During my West Virginia POTA expedition with Eric (WD8RIF), Miles (KD8KNC), and Theo (The “Great Warg”) dog, the last park we hit on Friday, May 20, 2022 was Gauley River National Recreation Area (the first park was New River Gorge and the second was Hawk’s Nest State Park).
Back in the days of National Parks On The Air (2016), I activated this site (the Gauley River, actually) but it was snowing, the winds were howling, and being on a tight schedule, I didn’t hang around to explore the site.
Gauley River National Recreation Area (K-0695)
On Friday, May 20, 2022, the weather was nearly ideal.
Eric, Miles, and I decided to venture down to the river for our activation.
We knew that it would compromise our signals to some degree setting up at the base of the Summersville Dam instead near the top, but how can you pass up scenery like this–?
The banks of the river were very rocky and there wasn’t a lot of space for Eric and I to separate our stations, so we knew our signals might interfere with each other.
Eric set up his trusty 31′ Jackite pole which supports a 28.5 vertical wire–the entire setup is attached to his folding chair. FYI: Eric tells me he’ll do a little write-up here on QRPer.com detailing his antenna setup in the near future.
You can barely see it in the photo above, but I deployed my Tufteln Random Wire antenna which I have configured with a 31′ radiator and one 17′ counterpoise.
- Elecraft KX2 and KXPD2 Paddles
- tufteln EFRW QRP Antenna Long Wire
- Moleskine Cahier Journal (affiliate link)
- Spec-Ops Brand T.H.E. Pack EDC
- Mini Arborist throw line kit: Tom Bihn Small Travel Tray, Marlow KF1050 Excel 2mm Throwline, and Weaver 8 or 10oz weight
- Rite In The Rain Weatherproof Cover/Pouch (affiliate link)
- GraphGear 0.9mm 1000 Automatic Drafting Pencil (affiliate link)
- Camera: OSMO Action Camera (affiliate link)
Setup was quick and easy!
On The Air
I hopped on 30 meters since Eric was on 40 meters. To minimize receiver desensitization, we tried to stay on non harmonically related bands. As you’ll hear in the activation video below, our stations still interfered with each other, but we both coped.
I started calling CQ POTA and within ten minutes worked 8 stations.
Not a bad start!
I worked a couple more stations on 20 meters, Eric on 40 meters (P2P of course!) and five more stations on 40 meters for a total of 16 stations logged in about 28 minutes on the air.
I was very pleased with the Tufteln random wire antenna’s performance.
Here’s what my five watts into the Tufteln random wire antenna at the base of the Summersville Dam looked like on a QSO Map:
Here’s my real-time, real-life video of the entire activation next to WD8RIF. As with all of my videos, there are no ads and I don’t edit out any parts of the activation:
What a fun and memorable activation! As I re-watched parts of the activation video, I noticed how enthusiastic I was about such an amazing location. Experiencing the outdoors and radio in this way is so incredibly fulfilling.
Make sure to check out Eric’s field report which includes details about his KX3 set-up that you’ll see in the video above.
Thank you for joining me on this memorable POTA 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 using my activation videos as a means to practice CW, I hope they’re serving you well. Many have asked me to include more SSB in my activations and I will do this from time to time.
Truth is, I love SSB as well, but I’ll be the first to admit that when I started doing CW activations, I found them much easier than SSB. With RBN auto-spots, I worry less about getting spotted when in an area without mobile phone access. The CW portion of the bands have so much more room since the mode is so narrow thus finding a free frequency without adjacent signal interference is so easy. In the summer, QRN is much more manageable with a narrow CW filter in play. Also, in spots like this where the river is quite loud, CW is not only a bit easier to hear, but the transmitted signal doesn’t include any background noise.
If you’re primarily an SSB operator, I’d encourage you to give CW a go. It’s not for everyone and that’s perfectly fine. You may, however, find it is for you!
Cheers & 72/73,
Woo hoo! You made it to the end of the field report! As a small reward here are a few extra photos of the Gauley River and Summerville Dam project: