The grey of the week was oppressive. People may not know it, but for Seattle’s reputation for grey skies, NE Ohio beats it for cloud cover over the course of a year. Honestly? It can get heavy after a few weeks. Especially when there’s no snow. All of that white brightens things up. It might even trick the body into thinking there’s more sunlight than there really is. But grey on the leafless trees and matted groundcover? It’s a bit much.
The antidote is to get outside in the cold air and breathe a little. The best place to do that, in my opinion, is Cuyahoga Valley National Park – K-0020.
On Saturday, 07-Jan-2023, there was a touch of snow falling. Not enough to be exciting, but enough to, well, make things wet. It’s times like this that having a seat cover for the picnic table and carrying a small tarp everywhere really pays off. With the snow falling with big, wet flakes, well, things like a tablet or an IC-705 might not enjoy that too much. A makeshift cover that keeps the gear off of the wet table as well as covered is a pretty good solution, but not great.
The setup was the usual: Chameleon whip on the extension, the IC-705, the mAT-705 ATU v2, and the MS Surface GO 2. FT8 was the mode of choice. Everything sets up so much faster now and tears down in a heartbeat. In terms of a portable station, this is getting pretty well dialed in. Maybe the best part of the vertical is not messing around with tossing a line in a tree.
With the snow staying wet and increasing in amount, it was wise to cut the activation short right after the last couple of contacts came in. Not exactly a huge number, but enough. And it was good to be outside.
Here’s what the QSO Map looked like for 07-Jan-2023.
Sunday rolled around and it seemed like, again, it would be a good thing to get outside. The sun was threatening to peek through and though it was a bit colder, there was no precipitation on the forecast. It was the same spot as the previous day with the same setup, but the bands were alive and the contacts were coming in fast and furious. The WSJT-X screen was red a good deal of the time. Which is awesome!
The sun did peek out. The ground and tables were still quite wet. There was a stiff, cold wind, but somehow being in the sun countered that nicely. It was good to be outside and breathing in that winter air. With the days getting longer, it will be more likely that activations will happen during the week. But for now, the weekends will do.
There was a bit of excitement on the screen when a contact came in from West Australia. That’s likely a bad WSJT-X config on the other end, but that was the gridsquare reported so it’s the one that goes in the log. It’ll get cleared up at some point, but there were a few moments when the bands did seem to be a little wild.
Here’s what the QSO Map looked like for 08-Jan-2023.