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.