Monday, February 28, 2022

Good to be back! POTA ON!

Here it is the last day of February, and I have been dreaming of warmer days and longer days and the arrival of Spring time in Indiana.  At about 3PM I looked down at my computer screen and saw the temperature outside was 52F, AND the sun was shining.  I get off work at 4PM, I haven't operated from a park since last November.  I was running this through my mind and wondering if I should make a run for the wilderness of Atterbury Fish and Wildlife Area and make some QSO's.  I kept telling myself that I was out of practice and I would surely forget some crucial part of my portable park station I got out my handy checklist and started checking things out. 

I had purchased a 5 gallon bucket and lid from one of the big box stores last fall, and I had packed it full of most of my POTA accessories like coax cable for the Eagle One antenna, my hitch mount fit nicely in the container, along with headphones, and other items I might need (first aid kit, 2 miles of paracord for some reason, and a sock hat).  Even though I had the checklist I FORGOT my powered external speaker.  My hearing is pretty good but when outdoors that little speaker does wonders for my ability to copy weak signals. 

Here is a representation of my station setup today...the only difference is the grass is all dead, that external speaker is missing, and I am using a 20aH Miady LiFePO4 battery instead of the little 5aH battery and gel cell depicted here.  I was running the radio at 10w, and the LDG antenna tuner off the Miady battery.  No issue at all.  I think I could run this way for days. Antenna as usual is the Eagle One hitch mounted vertical.  My SUV is the radial and I use a 50 foot coaxial feed line. 

So, I got to the site and all setup by 21:40Z (4:40PM local time), spotted myself and started calling CQ. I think I CQ'd maybe three times and then the hunters were on to me.  I was only running 16 wpm this time and I was asking for QRP stations not long after starting up.   K1RO came in with a fantastic 599 signal from NH, followed by most of New England.  I worked CT, MA, MD, NY, RI, DE and GA, FL, and Dominican Republic remote station HI3AA to the east of me.  To the west I worked CA, OR, WA CO, OK and ALASKA!!!  I haven't worked Alaska in a long time...I told Paul my face was grinning ear to ear.  So I am getting REAL close to POTA WAS.  Here's a look at the Reverse Beacon Network.  I was on the site for about 30 minutes, working 20 mins.  The wind was blowing across Honker Haven Lake right into my back, so I made 18 contacts and went QRT due to fingers getting cold and the sun was starting to set at about 22:05Z (5:05PM Local). 

20m was working pretty well for me today, BIG thanks to the hunters for pulling my QRPish signal out of the ether and giving me a shout!  I now have my first activation of 2022 in the books.  My goal is to activate 5 or 6 parks this year and shooting for a total of 20 activations. 

Here's my obligatory QSO Map...

Thanks again every body, I appreciate the attention! 

best 73 de KB9BVN