Friday, October 27, 2023

Back at Atterbury with the AX-1 Antenna

Today was a great day, here it is October 27th, the temperature was ALMOST 80 degrees, with mostly sun all day. I had to work today so it was paining me to inhabit my office while seeing what a glorious day it was outside.  4PM couldn't get here soon enough. 

So I packed up the KX2 and accessories and loaded up the SUV and headed 25 miles south to K-4183 Atterbury Fish and Wildlife.  I got there and set up my table and chair, deployed the 16 foot radial and installed the AX-1 antenna. 

Once I got comfortable, with pencil, logbook and my 3D printed key I got from Bruce N9DBJ in September, I hit the tune button on the KX2 and like magic the antenna and radio were matched at 1:1 for my frequency.  I was running 14057 Khz on 20m this evening.  At 4:55PM EST KB5EDR of Texas was the first hunter in the logbook.  He gave me a solid  559 RST on the exchange. 

By the time I was finished for the night it was only 5:30PM and I had logged 23 contacts, 1 of which was a Park to Park with Ron KC2PSA at K-2049 Marsha P. Johnson State Park in New York,  I also bagged a couple of Zombie's, the Zombie Shuffle is a QRP CW event that runs the Friday before Halloween. I happen to be Zombie 916. 

Anyway, this is what the map looks like and the reverse beacon report.  As usual this was an awesome activation, I got to enjoy nature, saw some deer, some squirrels, and LOTS of bow hunters parked around the area. 

I may try to go out and activate with the little antenna and sideband. Is that crazy sounding or what? 

My QSO Map today, K1XD was in Utah. 

And here is the Reverse Beacon Report - Not bad for 5 watts

Thanks for reading, I am having a blast with this little radio and this little antenna.  The Solar Cycle is perfect right now for weird and wonderful things to happen with a wet noodle antenna and a few watts of RF. 

73 de KB9BVN

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

QRP Park Activation with AX-1 Antenna

When I got off work yesterday afternoon, I noticed the weather was incredible.   When I woke up this morning the temperature was a frosty 34F and the ground was covered with the first real frost of the season. I started wondering if  my POTA trips were going to be over for the year. 

My KX-2 was purchased used from a ham friend in Kansas a few months back, he also included the AX1 portable antenna. Tonight I brought the AX-1 with me to the beautiful Brown County State Park.  I had just watched an excellent YouTube video by Tom Witherspoon K4SWL on how to use the AX-1 antenna during a Parks on the Air activation earlier in the day, at lunchtime actually.  So I got the bug to give this short whip antenna a try. 

My wife decided to go with me, so we loaded up a couple chairs, some drinks, and headed to Brown County State Park, about an hour away.  Normally I would not try this on a weeknight, especially an hour drive away, but I wanted to see if I could have any success with this antenna setup.  The seed, or bug, had been planted. 

By the time we got there, found restrooms that were open, and got set up it was about 5:30PM local time. Set up was easy, took the KX2 out of the Lowe carrying case, attached the AX-1 Antenna, and pluggd in one 14 foot radial wire to the ground jack on the KX2.  The internal antenna tuner liked it and I had a 1:1 SWR on 14053 Khz. We found a beautiful overlook up high in the park and a conveniently placed picnic table.  So I logged in to the POTA spotting page on my phone and spotted myself on 20m (14053 Khz).  

KX2 and AX1 Antenna at Brown County State Park

Brown County State Park is in Brown County Indiana, grid EM69vd and is just outside of Nashville Indiana.  The park has been called "The little Smoky Mountains" because of the beautiful vistas, and the high rolling hills.  Covering almost 17,000 acres, there is plenty of room to spread out. 

I think I had sent out maybe three CQ's and was answered by KC3WOA in Maryland.  He sent us a 599 signal report, which made me very happy!  Over the next 35 minutes I worked 10 other stations, including AL7KC in North Pole Alaska (339), G4ELZ in England (449), W8TK in Arizona (579) for my furthest stations of the outing.  I was STOKED to work England and Alaska on this little low power setup and the AX-1 antenna.  

All in all it was a short, but good outing.  The park was activated using the KX2 and the little AX-1 antenna.  The band conditions were good, and the operators out there hunting me had some really good ears.  

Reverse Beacon was picking up my QRP in a lot of places! AX-1 was Getting OUT! 

After about 40 minutes or so we packed it up and headed toward home.  The sun had started going down and the breezes up there were getting chilly, I had enough contacts to activate the park (my 31st activation) so I was very happy with the outing. 

Beautiful Overlook - Leaves will be peak in about a week. 

Another Vista at Brown County State Park

72 de KB9BVN

Saturday, October 21, 2023

30th POTA Activation is in the Books

KB9BVN in the Wild

What a glorious October day in Indiana.  Got out of the house about 8:30, and headed to K-4183 Atterbury Fish and Wildlife Area. I was totally setup next to Stone Arch Lake and on the air by 9:35AM. I started out on 40m this morning and within 10 minutes I already had 10 contacts, 2 of which were operators in other parks.  

The band was wide open so I stayed put on 7065Khz and called CQ POTA every so often.  I had decent internet coverage so I was able to post my location on the POTA Spotter page, that always helps to bring the contact numbers up. 

I stayed an operated the radio for about 45 minutes, the temps were in the mid 40's and it was just a beautiful day to be outdoors.  I noticed quite a few deer hunters parked all over the place. This is bow season in Indiana, and also squirrel season.  If I make it out again this fall, I will be wearing my hunter orange hat for safety sake. 

POTA Spotting Page on the Web

Most of my contacts were maybe a couple states away.  The furthest today was Rhode Island (N1BS)  and Texas (KJ5W).  The spotting page shows the mode and the location of the park activator along with the frequency they are operating on. This makes it QUITE easy to find parks and work them as hunters.  

My station today was the venerable Elecraft KX-2, Eagle One Vertical antenna mounted to my trailer hitch, and two 16 foot radial wires laid out north/south.  Today I was running 9-10 watts. 

Anyway, this is now logged and in the books in the vast POTA mainframe. #30 for me, I'm averaging 10 activations per year...definitely not tearing up the record book. 

73 de KB9BVN