Support Your Parks!
Anyone into POTA probably knows that there is a weekend event each quarter called “Support Your Parks” where anyone who gets an activation in or hunts an activator on that weekend gets a nifty award. This past weekend, 20-21-Jan was the Winter event. It was a good one to be out in the cold for in NE Ohio.
My local club, PCARS, hosted an expedition at Wingfoot Lake State Park – K-3516. They had food and warm drinks as well as a tent set up in the picnic shelter with a heater to keep the operators warm. My dad and I stopped out to hang out with some folks for about an hour and I did a little FT8 on 40-meters using a member’s QDX. It was a ton of fun!
It’s nice to have club events like this just to get folks out and talking radio. We had a couple of interested operators drop by who want to get active in our club. That was cool! I hope to see them around at some other events or meetings. It’s great to have someone to talk POTA with or to shoot the breeze about antennas. More fools, more fun, right?
With some contacts in the log and enough time being outside, we decided to head out. It was a great event that will make for a good story in The Radiogram.
A Very Cold Morning
On Sunday, I got up and had breakfast. I realized that I was going to need to get out to the park for an activation. I decided on West Branch SP – K-1999 because there is a picnic shelter there and the snow was coming down fairly steadily. The wind was low at first, but was bound to pick up the longer I was out. The temperature was in the low 20s F, but it was nice and sunny.
Arriving at the park, it was empty. I saw one other truck pass me on the road out near the entrances to the park areas. It was quiet. At the shelter, it was absolutely silent. My boots were the only sound I heard as I got down to the shelter and started to set up. With the IC-705 and the AX1 all set up and ready to go, I got on the air on 40-meters.
I sat at a table with my back to the wind. It didn’t give me the most commanding view of the water, but it did keep the wind out of my face. That was to be more of a concern the longer I was out there. It was sunny and bright and beautiful as winter days go. The bit of snow falling added some color and gave it that look that lives in my memories from winters here as a kid.
I pulled in 6 contacts on 40-meters pretty quickly. But then 40 seemed to shut down. I’m not sure if it was just Sunday morning on 40 or if the band conditions shifted, but it got really, really quiet.
I flipped the switch on the AX1 and went up to 30-meters. Special thanks to the operators who worked me on both bands. I was excited to cross the 10 contact line. The temperature wasn’t going up, but the wind was starting to get serious. I closed out at the next lull in contacts. After a pileup or two, I was at 18 contacts for the day in about 40 minutes of operating time. Not too bad. I wish I could have stayed out longer, by my fingers and face were telling me that it was time to call it a day.
It was a fun activation and I was glad to be in the field again.
Here’s what the QSO Map looked like for this activation:
I’ve said before that this time of year is some of the best for me at the parks. Sure, it’s cold and windy and sometimes being outside isn’t very pleasant, but it’s quiet. It’s the kind of quiet where you can really hear yourself think. I believe that one of the reasons that parks resonate with us is that they provide a place where we can step outside of what we do all day and recharge ourselves on a very primal level. Sunshine. Breeze. Trees. Birds. The sounds of water. And even the deafening silence that comes with a landscape blanketed in fresh snow.
After I got home, I took a nice 5-ish mile hike with my wife out at the Cuyahoga Valley National Park while my daughter and a friend did some sledding. Blue skies, sunshine, and moving through the landscape did wonders. I highly recommend it.
72 and thanks for reading!