When my family spends the summer in Québec we typically visit it several times, especially since it’s never far from where we stay.
Thing is, each entry into Cap Touremente costs about $20 or so (unless we purchase an annual pass), but it’s worth it for the hikes, and the scenery. We also like supporting parks with our entry fee.
For a POTA activation–? I don’t need access to the main park, especially if the family isn’t with me. I did a little research and found a spot within the NWA on the “free” side of the park gates.
The spot is a basically a wildlife viewing area with a small grass road that is flanked by marsh land near the town of Saint-Joachim.
Marsh Land = Mozzies
Before heading to Cap Touremente on Monday, June 27, 2022, I sprayed a “healthy” dose of insect repellent on my clothing. Having been to this spot several times in the past, I knew what awaited me: mosquitos. Lots of them.
We have mosquitos back home in the mountains of North Carolina, of course, but not in the quantities you find in marshy areas along the north shore of the St-Lawrence.
That Monday, though, it was very gusty. In the morning we had heavy rains, then a front pushed that through in the early afternoon opening up clear skies and very gusty winds. Mosquitos don’t do well in the wind, so my hope was the wind would offer an extra layer of protection.
Spoiler alert: The winds did help to some degree, but Canadian mosquitoes are heartier than our Carolina varieties.
Cap Tourmente National Wildlife Area (VE-0012)
I had been on the air earlier in the day and conditions were truly in the dumps–at least, at my latitude. I knew it wouldn’t be a quick activation, so I allowed myself extra time to complete the activation.
On the 10 minute drive to the site, I decided to pair the Elecraft KX2 with the TufetIn 9:1 random wire antenna that I configured with a 31′ radiator and a 17′ counterpoise. I found this combo very effective in the past and I love the frequency agility of random wire antennas especially when the bands are rough and it becomes a game of band hopping to see what portions might be open.
- Elecraft KX2 and KXPD2 Paddles
- tufteIn EFRW QRP Antenna Long Wire
- Moleskine Cahier Journal (affiliate link)
- Tom Bihn Synapse 25 backpack
- 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)
- N0RNM homemade 3D-printed knee board
- Camera: OSMO Action Camera (affiliate link)
- Folding camp chair from ALDI
Set up was super quick. I launched a line into a tree branch overhanging the grass path/road and hoisted the radiator into a vertical orientation.
Note that in my real-time, real-life activation video below, I spend a bit of time showing how I configured the TufetIn random wire antenna.
I unfolded my camping chair and placed it on the ground. I sat in the chair to prepare my logs and quickly discovered that the ground was super soft after all of the rain. One of the back legs buried itself under my weight. When I pulled the chair out of the soft ground, one of the rubber feet popped off. I had to sort of hand dig it out of the ground. If you watch my video, you’ll probably notice that my hands aren’t exactly clean! Now you know why.
On the air
I then moved up to 30 meters and worked VE3LDT, WB8JAY, and
NT2A within about five minutes.
Then a dry spell. After about 15 minutes of no calls at all, I finally logged three more stations on 17 meters: AA0Z, DM3KP, and EC1R. I was very pleased to work both Germany and Spain with 5 watts!
With 11 logged (and 10 required), I had validated the activation at this point.
Next, I did a wee bit of hunting and logged K4NYM on 20 meters and K8UT on 40 meters. What fun!
I had enough flexibility in my schedule that I was able to fit in a bit more time, so I decided to see what activity I might find on the SSB portion of the 20 meter band.
I did not bring my KX2 hand mic on this trip, so I had to make do with the internal mic which worked a charm. I had enough juice left in the KX2 internal battery to run a full 10 watts, so I pumped up the power and started calling CQ POTA. I was very pleased to log EC1R, AJ5C, EA1FIC, EA7JXZ, and EA1GIB.
Obviously, there was a path open to Europe and I was very pleased to work so many stations in Spain.
Here’s how well the KX2 and TufetIn random wire pair performed that fine afternoon at Cap Tourement:
Here’s my real-time, real-life video of the entire activation. As with all of my videos, there are no ads and I don’t edit out any parts of the on-air activation time. Funny because I thought I’d be filming a very short activation, but it turned out to be a rather lengthy one!
At the end of the day, the mosquito situation wasn’t too bad. No doubt, the insect repellent played a large role in protecting me because the winds seemed to have little effect on them. I didn’t have to swat much, but mozzies were constantly flying around me. I did get a couple of bites above my ankles, but hey…I lived to tell the tale!
Those of you who live in areas with lots of mosquitos are probably laughing at me right now. That’s okay…laugh all you want. I’ll be the first to admit that mosquitoes (and ticks) bother me more than snakes and bears. 🙂 I suppose it’s all about what you get used to, right?
I’m curious what beasties you have to avoid when playing radio in the field–please comment!
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.
In fact, your support is what has made this extended family road trip to Canada possible. I apply any funds above and beyond the costs of running the website, producing the videos, and purchasing review equipment, to our family travel fund. This not only gives me an opportunity to play radio well outside my home area, but my family also gets to benefit from the work I put into producing activation videos and content on QRPer.com.
Thank you so very much!
Cheers & 72,
Thomas (VY2SW / K4SWL)
On the walk back to the car, I took a few shots across the marsh and at the wildlife viewing area. Enjoy: