Because of family obligations, my QRP-portable operations are usually limited to weekends. A change in plans this week freed up Tuesday through Friday mornings for some POTA activations. I needed to stop by my daughter’s house each day, and she lives about 10 minutes away from several POTA/WWFF entities.
French Creek State Park
I haven’t been up to French Creek State Park (K-1355, KFF-1355) in a while, so I thought it would be a good place to kick off the week. I operated near the Hopewell Lake boat launch, which is a busy place on weekends. On a Tuesday morning, however, there were very few people there.
Using my usual TR-35 (5 watts) and homebrew vertical, I logged 25 contacts. All but two were on 40M; I didn’t have much luck on 20M this time out. I also ended up with four park-to-park contacts.
Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site
On Wednesday, I made a return trip to Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site (K-0834, KFF-0834). I last activated this site back in October of last year. I parked my truck in a parking lot on the top of a hill. This would have been a great day for operating from a picnic table, but there were no tables to be found.
Using the same setup as yesterday, I worked 36 stations. On 20M, I worked Germany, Finland, and France in rapid succession. There was also an Italian station calling, but other stations kept stepping on him. Unfortunately, I could only pick out part of the callsign. I also had one park-to-park contact (that I know of).
William Penn State Forest and Back to French Creek
William Penn State Forest (K-5481, KFF-4914) is another entity overdue for a re-visit. My destination today was the Hopewell Fire Tower, which is next to French Creek State Park. Although I’ve operated there many times over the years, this would only be my second POTA/WWFF activation.
I’ve always had good luck operating from Hopewell Fire Tower. As you would expect, this area has good elevation. Unlike some of the other adjacent POTA/WWFF entities, this location has great cell coverage.
To keep things simple, I went with my Elecraft AX1 antenna and window mount. Since I used my TR-35, I was limited to 20M and 17M with the AX1.
The band conditions weren’t great, so I thought the 10th POTA contact would never come. I had never been “skunked” before with the AX1, so I pressed on. After what seemed like an eternity, I finished up with 15 contacts, with three park-to-park contacts.
Since I had to pass through French Creek State Park to get to my daughter’s house, I stopped for a quick activation—or so I thought. This time I went with my 19-ft vertical. I thought, with the larger antenna, I could knock off ten contacts in no time flat. Ha!
Normally, 40M is my bread and butter band with the homebrew vertical. Not this time. I only made one contact on 40M (W6WU running QRP in Maryland), with the rest on 30M and 20M. It took so long to make my tenth contact, I really thought I was going to have a busted activation. Eventually, I logged number ten and called it a day.
I had two park-to-park contacts from French Creek and a nice contact with fellow Polar Bear VE3WMB. Michael was out portable in Ontario using an Alexloop and his brand new Xiegu 6100. His new rig sounded great in Pennsylvania.
Evansburg State Park
On Friday, I wrapped up my series of weekday activations with a visit to Evansburg State Park (K-1351, KFF-1351). The weather forecast was calling for heavy rain and gusting winds later in the day, so I hoped I could squeeze an activation in before it started. Ha!
When I got to the park, the skies were overcast, but there was no rain. I set up the 19-ft vertical and the TR-35. As soon as I got on the air it started drizzling. I got to work, hoping to beat the heavy rain. Ha!
It was another slow day for me on the air. I only made one contact each on 40M and 30M. Both were with WB8DTT in Michigan. There was more activity up on 20M, although several minutes passed between contacts.
The rain started coming down heavier, so I used a plastic shopping bag to protect the antenna from the rain. About 20 minutes later, I went out in the rain to tear down the antenna. I finished up with 15 contacts in the log, including a contact with a SOTA activator in Arkansas. I had one park-to-park contact today, but that station was operating from two parks.
So that wraps up my string of weekday activations. It’s not often that I get to go out during the week, so I enjoyed avoiding the weekend crowds in some parks. Although there seems to be a lot more hunters on the weekends.
73, Craig WB3GCK
2 thoughts on “Rare Weekday Activations”
Good report Craig. I’ve been struggling to get QSOs on some recent activations too. I haven’t had a pile-up in a while. I’m interested in your antenna mounting arrangement; could you post pictures of how it’s supported on the truck bed?
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Hi John! Band conditions were up and down for me this week. My antenna mount is decidely low-tech, but it works.
I ground the antenna to the body of the truck with some braid fitted with alligator clips. I removed one of the screws that secure the bed liner and used it to fasten a small, steel angle brace that I clip the ground lead to.
When we make our annual vacation trip to North Carolina, I have to leave the crate at home. So I’m trying to come up with a similar mount that doesn’t require the crate.
72, Craig WB3GCK