Sunday, April 16, 2023

A Week of Vacation Comes to an End


I have been on paid time off since Good Friday (PTO). Old timers like me used to call it vacation.  I could not have asked for better weather either. It's been sunny and in the 70's and lower 80's all week. For Indiana this time of year, that is very unusual.  

Never mind the fact my town was hit by multiple tornadoes on the 31st of March.  THAT was something else.  Fortunately our home was completely spared.  My wife and I were huddled in the walk in closet clutching flashlights, and my 2m radio, listening to the severe weather net, the tornado sirens, and our cell phones sounding alarms, many prayers were being said and thank God many were answered. 

Whiteland Indiana - Morning of April 1st 2023

We felt the house shake for a couple minutes and then it was all over except for the torrents of rain and flashes of lightning.  No damage anywhere.  Our neighbors to the east were not so lucky.  Whiteland Indiana and most of Johnson County was without power for 24-72 hours. We lost 47 utility poles, estimated 28 homes, and a 25,000 sq foot warehouse just disintegrated and was spread over 10 square miles.  No lives were lost.  THAT was a miracle. NWS says we had a EF3 tornado rip through our little burg.  We hope we never have to experience that again. 

So with Easter weekend upon us, we were very busy with family gatherings, church, and feasting on grilled and roasted goodies.  

On Wednesday April 12th, I headed to Atterbury Fish and Wildlife to activate K-4183 again.  This would be my 17th time here, you get an award for 20 so that's my goal.  I was using the K1 and the Eagle One antenna and a set of plastic paddles a friend of mine made on his 3D printer.  

Elecraft K1 Radio at 5 watts

I made a quick 18 contacts in about an hour, most of them on 40m.  Not bad for the first outing of the year.

Happy Campers 
On Thursday April 13th, my wife and I took off for Brown County State Park K-2155 - it was a GLORIOUS day.  Sunny, 80's, redbud trees blooming, just perfect.  We had a great day!  I setup on the highest hill I could find and using the K1 and Eagle One, I managed to make 12 contacts in about 35 minutes.  We packed up the station and headed to the park office to buy fishing licenses.

This was my second activation of the year, and it was successful.  It took almost one hour but I logged twelve CW stations of which seven were Park to Park contacts.  Ten were on 20m and two were on 30m.  Managed to get a couple of "hard to get" states, Vermont from W2RON, and South Dakota from KC0MYW, both on 20m.  We had a great time visiting the Nature Center at the park, they have a really nice setup, a bird watching room, and displays of snakes, turtles, and many other animals. When I was a boy, some fifty years ago, this nature center even had a black bear cub for observing.  All in all a great day! 

Then on Saturday April 15th, I headed back to K-4183 Atterbury Fish and Wildlife Area for my 18th activation of this park entity.  This time I setup my station at the Mink Meadow Marsh.  The morning was bright and sunny, with temperatures in the low 60's and a slight breeze.  I did a little mushroom hunting but came up empty...we've had four great warm and sunny days, the mushrooms ought to be popping up any minute now. 

Atterbury Fish and Wildlife Area - Franklin Indiana

Once again I deployed my Elecraft K1, Eagle One vertical, and those little plastic paddles.  This was the first day of the "Support Your Parks" event so I knew there would be hundreds of parks on the air.  I had my first ten contacts in about 15 minutes.  Operating QRP at 5 watts and all CW, I managed to be heard in IL, Ontario, NJ, VA, WV, MI, NC, PA and TN during the first 15 minutes.  I was operating on 7067 Khz.  I ended up with a total of 20 contacts in about 50 minutes.  Of the 20 contacts made, four of them were "Park to Park" contacts.  

SUV Antenna Mount - POTA at K-4183
I woke up this morning, Sunday April 16th, with intentions to head out again today and activate another park, but it was 60 degrees and starting to rain.  Weather forecast is calling for possible snow showers by evening with temperatures dropping steadily throughout the day.  Plus we are now in a high wind warning until some time tomorrow.  Not what I call weather fit for radio from the park.  

So we're staying home today and doing some chores around the home front.  I have been off work for ten days, and LOVED every minute of it.  I could not have asked for better weather.  Monday is a workday and I feel like I am ready for it.  <grin> 

I may do some POTA hunting this afternoon.  This is the last day of the "Support Your Parks" event weekend, so there are tons of stations out there operating from the great outdoors.  I still need just Alaska and Hawaii contacts to complete my "Worked All States" for POTA.  Maybe today I'll finally nail those those two down.  No easy feat at 5 watts.  
So until the next time, 73 and here's to good DX! 

73 de KB9BVN