Friday, February 23, 2024

RadioActive At K-4183


I feel like I am off to a good start so far this year.  I just completed my 3rd park activation for the year.  All three have been at Atterbury Fish and Wildlife Area in central Indiana, just north of Camp Atterbury.  My first trip this month was on February 11th when we got a day of unseasonal weather, meaning it was warm and sunny!  I was able to setup the KX2 and the AX-1 antenna and I worked 18 contacts, with four of them being Park to Park contacts. This was set up at the Parking Area 11A down by Stone Arch Lake, and it was a beautiful Sunday afternoon.  I got started at about 1PM and pulled stakes and headed back home at about 2PM, as the temperature was starting to drop again.  I was even visited by a flock of grouse, that started drumming and startled me pretty good!  

Parking Area 11 by Stone Arch Lake
My second activation at this location was on February  22, I ran down to the park when I got off work at 4PM.  By 5PM I was setup and operating, same setup using the KX2 and the AX-1 antenna.  I was able to work 24 stations in about 30 minutes, before it started getting dark. Best DX was Iggy EA2BD calling me from Pamplona Spain!! He gave me a 449 for the report and I was pretty happy to log that one!  This was a quick run down and a quick run back home.  Didn't see another person the whole time I was down there.  It's still pretty chilly and too cold to go fishing, at least for now.  My next activation at Atterbury was February 23rd, this evening. Once again I headed down right after work.  

This time I decided to try a new spot, new this year anyway, and I set up at Beaver Bottom Lake.  I was also happy to see the Indiana DNR had already dropped the Porta Potty at this location!  I was in position in the parking lot, with the KX-2 and the AX-1 antenna once again.  The AX-1 Antenna works on 17m and 20m.  I have been using it pretty much only on 20m the last few outings.  I still like to use my hitch mounted Eagle One vertical but when in a hurry the AX-1 can't be beat for ultra quick set up and tear down. 

Fishing Docks at Beaver Bottom
Beaver Bottom Lake at Atterbury

So tonight I operated from about 4:40PM to about 5:10PM, the going was much slower than the day before, best DX was Utah and Arizona.  The best contact was with Jay AJ4AY.  I met Jay almost 25 years ago, at a Flying Pigs QRP Club Field Day event at Caesar Creek State Park in Ohio.  He drove all the way up from Mobile Alabama to hang out with the Flying Pigs that weekend. 
We had the best time, and I've QSO'd with Jay a few times over the years.   It was great to hear his fist, and knowing we were both still above ground, and walking around.  One of the coolest things about amateur radio is you never know who you will bump into.  Thanks for working me Jay!  I loved it!!

Anyway that about wraps it up, I ended up with 14 contacts, and the breeze blowing off that lake was cold, so I packed it up until next time.  I am shooting for 30 activations this year, will try to do Atterbury one more time before March.  Once DST comes back on the 10th of March, I'll have more daylight to work with, and will start going out further to some other parks. 

73 de KB9BVN from K-4183 - Beaver Bottom Lake

BTW I LOVE those little 3D printed paddles that Bruce N9DBJ gave me.  They are great in the outdoors and hold up very well. 

Friday, February 16, 2024

POTA - I finally got to 1000!!!

Well it's been a few months since I blogged and I blame it on the weather, having too many things to get done this winter around the house, and taking care of my wife after her successful surgery.  Turned the page on another birthday, hoping to be retired by this time next year, God willing and the creek don't rise. 

This morning I worked my 1000th different park in the Parks on the Air program.  The next award is at 1500... which seems like a long long way off.  I started in POTA in June of 2020.  Last year I had 15 park activations, which means I took my portable station to 15 different parks, and made at least 10 contacts each outing.  That brings my total up to 33 activations.  My goal this year is to hit 25 parks, and I already knocked one down last weekend. 

My hunting began about a week after my first POTA activation in June 2020.  I am not tearing it up or setting the POTA world on fire.  POTA has over 43,000 registered radio amateurs out there hunting, and activating.  I am BARELY in the top 2500. 

I am very happy to hit this milestone. I am ready to start plotting my other 24 park outings for this year. The Elecraft KX-2 with the AX-1 antenna is working out very well.  I can now carry my entire setup in a padded Lowe bag and it weighs less than 5 lbs.  I can have it setup in less than 5 minutes.  The AX-1 only works 17m and 20m bands, so I still have the Eagle One hitch mounted vertical to work the other bands. 

Glad to have that one in the logbook.  

73 de KB9BVN