I took the family on a multi-day camping trip at New River State Park in April 2022. During that trip, I made an activation of New River each day and also fit in a quick SOTA activation (click here to read an overview). I didn’t film all of my on-the-air because some of that radio time was spent sitting around chatting with my family and even some neighbors at the campground.
Since I’ve already posted a summary of that fine trip, and since I’m traveling today, I’ll keep this field report brief(er).
One thing I love about POTA while camping is how effortless it is to do morning activations. You simply roll out of bed and get on the air. That easy.
The following field report was for an activation session on the morning of April 29, 2022.
I spent the early morning that day brewing a couple cups of coffee and catching up on my QRP Quarterly and QST, then I took Hazel on a short hike.
Back at the campsite, I served Hazel some breakfast and then she enjoyed her first of many morning naps. (I swear that dog is only awake a max of one hour per day–!).
New River State Park (K-2748)
Once again, I paired the venerable Yaesu FT-817ND with the home brew EFHW given to me by Steve (MW0SAW).
- Yaesu FT-817ND
- Moleskine Cahier Journal (affiliate link)
- MW0SAW end-fed half-wave
- N0SA portable paddles
- ULTRA-PK CW memory Keyer KIT
- Spec-Ops Brand T.H.E. Pack EDC
- Bioenno 3 aH LiFePo Battery (Model BLF-1203AB)
- Weaver arborist throw line/weight and storage bag (affiliate links)
- Tom Bihn Large Travel Tray
- Rite In The Rain Weatherproof Cover/Pouch (affiliate link)
- Portable Zero FT-817 Side Rails and Bail
- Buddipole PowerMini 2 Solar Charge Controller
- PowerFilm Solar Folding PV Panels (discontinued blemished units purchased at Hamvention around 2011)
- Camera: OSMO Action Camera with Joby tripod (affiliate links)
On The Air
Propagation was pretty rough and unstable during most of the camping trip, so I kept my expectations in check.
I started by calling CQ POTA on 7063 kHz which was completely clear on my end. When I checked the POTA spots page though (using a kind neighbor’s mobile hot spot for access) I discovered that Eric (WD8RIF) was on the same frequency. Normally, I’d hear him on 40 meters, but I couldn’t that day.
Looking at the spots, I then discovered that KO4TKS was activating a park on 40 meters SSB, so I plugged in the microphone and worked him after a couple of calls.
Next, I found a clear frequency and started calling CQ POTA in CW on 40 meters.
When the contacts started rolling in, they were steady. Within 12 minutes I had logged the 10 stations necessary for a valid park activation that day. Of course, I would be on the air a lot more that day in the afternoon and evening, so I was never worried about making my ten.
All in all, I logged 15 stations during this short morning session:
Here is my real-time, real-life video of the entire activation:
Click here to view on YouTube.
I must say that it’s always a pleasure to put the Yaesu FT-817ND on the air. I find the QSK to be excellent. I know some dislike the relay clicks, but as I’ve said before, I appreciate the mechanical sound of them, actually.
Thank you for joining me during this morning campsite activation!
Of course, I’d also 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 really appreciate the support.
If you’re learning CW right now just remember that it takes a bit of time. Don’t get discouraged if you feel your progress is slow. Most of us reach a point where things start clicking and our speed and interpretation increases in larger steps.
Keep the faith…you’ve got this!
4 thoughts on “Yaesu FT-817ND: A morning QRP POTA activation at New River State Park”
It would be helpful if individuals giving POTA or SOTA activations would give the state or maidenhead grid for the location activated. It would allow us other hams to possibly give more contacts.
POTA and SOTA exchanges tend to be short–not contest short, but short enough to allow the activator and hunters to work a reasonable amount of contacts in brief window of time. Typically the exchanges only include the signal report, state/province, and park number.
That said, as an activator I’m always happy to answer any questions from a hunter/chaser. I’ve often given the location of where I am so the maidenhead can be looked up. Also, many county hunters request the county either during the activation or after via email. I don’t think many activators will know the maidenhead grid location for each spot they activate in the field. Some will, of course, but most won’t know it immediately.
“If you’re learning CW right now just remember that it takes a bit of time. Don’t get discouraged if you feel your progress is slow. Most of us reach a point where things start clicking and our speed and interpretation increases in larger steps.
Keep the faith…you’ve got this!
Thanks for that! I’ve struggled off and on, and never seem to stay at it long enough. I know the characters, but lacking confidence because I rarely “get on the air”. I am working on that though.
Thanks, as always, for sharing these videos.
I have an 817 question for you.
We have such a wide array of QRP rigs available to us these days, I’m curious what brings you back to the Yaesu for activations. It’s bigger than our more modern radios, with no ATU, more current draw . . . I’m just wondering if there is something that you find it does particularly well, or if it’s just “because I like to use it” which to me is an entirely valid reason too! My 897 served me well as does my 891, I’ve had Yaesu handhelds forever, so I’m certainly a fan. I don’t own an 817/8 but they have a devoted following so I just wanted to get your perspective on it.
Thanks much. And by the way that appears to be one contented dog!