be sold through the QRP-ARCI Toystore for $15 a copy. If you can not attend, the book is a great way to catch up on the presentations from this Virtual FDIM. 

Book sales to US Customers Only, DX customers purchase through the Toy Store after 5/20/21.

David W. Cripe, NM0S  -  President QRP-ARCI

Monday, March 8, 2021

So GOOD to be back in the Park!


Here it is the 8th of  March, our first day when the temperature broke 60F.  Hard to believe that just over two weeks ago we had ten inches of snow on the ground and temperatures hovering near zero.  So as soon as I got off work I headed to the Atterbury Fish and Wildlife Area in southern Johnson County.  

I arrived at the AFWA around 4:15PM, and it took me about fifteen minutes to get the Eagle One up in the air, the coax run, and my K2 setup for POTA activation.  I setup two memories in the radio. One that sends CQ POTA DE KB9BVN, and one that sends CQ POTA K4183 DE KB9BVN.  When I am calling CQ I try tio send the one with the pak number in it at least every 4 or 5 CQs.  I also spotted myself on the POTA spotting page from my smartphone.  

Luckily there is a state DNR office on the property so they have pretty good internet access in most of the place. I decided to start out on 20m, so I tuned to 14062 and started calling CQ.  On the first round I was answered by AB6QM from California, which made me very happy and hopeful 20m might be open to other far away places like Alaska and Hawaii, especially since I still need those two for my latest WAS efforts.  Alas he was my only 20m contact tonight. 

So I moved down to 30m on 10121 and 10123 and managed about 4 more contacts in about 20 minutes.  Things were not moving at a very fast pace.  I then moved to 40m, 7059, and that was the secret place.  I managed another 18 or 19 in about 25 mins and then it just stopped.  So I packed up and headed home. 


Since it was a bit early, I went through the area and did a bit of sight seeing.  Camp Atterbury is an Army Camp located next to the AFWA property, generally south of the park.  Back during WWII Camp Atterbury was a thriving city, with it's own hospital, grocery stores, movie theaters, and lots of barracks.  During WWII this Camp was used for several functions, one being a training camp for the infantry headed to the European theater, another was the Camp served as an internment camp, or POW camp where we housed Italian and German prisoners of war.  


Today the DNR was doing measured burns of a lot of the grassy fields in the AFWA, so the smell of smoke was everywhere, this was another reason I decided to cut out a little early. 

One of the features of the AFWA area, is the Italian POW Chapel that was built by Italian POW's during their stay at Camp Atterbury.  The chapel was totally restored in the 1980's and is used by the Archdiocese of Indianapolis several times a year for memorial Mass, and other celebrations.  The POW's created hand painted fresco art on the interior walls and the ceiling of the chapel.  One story says they used their own blood mixed with certain paints to get the right reds and browns.  

Italian POW Chapel located near Stone Arch Lake in the AFWA

The chapel is normally locked up unless there is a Mass scheduled, this had to be done because of vandals that have tried to destroy this place.  The pictures below give you some idea of what is inside.  It's a very quiet and peaceful place.  

Statue of  The Blessed Virgin  - Mater Dei


The Altar inside the Italian POW Chapel, and other artworks that were restored in 1988.


It is really a very neat place to visit and see for yourself.  If you ever get a chance to visit the Atterbury Fish and Wildlife area, don't miss seeing this.  It's just across the road from Stone Arch Lake, pictured below. 

Stone Arch Lake - Atterbury Fish and Wildlife Area - Franklin Indiana

Well I can't wait to get out there again! Weather looks great all week so maybe Wednesday or Thursday night. 

Best 73! 
de KB9BVN