A few weeks ago, one of my YouTube channel subscribers asked if I could make a video showing the entire process of activating a park: everything from planning, scheduling, packing, driving, setting up, to activating.
Why not, right?
So on January 20, 2022 I scheduled an activation of K-6856 and recorded a very, very long activation video!
It’s 1 hour 42 minutes long, in fact, but I broke the video into chapters to make it easier to navigate and digest.
Since the entire process has been captured on video, my field report below will simply focus on the various sections of the video along with my results. That and I didn’t even think to take a single photo I was so busy with the camera (images here are all screen shots).
In the shack
My OSMO Action camera does a brilliant job outdoors, but in the shack it did struggle with my monitor brightness/contrast while I scheduled the activation. When I checked the quality from the camera’s built-in monitor screen, it looked pretty acceptable, but after being uploaded to YouTube, it was less so. Sorry about that!
Knowing this could be a problem, I did my best to describe everything I was doing on the screen. Frankly, I couldn’t go back and re-shoot this if I wanted to because it was all happening in real-time.
Before I scheduled the activation, I did sneak in a wee bit of park hunting! After all, this is how I do things in the shack.
Oh yeah, my shack wasn’t exactly tidy that day as I had a project on the table. You’ve been warned.
I decided to take the IC-705 because I planned to do a little SSB in this activation and thought voice messages might come in handy. For the first time ever, I took my relatively new IC-705 Pelican case to the field!
In the end, I packed way more than I normally would, but I thought I’d include extras since I’d be activating so close to where I parked the car. This also made it easier to describe the components and accessories one would normally pack for a park activation.
On site, I quickly deployed the antenna and full station. I say “quickly” but, frankly, I took my time as I was in no rush for once.
- Icom IC-705
- Pelican 1400 Waterproof Case (affiliate link)
- Icom IC-705 3D Printed Foot
- Elecraft T1 ATU (packed, but not needed)
- Mat-Tuner mAT-705Plus
- Chameleon CHA MPAS Lite
- Muji A6 Notepad and Koh-I-Noor 2.0 mm Mechanical Pencil (affiliate links)
- CW Morse “Pocket Paddle”
- Spec-Ops Brand T.H.E. Pack EDC
- Bioenno 3 aH LiFePo Battery (Model BLF-1203AB)
- Tom Bihn Large Travel Tray
- Rite In The Rain Weatherproof Cover/Pouch (affiliate link)
- HEROCLIP Carabiner Clip (attached to my backpack–affiliate link)
- Camera: OSMO Action Camera with Joby tripod (affiliate links)
- My fingerless gloves (affiliate link)
I even brewed a cup of coffee using a Kujudisposable pour-over pack.
I purchased this Kuju dark roast pack on a whim while picking up some items at REI.
Overall, I thought the brew was quite good, but it is very pricey per cup ($2-3 US). I prefer grinding my own coffee and using the pour-over filter in my coffee field kit (which I need to detail in a future article!). Still, I see the appeal of Kuju packs as they’re incredibly convenient.
On The Air
I worked 18 stations in 19 minutes on the air.
Next, I switched to SSB, connected my LiFePo4 3Ah battery, and turned the power up to a sky-scorching 10 watts!
I worked 12 contacts in 9 minutes. Each time I run SSB I’m reminded how quickly one can rack up QSOs even though I don’t exactly keep the exchange as short as many other ops.
Frankly, at the end of the day I feel like POTA is a fun field activity and not a contest. When I activate, I’m fine with including a little extra banter.
Next, I moved up to the 20 meter band and back to CW.
I worked an additional 11 stations in 14 minutes.
Hazel (who was sitting behind me) started whining during my last couple of contacts. She was bored and wanted to take a little walk, so I called QRT. She’d been pretty darn patient during this activation after all.
She’s such a good girl.
Here’s a QSO Map of the activation–note that the red pins are SSB contacts:
I’m not sure if I’ll ever do a video like this again, although I’ve also been asked to do one for a SOTA activation.
Despite having to do a little editing to trim the non-radio bits, it was quite fun to put together. If I could go back in time, I might have tidied up the shack a bit.
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.
I’ve got a number of activation videos lined-up as January 2022 turned out to be a very radioactive month! Stay tuned.
I hope you get an opportunity to play radio this week. Stay healthy and safe out there!
Cheers & 72/73!