The last couple of weeks of July in NE Ohio are when everyone seems to empty out and head to a vacation destination. School will kick off for the kids earlier than usual this year, so everyone is grabbing that last trip to someplace else. And that means that the parks are quiet.
After my big Warthog Rove I wasn’t thinking that there would be additional activations that weekend, but my wife and I decided to take the bikes out to Cuyahoga Valley National Park so I figured I’d toss in the radio. Why not?
The park was nearly empty. It was very, very quiet. My usual picnic table at The Ledges was, not surprisingly, available. I got set up quickly and went to work on 15m on FT8. I managed to nail a contact with N6CTA right off the bat. So that almost made up from not getting together during my rove. 15m, however, seemed to fall off after about 4 contacts. I tried 12 and got 1.
20m is always reliable for FT8. Getting the remaining contacts that I needed wasn’t much of a challenge. Any Sunday on 20m, FT8 is always booming. That put the activation in the bag.
I got out the paddles and decided to do a little CW. I spotted myself on 15m and called. I got 1 contact from someone very nearby. I bounced around to different bands and didn’t get any responses in the time that I had allotted. I really need to allow for about 10 minutes of pre-heating per band when doing CW. Lesson learned there.
But isn’t TIME one of the unspoken constraints of POTA? From the minute a station is established and a battery is being drained, there is a deadline of sorts. Add into the mix a non-radio partner who is reading a chapter in a book and maybe not as into the whole radio thing as the operator and, well, that adds a little more time pressure. Even when at the park alone, it’s rare that there is an entire day available for radio.
Looking at my logs, most activations run under an hour. Add into that any kind of travel time and that means that I’m probably putting in 2 hours or so with any given activation. Ones where I mix in cycling might take longer. It’s one reason to optimize one’s field kit for set up and tear down efficiency.
It was a quick activation and good fun as always. Watching the QSOs push their way toward 1000 at K-0020 is also gratifying in its own silly way. Most of all, it’s wonderful to be outside and enjoying the blue skies and warm temperatures while we have them. With July ending and school kicking off for the kids soon enough, days like this will be in short supply. We must use them wisely.
Here’s what it looked like on the QSOMap: