Here are the field reports and videos of my first two activations from this run:
- #1 Lake James State Park (K-2739) using the Xiegu X5105 and Speaker Wire antenna
- #2 Pisgah National Forest & Game Land (K-4510/K-6937) using the Elecraft KX2 and PackTenna linked 40M EFHW
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 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)
- Yaesu FT-817ND
- Elecraft T1 ATU
- Packtenna 9:1 UNUN Random Wire Antenna
- CW Morse “Pocket Paddle”
- ULTRA-PK CW memory Keyer KIT
- Bioenno 3 aH LiFePo Battery (Model BLF-1203AB)
- Ham Radio Workbench DC Distribution Panel
- Mini Arborist throw line kit: Tom Bihn Small Travel Tray, Marlow KF1050 Excel 2mm Throwline, and Weaver 8 or 10oz weight
- Tom Bihn Large Travel Tray
- Rite In The Rain Weatherproof Cover/Pouch (affiliate link)
- Jovitec 2.0 mm Mechanical Pencil (affiliate link)
- Muji A6 Notepad (affiliate link)
- Amazon Basics Large DSLR Gadget Bag (affiliate link)
- Portable Zero FT-817 Side Rails and Bail
- Camera: OSMO Action Camera with Joby tripod (affiliate links)
- My fingerless gloves (affiliate link)
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
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):
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!
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!
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,