With a long holiday weekend, I thought I would get to the park more than I did. The weather was not at all interested in cooperating. It was sitting in the 20s with some significant wind on Friday and Saturday. But when Sunday rolled around, the temperatures hit the mid-40s and the wind relaxed a little. I thought it would be good to go out to West Branch State Park – K-1999 for an activation because it has pavilions.
Just like the last time I went to the park, I proceeded to where I’d worked the last time. And just like the last time, the pavilion I’d worked in and all of the picnic tables were gone. All of the structures erased. I have no idea if there is a large rebuild in progress – I hope so! – but what I know is that the places I used to sit were replaced with flattened soil. That left me with the Jeep as a good place to operate. Or at least a place to operate.
My original plan was to split my time between FT8 and phone. That changed a bit in the Jeep. It’s not particularly comfortable for me, the mic, and the clipboard. There’s a lot of balancing going on. So I stuck to FT8. There’s always next time!
17m and 15m were going nuts! I hit several EU stations and plenty of the US west coast. Not bad at all. It was sunny and there was a breeze. Sure, I wasn’t in my favorite operating position, but it was still nice to be outside.
With the antenna this time, I used the whip on its own – no extension. I’m experimenting with carrying less and less to see what I can get away with. I still think my smallest viable kit is the X6100 or IC-705 with a tuned EFHW in either case (or a random wire for the X6100 as it has an internal ATU). The whip performed really well as always. The bands were great and the solution worked as designed.
Here’s what the activation looked like on the QSOMap:
There are plans for my next series of activations. I have a list of combinations I want to try and equipment that I want to get into the field. The Z-tuner, the Hardrock-50, and more working with the X6100 – including some digital work. There’s a RTTY contest coming up next weekend, so there’s the desire to figure out RTTY if I can and do something there. There are so many things to try in this hobby! There’s also a new widget inbound that will definitely make up a post or two. It will mean getting reacquainted with my TH-D74. More on that soon enough!