One of the things I wanted to do this year was a digital mode National Parks on the Air (NPOTA) activation. With less than a week left for NPOTA, I figured I better get busy. I had some free time today, so I headed down to Delaware to activate First State National Park (HP12) using PSK-31. I activated this park once before back in July.
My set-up was very similar to what I used at HP12 back the last time I was there. I set up my 31-foot Jackite pole on my bike rack and used it to support a 29.5-foot vertical wire. I fed it through a 9:1 unun with 18 feet of RG-8x coax from my KX3. The only thing different this time was the addition of my little Linux netbook computer and a Signalink USB interface that I picked up recently.
I started off on 20 meters and quickly worked about 4 stations. Things slowed down a bit after that. Looking at the waterfall, I could see the band fading in and out. After picking up a few more, I moved down to 40 meters. Although 40M seemed to be in good shape, there wasn’t much activity there. I worked one very loud station from West Virginia and headed back to 20 meters to finish up.
By the time my laptop battery died (it’s probably time for a new battery), I managed to log 11 stations, just squeaking by the minimum number needed to qualify the activation. Despite the fading on 20 meters, I managed to cover a good bit of the country including a California station and a park-to-park PSK-31 contact. I’m sure I could have done better using CW but using PSK-31 was fun and a nice change of pace for me. Unfortunately, I left the park without taking pictures.
I’m planning to do one more activation before the end of the year. I’m going back to finish the year where I started off on New Year’s Day. On New Year’s Eve, I’ll be at Valley Forge National Historical Park (HP46) from 1700-1900 UTC. This time, it will be CW only.
72, Craig WB3GCK