POTA Field Report: Welcoming party plus QRP DX fun with the Discovery TX-500 & MFJ-1984LP

On Friday, September 10, 2021, I made a detour to the Table Rock Fish Hatchery (K-8012) on my way back to the QTH.

I love this site: it’s fairly remote, has tall trees, loads of space to set up antennas, convenient picnic tables, incredibly friendly park rangers and, most importantly, a welcoming party.

Welcoming party

These two greet me each time I’m at Table Rock. They’re incredibly friendly and now that they know I’m a complete and total sucker for dogs, they hang around and get attention for quite a while.

This time, I think they even recognized my vehicle because they were there as I opened the door.

One of the park rangers told me that the Beagle was hit by a car a couple months ago (which explained the only time they didn’t show up for petting and attention) but I’m happy to report he’s fully recovered and as lively as ever.

Table Rock Fish Hatchery (K-8012)

Table Rock has a small picnic area, but enough tables to seat a whole classroom of children. The trees are tall and perfect for antennas, but as I mentioned in a previous video (and possibly the one I made during this activation), there are power lines crossing the site.

Regardless of where you set up your station in the field, always check for power lines and dead tree limbs before you commit to launching a line into the trees. I’ve been to some pretty remote sites that had power lines crossing the land.

Field Kit

Table Rock gave me a chance to show off the TX-500 field kit I built around my Red Oxx Micro Manager EDC bag.

I actually made a short video before my activation showing how I pack the Micro Manager for the field. It’s ideal for the TX-500:

Clci here to view on YouTube.

For full details and links, check out this previous post and review of the Red Oxx Micro Manager.

Now where was I? Oh yes…

As I noted in the video, I didn’t actually use the compact throw line in my TX-500 pack since I had my larger throw line cube in the car.

The MFJ-1984LP EFHW

In addition, I didn’t use the PackTenna EFHW in my pack because I had already deployed the MFJ-1984LP EFHW. That and I need to trim the EFHW and add another length of wire to make it a 40/20/15 resonant antenna.

Gear:

On the Air

In general, this was a text book activation–my favorite kind. The contacts were steady, but not on top of each other and I even worked a little DX.

I started on 40 meters and worked eleven stations in about 15 minutes.

I then moved up to to 20 meter band and worked eleven more stations in about 32 minutes.

One welcome surprise was working HA9RE (Elemer) in Hungary. He’s an avid POTA and county hunter, so if he contacts you, be prepared to send your county.

Funny thing about counties: many of the sites I visit straddle county lines and it’s difficult to tell which county I’m actually in during the activation. I have to do a little online digging after to confirm. If I discover I gave the wrong county to the operator, then I send them an email with the correction. County hunters often want paper QSLs as well, so you may receive these in the mail post-contact if the hunter is applying for an award.

After concluding the video, I looked at the time and realized I could fit in a little time to hunt other parks. I didn’t have internet, so I had to do this by simply tuning around the regular POTA watering holes and finding them. I managed to fit in two Park-To-Park contacts (KD8BBK and AC4SH) before going QRT.

All in all, 25 contacts were logged at Table Rock.

QSO Map

Does the TX-500 and MFJ-1984LP pairing work well at QRP levels? Here are the results on a QSO Map (click to enlarge):

Video

Here’s my real-time, real-life video of the entire activation. Sadly, it doesn’t include my canine welcoming committee because they had other engagements to attend and left before I whipped out the camera!

Photos

I took a few extra photos on site so thought I’d slip them into this report:

Thank you

Again, thank you for reading this field report and a special thanks to those of you who are supporting the site and channel through Patreon and the Coffee Fund. While certainly not a requirement–as my content will always be free–I really appreciate the support. This site is a labor of love and, frankly, I enjoy putting together these field reports and re-living each activation.

Here’s hoping you get a chance to play radio outdoors. Don’t let anyone tell you QRP is an exercise in futility–with a reasonable antenna and 5 watts, you can work vast parts of our amazing planet. “The proof is in the pudding,” as they say, so let’s start making some QRP pudding!

Cheers & 73,

Thomas (K4SWL)

One thought on “POTA Field Report: Welcoming party plus QRP DX fun with the Discovery TX-500 & MFJ-1984LP”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.