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 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

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 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! 

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Ready for Spring!

So it's been a couple months since my last update, winter showed up and the snow fell and the temperatures dropped and the sun disappeared by 5:30PM around here.   No POTA activating for me since November.  The good news is the forecast today is for 60F degrees, but cloudy. No chance of snow or sub freezing temperatures.  On top of that we go back to Daylight Savings Time in less than 2 weeks.  That will make it daylight until almost 7:45PM and will give me plenty of time in the late afternoon, after work, to go activating a POTA park or two.  To say I am chomping at the bit would be putting it mildly. 

So this morning I brought out the old K1 and fired up on 40m.  The band sounded lively and I needed to check the readout calibration.  I tuned to 7056 Khz and sent our a couple of CQ's, Reverse Beacon has me at 7056.2 Khz.  So I definitely need to check the other bands.  I built my K1 in May-June 2002, so it's almost 20 years old now...def in need of a tune up. 

My last CQ was answered by Dave N9ZXL up in Rockford Illinois, about 250 miles from my QTH, and I was running 5w.  Dave gave me a 569 and I gave him a 579.  The QSB was pretty bad so we didn't really get to have a rag chew, we said our 73's and ended the QSO. 

So like usual I went to QRZ to look Dave up. Wow. Dave has a machine shop in his basement and makes keys and bugs.  They are very nice looking.  Check out N9ZXL on QRZ to take a look for yourself.  Dave is a US Navy veteran radioman, and his bio on QRZ is interesting reading.  Just goes to show what kind of interesting folks are out there waiting to talk to us. 

That's it for now....I hope my next posting is about my latest POTA activation! 

73 de KB9BVN 

Sunday, December 20, 2020

POTA and QRP - Six Months In

This morning I was greeted with the fact that I now have 201 unique parks confirmed as a POTA hunter. That took me almost 260 POTA contacts.  Interestingly enough, today is exactly 6 months from my very first POTA experience at Atterbury Fish and Wildlife Area back on June 20th.   Wayne AC9HP, Ivin W9ILF, and Paul W9PDC, showed me the way to POTA and I got my first activation and POTA contacts that day.  Since then I have managed 10 park activations,  hunted 201 unique parks in 33 states, handed out 221 contacts from K-4183, and had the most fun I've had in years with amateur radio.  

My primary activation setup is shown below, my beloved almost 20 year old Elecraft K2, LDG auto tuner, Parkwood paddles built for me about 20 years ago by Richard WB9LPU, a Chinese Li-Ion battery pack from Imuto Inc, AYL Brand powered speaker, and good old pencil and paper logging.  My max power has been 15w on SSB and 10w on CW.  My antenna is the Eagle One portable that I use mounted to the trailer hitch on my SUV.  The hitch mount allows my truck to be used as a counterpoise and I can tune it 10-40 with no issues.  If I add my 4:1 balun I can get a narrow match on 80m as well. 

KB9BVN typical QRP activation station

Here is a picture of my SUV with the Eagle One Antenna deployed for POTA activation. 

SUV mounted Eagle One portable vertical 

My hunting station setup is a little bit different.   Usually I hunt using my almost 20 year old Elecraft K1, it is setup for 15, 20, 30, and 40m.  If I am hunting on 17m or 30m, or using SSB, I pull out the K2 and use that.  The paddles are old Ten Tec single lever paddles (Model 607), and I use a LDG auto tuner,  cheap headphones, and a pair of 10 Amp hour SLA batteries.  The antenna from my home hunting location is a half wave 40m dipole in my attic.  With the antenna tuner I can get it to match and work on best on 40m and 15m, worst on 10m and 20m.  My hunting station is shown below. 

K1 Hunting Station used by KB9BVN 

On occasion I have also used this hunting setup, swapping out the K1 for the Hilltopper 40 or Hilltopper 20 QRP CW transceivers.   The Hilltoppers make 7 watts of output and have a great receiver.  This little rig was designed by Dave Benson K1SWL and packaged and sold by the 4 States QRP Group. 

Hilltopper 40 with Nye Viking Master Key 

I have really enjoyed POTA this year and I look forward to warmer weather in the coming months.  Tomorrow is the first day of Winter...which means the days will start to get longer and summertime weather is on its way back to the Hoosier Hinterlands.  I can't wait to get out there and do more activations in 2021.  I am by no means lighting the POTA world on fire, but I have been having a lot of fun with it.  Some ops this year have over 1000 unique parks hunted, and over 1000 parks activated.  I like the fact that I can be relatively successful using QRP CW and SSB, who knows, maybe next year I'll give some of the digital modes a try! 

The Enrubio Award is issued by POTA for hunters that have contacted at least 200 unique park locations, here is what it looks like.

Enrubio Award from POTA 

If you haven't given POTA a try yet, you are really missing out on the chance for some great amateur radio fun.  Whether you like making contest style contacts, or love operating from the great outdoors, there is something in POTA for everyone!  <-- Sign up here (it's free)  <-- This is the spotting page for the hunters (it's free)

POTA also has a active site on Facebook, and a channel on Slack. 

Best DX es 73 - Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!