Out Into The Weather
I mentioned my wife’s hiking challenge in my last post. It’s still going strong and her team is doing well. Part of that is getting out every weekend and hiking both Saturday and Sunday. This makes for Park Synergy in our household. Not so much for the kids, but they are old enough top mind themselves or do whatever it is they do when they’re with their friends.
Saturday was grey and a bit windy. There wasn’t supposed to be much precipitation. My wife went one way with a hiking buddy and I went another out to West Branch SP – K-1999. I’m not really sure what made me drive past my normal spot, but I kept going until I got a little closer to one of the boat launches which is down the way from the point where I normally operate. What I found was that there was still a structure in place as well as restrooms! I had assumed that all of the buildings on that side of the park were demolished. No so!
There are quite a few tables stacked up near the pavilion. A few of the grills are wrapped in tarps to keep them out of the elements for the winter. But what was nice to find was that the view from the picnic shelter was a good one. I decided to give it a try and set up my gear.
Because it’s the last place to turn around in the park, there were a couple of vehicles that came and went while I was operating. No one came down to the shelter to say hello. That was fine. I did overhear a rather harried photographer talking about the nesting pairs of bald eagles in the park with a couple of older women who seemed to have a lot of questions. They got cold and left with the photographer still focused on getting his shots of something that I could not see from my vantage point.
I started on 40-meters and got quite a few contacts right away. It was a very good day for the AX1 it seemed. Moving to 30-meters provided results as well. I decided to go for it and took off the 40-meter coil. 17-meters and 20-meters both had something to offer me. It was wonderful! Even a contact from Sweden on 17-meters. That was wild. It is not often I get calls starting with “S”.
The Birds! (Hitchcock Not Included)
In the middle of a rather modest pile-up I was suddenly being buzzed by what had to be the largest formation of geese I have ever seen. They were so loud when passing over, I couldn’t make out the hunters who were calling me. I had to wait it out. I’ve had noisy neighbors in avian form before, but this was new territory. I wish I’d thought to grab an audio or video clip of it.
I came in with 45 contacts in all. My fingers weren’t too cold as I was trying out some “Writer’s Gloves” which are very thin but keep the chill off just the same. Here’s what the QSO Map looks like:
But Then There Was Snow
Sunday was a Cuyahoga Valley National Park day. My wife hiked a 4 mile loop with the dog and I got set up on a picnic table near the trailhead. It was a little different in terms of weather. There was a lot of snow. But absolutely no wind!
I though far enough ahead to take along a collapsable milk crate thing that I got forever ago. When there’s precipitation and no good shelter, I set it up and put something over it. In this case, a towel we use to clean the dog after muddy hikes. With my IC-705 tucked away, the AX1 mounted to the outside of the crate with the nifty mount I keep in my backpack, and my paddles folded under my tarp, I started the activation.
40-meters was good to me. I got a steady stream of contacts until I hit number 9 and things went flat. I moved to 30-meters and there was no one home. I think the band itself was just dead. No noise. No nothing. 17-meters was much the same. So I jumped over to 20-meters and picked up another 21 contacts rather quickly. I added W0ABE to the log and a couple of other Mastodon residents. I put out the call on Mastodon when I moved to 20-meters and I’m sure that helped me close it out!
The snow was wet. It was falling straight down which kept most of my gear safe, but there’s no protecting a notebook. Rite In The Rain is really the only choice when out and doing POTA. If it’s not snow it’s rain. If it’s not rain it’s coffee. Something is getting spilled. Always be ahead of that!
This activation was far more miserable than the day before because everything was soaked. My battery indicator on the IC-705 went red for the first time ever and I knew it was time to pack it in. It matched up perfectly with my wife’s return. It’s called teamwork!
Here’s what the QSO Map looks like:
This was activation 60 for me at K-0020. That means I get another level of repeat offender. That’s cool! As with most POTA stats it’s not really meaningful to anyone but me. All in good fun.
Cale K4HCK put a nice link to my blog in his Amateur Radio Weekly newsletter. That was really neat! It’s the first time a post has been read by more than 100 people. Fun stuff! If you’re not a subscriber to that newsletter, you should be. It’s a great weekly round up of things on the web in the world of ham radio. Check it out.