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


  1. Bri, I guess the proof is in the pudding, but for the life of me, I never thought such a small antenna would get such results. Good show! de W2LJ

  2. Larry, to say I was shocked an amazed...would be an understatement. I got into QRP in 1998, another GREAT solar cycle...this one reminds me of then. Halfway decent antenna, a few watts, and you're talking to the world. I will start trying to activate with the AX-1 all the time, and if it fails, I can always fall back to the trailer hitch mounted Eagle One vertical...which has never let me down. I am only 67 parks away from having 1000 different parks hunted...so I will be concentrating on hunting more now the weather is cooler.