Tag: State Parks

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

KFF-1848 and KFF-3627 Activations

KFF-1848 and KFF-3627 Activations

Today I activated KFF-1848 – Colt Creek State Park and KFF-3627 – Van Fleet State Trail (at Polk City Trailhead). This is the first time I worked two parks in one day and I must say, I’m exhausted.

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I started with the drive out to Colt Creek. I got there at 7:50 and had to wait until 8:00 for the gates to open. I used my newly minted yearly pass and drove back about a mile and a half to the picnic area. I was a little worried as the pavilion was screened in but then I saw an open air pavilion about 100 yards down the trail. Sam and I set up there. I img_2141decided to time how long it took me to set up. I didn’t rush and even guyed the antenna. Set up took me 11 minutes. Tear down took me 10.

This is the first time I’ve been to Colt Creek and it is a beautiful area. The view from our operating position was awesome! I had woods behind me and a lake with a huge fishing pier in front of us. Sam spent the whole time staring into the woods listening to the noises.

The activation was successful at Colt Creek and I made a total of 12 contacts. I tried 40 meters for 15 minutes at first and didn’t hear a thing. I went to 20 meters and in 45-minutes I had my 12 contacts.

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Sam and I packed up and trekked back up to the truck. We had some water and a snack and headed up to the Van Fleet State Trail. This area is no way as nice as Colt Creek. It was a muddy parking lot with one pavilion. It is basically under an overpass and is adjacent to people’s back yards. So close I could hear the conversations. Granted, this is aimg_2146 trailhead in the middle of the trail.

We set up with no issues and just went on 20 meters. I quickly made 10 contacts but I like to have at least 11 in case I messed up a call sign. Well, that didn’t happen. My radio started acting up and transmitting on its own. It sounded like the key was shorting out. So, we tore down and headed home.

Once home, I set up the radio just like I had it in the field and had zero problems. I called Elecraft tech support and they were unsure what to tell me. They did say if it did do it again that it is under warranty and pack it up and send it in. I will have to operate it in the same outdoor conditions with the heat to see if that had anything to do with it.

Logs are turned in and I feel like it has been a successful day of activations.

 

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 ┬ájust 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…