Support Your Parks Weekend is a seasonal event run by the folks at Parks On The Air. Since getting into POTA, I’ve been trying to activate and hunt for each of the events as they pass. More than anything, events like this are an excuse to get out into the field and do what I wanted to be doing anyway.
Being that the weather in NE Ohio has been beautiful and given that on this particular day it was just too good not to be outside, the bike was the only option. But this time, my family was out at an event all day and given that I screwed up and left my feed line at home last time, I decided to put a hand on each piece of gear to make sure I had what I needed.
All of the gear stowed away nicely and I made sure that it all got into my pannier. With the bike loaded up, I hit the trail. It was sunny, but cool with the breeze. There are a couple of places where I have to be off of the bike trail and ride on roads with cars. After one of those spots, I ended up waiting for a cycling club to get on the trail. There were probably more than 40 participants of all ages, sizes, and fitness levels. Being at the back of this pack added some time to the ride, but I wasn’t really in any hurry. In fact, I turned off the assist and rode with the ebike’s dead weight for most of the ride to the park.
If you’ve never ridden an ebike, they’re heavy. Lots of battery and that motor isn’t light either. The steel framed Huffy 10 speed I had in 1982 would feel like carbon fiber next to this thing. But any day out riding is better than one without a ride.
I got to The Ledges area of Cuyahoga Valley National Park – K-0020 and while there were people there, it wasn’t nearly so crowded as one might have expected for such a beautiful day. Setup was quick and I was on the air in under 5 minutes.
The bands were not in my favor. No one could hear me on 40m and the traffic on 12m and 15m – which has been good lately – was not there. I checked PSK Reporter and I was definitely getting out. Just not to anyone that wanted to come back. I sat on 20m for a good long while and slowly accumulated enough contacts to call it an activation. Given the state of the bands, I didn’t even bother to get out the mic. 10 watts of SSB wasn’t going to have much of a chance, or so it seemed.
I sat for a bit and enjoyed a granola bar and sipped some more water before packing up. The ride home was unusually quiet. Having ridden with no assist most of the way there and back, I only burned about 28% of my battery over 22 miles. Not too bad! I do use the assist when on the open road with cars. I like to have the advantage that a little assist gives when negotiating traffic and people who aren’t as mindful as they might be behind the wheel of a mulithousand pound machine.
Here’s what the QSO Map looks like: