Tag: POTA

Hillsborough River State Park – Take 2

Hillsborough River State Park – Take 2

I went camping again at Hillsborough River State Park. I am really enjoying the combination of ham radio and camping.  This time, I was able to relax more and take in the sites of the park. I walked one of the trails that went by some rapids and then over a boardwalk. It was very nice. Sam enjoyed it too!

The River

 

12m SpiderBeam Mast

I was able to test out my new SpiderBeam 12m pole too. This is the first time I was able to use my End Fed Half Wave (EFHW) dipole since you are not allowed to tie anything to trees at the State Parks. IT did great. SWR of 1.2 or less across 40m and 20m and it had a SWR of 4:1 on 30m, well within the tunable range of the KX3. I made 17 contacts on 20m and 10 contacts on 40m bringing my park contact total to 40… I need 44 to make it count for WWFF so I’ll have to go back one more time.

I was planning on activating 2 other parks as part of this trip but I caught my daughters cold and cut the trip short. With the threat of rain, I didn’t want to chance getting sicker.

I go again in a few weeks, this time to Alafia River State Park. Should be a cool adventure. I hope to hit Manatee River State Park as well as part of that activation.

Thanks to all chasers who contacted me.

Also, since it is Thanksgiving, I thought I would share my favorite Thanksgiving video clip…

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Happy Thanksgiving,

Roger

Camping and Ham Radio

Camping and Ham Radio

I’ve decided to start camping again. I had everything I needed except the tent so I got one. This is a great way to get out in nature AND enjoy ham radio. The Florida State Parks that are campsites are all one the WWFF – Parks on the Air (POTA) list. My goal is to camp at all the ones in Florida over the next 2 years. I have 4 or 5 within an hour of me so I should have a good start.

I’ve already camped at Hillsborough River State Park and going back again next week. I had a good time and when I went a few weeks ago it was kinda my trial run – just to make sure I had everything I needed and Sam, my German Shepherd, liked camping as well (she did as long as we went on a walk every few hours).

POTA has an award for activating parks from 00:00 – 08:00 GMT. By camping at these sites, I should be able to earn the award. Also, I can chose a campsite close to other parks and activate multiple parks in a few days and instead of staying at an expensive hotel, I just pitch the tent!

My time at Hillsborough River State Park was great, I even had a visitor, a deer, show up at my site! I made the required amount of contacts, took notes of what I needed for a multi night stay, and called it a success!

I’ll be going next week for a few nights and hope to activate 3 or 4 parks. It looks like the weather will be great.

I plan on starting to update the blog more often again. Life kinda got in the way since Irma. BTW, no damage here from the storm except for some branches down (no made into firewood for camping).

I hope to see you on the air!

73,
Roger

Taking a Forced Break

Taking a Forced Break

My luck has not been to good lately on trying to activate parks. First, my KX3 had issues just when I was getting rolling and had to go in for warranty repair.

Just as after I got it back and was going to start activating again, my truck starts giving me fits. I either have to get a "new" truck or put an engine in this one. Since I don't want a car payment, it's looking like the engine is the way to go.

Once all that is fixed, I plan on activating two parks a week. If they are close together, maybe more. I really enjoy activating an miss it even though I just started. My goal is to activate all the parks within 75 miles of my home by end of next year. That's about 80 parks.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch… I've gotten active again with SKCC. I'm also a member of FISTS but have not been active with them. I'm looking into them I found out I am really close to quite a few awards and didn't even know it. I'm going to start participating more in their activities as well. I don't think I've touched my mic in a month!

As for my CW progression. Well, I've hit a wall. I just lose one letter then an avalanche of lost letters follows getting me frustrated. I can handle the SKCC exchanges with no problem, but once I'm in a rag chew, I get lost real fast.

In January, maybe earlier in September, in going to take the CW Ops classes. It's two months of intense CW training that is supposed to take you to 15 words per minute in 2 months. I've heard nothing but good things about it and it must be popular. The waiting list is about a year! I hope it helps. I'd really like to become proficient at CW.

In the meantime, I'll just keep plugging along.

Alafia River State Park – KFF-1829

Alafia River State Park – KFF-1829

Just got home from the Alafia River State Park as part of the Parks on the Air program. I even bought a yearly pass to the Florida State Parks so I can go to any park as many times as I want.

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My Operating Spot

I  just checked the log and I have 11 contacts, including 1 Canadian and 1 Ukrainian! 40 meters was a bust. SWR was all over the place with my BuddiPole but it worked flawlessly on 20. I’ll be looking into that before I go out again. My new battery worked great as well as the KX3 and PX3.

Used my KX3 paddles for the first time. Thanks everyone for being patient with my sending. I kept losing my last dit… I really have a lot of work to do to get comfortable with them. Using them is the only way to learn.

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PX3, Battery and KX3 with Paddles

Biggest issue was the guy spraying weeds for 20 mins 10 feet from me from the back of a 4×4. I know I missed 2 calls during that time I couldn’t hear.

Sam enjoyed watching the wildlife and the mountain bikers roll by. After we were there for almost two hours, and it getting up to 90 degrees, Sam looked like she was melting. I’ll have to decide if to keep bringing her with me in the summer as it is not good for her to be in the heat like that.

I’ll be going later this week to Colt Creek State Park and going to try to make a day of it by going to Fort Foster Historic Site and Hillsborough River State Park

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Sam is Melting…
Local Park Activations Planned

Local Park Activations Planned

This week I plan on activating 4 parks and hopefully getting 10 contacts at each one. Monday or Tuesday I plan on going back to Alafia River State Park. I’ve been there once and did my first activation there but I only got nine contacts and need 10 to make it “official.” I also want to go through another complete set-up with no pressure of getting to other parks again.

Then, later in the week I plan a three park run – Colt Creek, Fort Foster and Hillsborough River State Parks. It is 80 miles round trip so if I get an early start I should be able to do it. Once again, there is no pressure, this is just a personal goal in preparation for activating parks further away.

I’m planning a Space Coast run, if the stars align, for July. I plan on working 3 parks the first day and 3-4 parks the second day. It’s about 30 mins from park a to b. Another 30 mins from park b to c, and so on, so this is doable and a good challenge for me. It’s far enough away where I have to be prepped and have everything I need but close enough where I can get home in 2-3 hours if needed (or someone come to me).

I’ve also added another tool to my arsenal. I have a mag mount and Hamstick antennas for 20, 30 and 40 meters so if I go to a place that is not “ham friendly” I should be able to at least operate from my truck.

Here goes nothing…..

Working on a plan

Working on a plan

My activity on the radio has been limited lately. This is due to many reasons – health, poor band conditions, and family commitments – just to name a few. I’ve been doing a lot of listening the last few days and made a few contacts.

 

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What I have done is start my Parks on the Air (POTA) plan. I found out that there are 84 parks within 100 miles of my QTH and 25 miles from my moms house! See all the stars on the map? Those are the parks. That is a lot I can activate without driving far. Now, some of them are wildlife preserves and actual islands that I may not be able to get to (especially the islands since I don’t have a boat) but that is still a lot.

There is some special POTA awards called the Warthog, Rhino and Cheetah. That is for operating 2,3 and 5 parks in a 24-hour period. Looking at the map, there is no reason I should not be able to get these awards.

I also have decided that I will most likely stay overnight at a hotel when working the east coast of Florida. I’ll invite the family and they can hang out at the beech when I work the parks. I figure to work the multiple parks in a few days and not drive back and forth, staying at a hotel, will cost the same as the gas money and wear and tear on the truck.

I’ve also tuned up the 20, 30 and 40 meter verticals on the mag mount on my truck. I did that since some of the locations I may not be able to set up an antenna and have to work from the parking lot. Some of the sites are museums so I defiantly cannot set up my BuddiPole there.  This way I can pop the mag mount on the top of the truck with the right antenna and hopefully get my 10 contacts.

Hope to see you in the logbook soon!