POTA RaDAR Run Activation #3: Table Rock Fish Hatchery

On January 26, 2022, I decided to fit in multiple park activations in one day as a RaDAR (Rapid Deployment Amateur Radio) run. My hope was to activate four or five sites between 14:00 – 21:30 UTC.

Here are the field reports and videos of my first two activations from this run:

The next park in my run (#3) was Table Rock Fish Hatchery, a good 40 minute drive from the spot where I operated at activation #2.

The drive to Table Rock was most pleasant and I stopped a couple times to take in views along the forest service road leading down the mountain.

I was pointing my finger and saying, “I’m going to activate your summit soon, Table Rock!”

I mentioned in a previous post that I made this RaDAR run unnecessarily more complicated by deploying a different antenna and radio combo at each site.

On the drive to the fish hatchery, I decided to use the PackTenna 9:1 UNUN random wire antenna and pair it with my Yaesu FT-817ND.

It had been a while since I used the FT-817ND in the field, so I was very much looking forward to putting it on the air!

Table Rock Fish Hatchery (K-8012)

I pulled into the parking area around noon (local time) and quickly set up the station.


Setup only took a few moments.

The PackTenna is so easy to deploy.

Thankfully, I brought my ULTRA-PK CW Memory Keyer along for the ride this time. Since the FT-817ND doesn’t have built-in CW message memories, this affordable keyer kit really does make the workflow a little easier in the field and frees up  my hands to log both in my notebook and on the HamRS app.

On The Air

I hopped on 20 meters and started calling CQ POTA around 17:05 UTC. I logged seven contacts in seven minutes.

My second contact was CU3HY–always good to work Mike in the Azores.

Next, I moved to 30 meters which turned out to be a very active band. I worked 13 contacts in 13 minutes.

I’ve often said that each POTA and SOTA activation feels a bit like an on-the-air family reunion and this one was no exception. So many regulars in this list of chasers–thanks to all of you!

Since the log sheet was a little difficult to read in the video, I’ve posted full logs below:


Here’s what five watts and the PackTenna 9:1 UNUN random wire antenna yielded at Table Rock (click to enlarge):

Activation Video

Of course, here’s my real-time, real-life video of the entire activation:

Quick Side Trip: Visiting Hamilton

After finishing the Table Rock activation, I looked at the time and decided I could fit in a visit to Hamilton Williams Ceramics in Morganton, NC.

My wife and I decided it’s time to get new dinnerware and we love supporting local artists any/every time we have an opportunity.

I had not seen Hamilton since my junior year in high school–some 30+ years ago.

Hamilton has truly made a name for himself not only as a superb ceramic artist, but as a gallery owner who supports and promotes so many local and regional artisans.

Although I felt a bit of time pressure to move on to the next park, the 5 minute detour off the highway to visit Hamilton was a no-brainer. How often do you get a chance to catch up with someone you haven’t seen in over three decades? I knew we’d obviously have some catching up to do and I also wanted to check out some of his work, so I mentally allotted an hour or so for this side trip.

His gallery is amazing. I was so busy catching up with him, I only took photos from one of the gallery rooms. Next time, I’ll take photos of the other room and uber-cool ceramics studio and work space!

Here’s the plate design my wife and I are going to commission:

It’s exactly what we were looking for.

I know this side trip is firmly off the topic of radio, but if you ever find yourself passing by Morganton, North Carolina, I highly suggest a visit to Hamilton’s gallery. It’s a quick detour off of I-40.

Note, too, that you can order most of his work online.

Turns out Hamilton loves to hike, so don’t be too surprised if you see him mentioned in a future Summits On The Air report!

If you happen to read this, Hamilton, it was great catching up with you! Made my day. Let’s hit a trail soon!

Thank you!

Thank you so much for reading this report and coming along with me on this RaDAR run! I’ll be posting Park #4 very soon.

As always, I’d like to send a special thanks to those of you who have been supporting the site and channel through Patreon and the Coffee Fund. While certainly not a requirement as my content will always be free, I truly appreciate the support.

With the weather slowly starting to move into spring mode here in the northern hemisphere, I suspect there’ll be even more field activators out and about soon. If you can’t head outside with your radio quite yet, hop on the air and chase a few activators. It’s a great way to join the POTA/WWFF/SOTA family! It’s also a brilliant way to practice your CW, SSB, or Digi Mode skills.

Until next time 72 &73,

Thomas (K4SWL)

5 thoughts on “POTA RaDAR Run Activation #3: Table Rock Fish Hatchery”

  1. Can you or will you please add a link to Digikey power distribution part? I’d like to order one of those. I think I spelled it correctly. DigiKey?

  2. I have a question about the PackTenna random wire antenna you used. Did you alter the original length of 29′? Also, did you use a counterpoise?

    1. I have not been using a counterpoise, but that always helps a bit with efficiency. I never trimmed the random wire antenna, so it’s the length that PackTenna provided. It tuned up all bands, so I felt no need to change it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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