POTA at Nolde Forest

I activated a new (for me) park this morning. Although Nolde Forest State Park (K/KFF-4362) is only a 45 minute drive for me, I had never been there.

The Nolde Forest Environmental Education Center is located south of Reading, Pennsylvania. It’s a 725 acre park with numerous trails and diverse habitats.

I first pulled into the Sawmill parking area, which is a trailhead for some of the hiking trails. The parking lot was small and crowded, so I drove down the road to the main entrance. There, I found the gate partially closed with a sign that said parking was only for an event. Back to the Sawmill area I went.

Bulletin board in the Sawmill parking area at Nolde Forest Evironment State Park
Bulletin board in the Sawmill parking area at Nolde Forest Evironment State Park

I found a parking spot and got the KX3 and homebrew vertical set up. The area is in a low spot, so I wasn’t expecting much. Not long after I spotted myself, 40M came alive with callers. I made my first ten contacts in about 9 minutes. I stayed on 40M about 30 minutes until the hunters thinned out.

My parking spot in Nolde Forest State Park. The parking lot was crowded, but I managed to get a spot on the end.
My parking spot in Nolde Forest State Park. The parking lot was crowded, but I managed to get a spot on the end.

The 20M band was a different story, though. I only made two contacts up there, but one of them gave me a 559 from Nevada. Not too shabby for 5 watts in a gully, I guess. I tried 30M, but I only found one taker there. I went back to 40M and picked up a few more before wrapping up.

At one point, a young man walked up to my passenger-side window and asked what I was doing. I gave him my elevator speech about Amateur Radio and Parks on the Air (POTA). He gave me two thumbs up and said that was “rad.” I assume I suitably impressed him.

After an hour and fifteen minutes, I had 25 contacts in my log. No park-to-park QSOs this time, though.

Sadly, I didn’t get to see much of the park beyond the parking lot. My doctor hasn’t cleared me for hiking (or biking) just yet. I need to go back again sometime when I can do some exploring. Maybe some operating on top of the hill that was behind me.

73, Craig WB3GCK

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