Last Tuesday (March 2, 2021), I needed to make a quick trip to south Asheville and pick up some gear I had ordered from REI. Of course, I had a hankering to fit in a Parks On The Air activation. I contacted my buddies Eric (WD8RIF) and Mike (K8RAT) and mentioned I might make a visit to the Blue Ridge Parkway [it’s always a good idea to have others look for you in case your unable to spot yourself on the bands].
By the time I jumped in the car, though, I talked myself out of doing the activation. Propagation was poor and I had a maximum of 30 minutes to fit in a valid activation.
After picking up my gear at REI, I realized, though, that a 30 minute limit made for an awfully fun challenge.
I had to pass by the parkway to go home, so why not? Right?
I did a quick check and, yes(!) I had the Elecraft KX2 and CHA MPAS Lite antenna in the car.
Before leaving REI, I scheduled my activation on the POTA website so that the site would know to auto-spot me if the Reverse Beacon Network picked me up.
Blue Ridge Parkway (K-3378)
I arrived at the parkway in very short order. I decided to do the activation at the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor’s Center and Headquarters. Normally, I avoid this location because it’s busy and the best spots to set up a radio are in the path of visitors walking around the perimeter of the grounds.
It was a cold, overcast Tuesday morning so, as I expected, I almost had the place to myself.
I deployed the CHA MPAS Lite vertical in very short order–perhaps 3 minutes. Since I had also packed my Pixel 3 camera/phone and tripod in the car, I even recorded a video of the full activation (see below).
In short? I snagged my 10 contacts in about 19 minutes on the air–all on 40 meters CW. Not too bad for a Tuesday morning with five watts and a vertical.
Here’s a QSOmap of the contacts I made:
I also had a first at this activation! I worked ND9M/MM. To my knowledge, I’ve never worked a maritime mobile station at a park activation–certainly not in CW! The map above omits this contact since the location was unknown.
When I submitted my log to Bill DeLoach (our regional contact for POTA logs) said I really need a “Wham Bam!” award for this quick activation. Ha ha!
Here’s a real-time, real-life video of the entire activation:
Thank you for reading this field report!