Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Quickie Activation!

KB9BVN at K-4183
I had about two hours to kill this late afternoon so I grabbed my Activation gear and headed out to K-4183, Atterbury Fish and Wildlife.  I am lucky that I can get there in about 25 minutes.   Once I arrived I saw some other people were in my spot, eating dinner at my picnic table...not a biggie.  I went down the road a bit and found a nice new spot to try out. 

It takes me about 15 minutes to get setup, including raising the vertical on my trailer hitch and attaching the feed line and a couple of radials.  I had a weird pattern tonight on 40 meters, it seems like all my signals were heading due east.  I thought that was interesting but I was hoping for some 7 landers tonight to help my WAS efforts.  None to be had.  

I was running the K2 at 10w this evening and as soon as I spotted my location on the POTA spotting page, I started working contacts within seconds. POTA requires 10 contacts to be considered as a qualified Activation.  I ended up with 18, including one SSB contact to a Park in North Carolina, thanks to Paul K2PMD down at the Fort Raleigh Historic Site (K-0820),

The band was doing pretty well. I was on the air from about 21:20Z to about 22:15Z. Here's a shot of my RBN report.  I started out on 7065 Khz and moved to 7068 Khz for the last 20 mins or so. 


Like I mentioned above, my signals were all heading east tonight, not sure if it was just the way I had my radials laid out or what, but this is a neat QSO map of the evening.  The one in red is the Park to Park with Paul K2PMD.  Working VE9VIC up in New Brunswick was a new province for me, and N1HN in Maine was sounding great! 


Anyway that's it for tonight, it was fun to make a quick run down to the park and activate it again.  This is my 6th activation of Atterbury Fish and Wildlife Area.  Four more and I think I get a certificate! Wall paper baby!

Best 73
de KB9BVN

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Another POTA Milestone Achieved!

About a week and a half ago I found out that I had earned the Arizona Agave Hunter Award from Parks on the Air.  This is for working (hunting) 100 different reference areas (parks). I started hunting on June 22nd of this year and it took me about 2 months to get 100 different parks in the logs.  I have the activators to thank as my contacts were all QRP.  94 were QRP CW and 6 were QRP SSB.  Some of these activators have bionic ears, and for that I am thankful. 


If I get time I am going to write up an article for the QRP Quarterly about working POTA successfully with QRP.  It's been a blast so far!

Best DX to all! 

DE KB9BVN


Monday, August 17, 2020

A Hunting I Will Go

I have been hunting POTA activators in my spare time for the last few days.   There seems to be a lot of interest in QRP operations on the POTA pages, so I thought I'd drop some stats here.  I run a K2 to a attic dipole for these contacts, SSB are red, and CW are green.  SSB is 10 watts, and CW is 5 watts.  Admittedly this is not a really great setup for getting on the air but I make do.  

In the last couple days I have made 24 contacts, mainly just watching the POTA spotting page at https://pota.us - this page is updated every 60 seconds, so when a new activator gets on the air, RBN can spot them, or other hunters can spot them.   No super DX but I think this shows that QRP is a usable tool for hunting park activators.  Tomorrow I will be connecting my K1 back up and putting the K2 back in my POTA activator Apache case. I'll miss out on the SSB contacts with the K1. 

Since June 22 I am now over 100 unique hunted parks, all QRP and almost all CW. 

73 es Best DX to you! 

de KB9BVN

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Hitting the Milestone

Last night Wayne AC9HP came by and we went to Atterbury Fish and Wildlife again for several reasons.  One, I needed 6 more QRP CW contacts from there to break 100. Two, we were meeting another POTA activator down there (Tim NW9F). Three, the weather was beautiful so why not? 

I got set up with Wayne's K2 (SN 313) and started calling CQ POTA at about 4:50PM EDT on 7065.  About 15 minutes later I had a dozen contacts, enough for an activation, and more than enough to break my goal of having 100 contacts from this park on QRP CW.  Wayne just got his K2 a week or so ago and boy it is a nice one.  

The band was in pretty good shape: 

And my 12 CW QSO's covered some territory: 

After I was done, Tim NW9F fired up his setup and started working 40m SSB.  I think he had about 25 contacts in less than a half hour.  He was knocking them down right and left.  One of the highlights was he contacted Kerri KB3WAV and worked her Park to Park....then Wayne worked her Park to Park...then I worked her Park to Park...so she got a three-fer from K-4183! 

Wayne then fired up the K2 and started his activation on 7065 Khz and almost immediately after being spotted on the POTA spotting page, he began making contacts.  He had logged about 25 or 30 contacts when we decided to pack up and head for pizza. 

POTA is so much fun, and when you are doing it with a friend or two it's even better.  By the way, this evening we were using a Paul W9PDC homebrewed end fed antenna strung through the trees about 15-18 feet off the ground.  It worked GREAT. 

So as of today I have 101 logged Hunter QSO's, and 106 logged Activator QSO's from K-4183.  I think I will start going out further to other activation points.  The next closest for me is Morgan Monroe State Forest, then maybe Brown County State Park.  They are both about an hour away. 

Best 73 de KB9BVN


Monday, July 27, 2020

The Pig Out Sprint

The day I had been waiting for finally arrived, Sunday July 26th was the day for the Pig Out Sprint.  This event was quickly put together by the Flying Pigs QRP Club International, and most of the heavy lifting was done by Diz W8DIZ, Paul K4FB (aka WF4FB), and Dan N8IE (aka W8PIG).  So the start time had arrived and I was going to operate outdoors so I could soak up the extra multi's...it was 92F in the shade, and not a breeze in sight.  I was using my K2, LDG Z11 tuner, and my Eagle One vertical mounted on the trailer hitch of my SUV.  Basically my POTA actication station.  By 3:30PM I was getting over heated and decided to shut down, pack up and move back to the house.  I made 5 contacts, the band conditions were dismal, with the A index hovering at 15.  It was a lot of fun though!

Also, today I got my Sapphire Hunter award from POTA, that means I have worked 75 different parks as a Hunter, all CW, and all QRP via my K1 and attic dipole at home.  The Activators must have bionic ears.  I have gotten RSTs from 229 to 599 while working on this one.  I really have to hand it to the guys in the parks for even hearing me.  I stated hunting on 06/23 so it took me right at 32 days to earn this award.  Not bad for QRP CW, if I say so myself. 

75 Parks, all QRP CW - Thanks! 


73 de KB9BVN

Friday, July 24, 2020

K-4183 One More Time - POTA!

So I am not on call this week, and I got the itch to go activate the Atterbury Fish and Wildlife Area again.  I have made a total of 71 contacts from there, all QRP CW.  So my goal was to get 29 more, an even 100, and then move on to another POTA park.  I had been chatting with Wayne AC9HP and talked him into joining me, even though it was an hour drive for him.  Once that POTA feeling gets in your DNA you're helpless against it. 

So I checked the weather, we've been getting massive late afternoon pop up thunderstorms for the last few days.  I don't want to get stuck in a lightning storm.

The red dot is about where the park is located, and we didn't see a threat on the local radar, so it was a go. 

I made it to the site at about 5PM local (21:00Z) and started setting up, our favorite picnic table was totally available, so setup only took maybe 15 minutes.  I started out running CQ POTA on 30m, 10.120 Mhz and much to my surprise the first station I heard was Wayne AC9HP on the far west side of Indianapolis.  

The band was not sounding too hot, but within 5 more minutes I had another contact, this time with Jim KK4BNC down in Georgia, and he gave me a 599 RST.  I kept calling CQ POTA for maybe another 20 minutes but nothing was being heard in my headset.   I was thinking maybe every one was on their way home from work or something...surely it wasn't my QRP signal.   Reluctantly I switch bands, and moved down to 40m and tuned up on 7.062 Mhz.  I spotted myself with the POTA spotting app on my phone and started calling CQ POTA. 

I took a look at the reverse beacon report and this is what I saw: 

Reverse Beacon - KB9BVN 07/23/20 from K-4183

Just as I thought.  The band had been going up and down all afternoon...

Even with the band conditions being less than optimal, I managed to get 21 more contacts in about 45 minutes.  I worked 16 states from Maine to Texas with my setup this evening.  AC9HP was my closest at about 50 miles and Dustin W1OPR and Robert NA5AR were my furthest at about 1000 Miles. 

QSOMAP - KB9BVN 07/23/20 - from K-4183

Wayne arrived at about 6:00PM, so I finished of a few more and went QRT.  Wayne then used my K2 and his newly acquired Vibrokeyer to go for an activation as well. 


Wayne was able to get about 20 more contacts in the next hour or so, the band started to improve as the hour got later.  He was ACTIVATED! 

I ended up with 23 contacts...I am 6 short of the 100 I was targeting from this park.  So I will make one more trip maybe this weekend to knock those out and then my activations will be from another park in Indiana. 

POTA has been a lot of fun for me, I have made 192 contacts in the last month, which is more contacts than I made in all of 2019.  It's brought a lot of fun back in to the hobby for me as I really enjoy taking the station portable.  I earned my 50 Park Diamond Hunter Award a week or so ago. The next level is Sapphire Hunter and you need 75 UNIQUE parks hunted.  I am sitting at 72 right now. 



Don't forget the Pig Out Sprint is this Sunday from 17:00Z to 21:00Z - QRP CW sprints are a lot of fun. 

Here's a picture of my POTA Mobile...see you all later! 


73 de KB9BVN