Side trail POTA ATNO at Boisé des Compagnons-de-Cartier in Québec City

On July 4, 2022, I plotted a multiple park POTA run that included four urban parks all clustered in the Sainte-Foy region of Québec City.

The first park I activated that day was Parc de la Plage-Jacques-Cartier (VE-0970)–click here to check out my full field report and activation video. The second park was Parc Cartier-Roberval (VE-0964)–click here to check out that field report and activation video. The third park was Boisé de Marly Provincial Park–click here to check out that field report and activation video.

My fourth park was Boisé des Compagnons-de-Cartier which essentially adjoined the previous park I activated. As I mentioned in the previous field report, I could have simply walked through the trail system to this park from my previous site, but I needed to find a different parking spot for my car, so I simply drove to a large lot next to the secondary school I spotted on Google Maps.

Turns out even though that lot was nearly empty, it was a paid parking, so I reserved a parking spot for one hour.

Boisé des Compagnons-de-Cartier (VE-0958)

When I first parked, I wasn’t entirely sure where the park entrance was until I spotted a bench and park sign at the far corner of the lot.

This park, much like the previous one, seemed to be an urban park with trails for walking and running.

I walked the main path into the park and looked for a park bench like I found at the park entrance (above). I thought it might be nice to set up along the path and do a park bench activation much like I did at another urban park in Québec City.

I walked for a decent distance and couldn’t see a bench in sight.  The path was fairly busy with walkers and runners, so I was very pleased when I found a side trail cutting through the middle of the park.

I could tell that this path–while very well-worn and obvious–was not one maintained by the park admin. It looked more like a simple foot trail that local children have probably used in the past (I spotted a little wooden fort/lean-to in the woods.)

Keep in mind that this was my fourth park activation of the day and by this time, I was running behind–no surprise there. After the activation, I had two errands to run in QC before heading back to our condo and enjoying dinner and a movie with the family.

Another ATNO

Boisé des Compagnons-de-Cartier had never been activated for the POTA program before, so like the previous two parks I activated that day, it was also an ATNO (All-Time New One). Note that a few weeks later it was activated by Mike (VE2TH) who is a regular here on QRPer.com!

Come to think of it, I believe this is the most individual ATNO parks I’ve ever activated in one day.  In the early days of POTA, I believe I may have activated three ATNO parks in one day, but it was only at two sites: one was a two-fer (a state park and game land) and the other was a game land.

Canada has not been in the POTA program as long as the US has and there are regions where it’s still catching on so there are more ATNOs about!

Side note: I did find regions in Québec where amateurs were actively hitting POTA parks: one was (of course) the greater Montréal area and the other was the Saguenay/Lac-St-Jean/Chicoutimi region.

Setting up

When I grabbed my radio pack from the car, I also grabbed my folding camp chair because I assumed there might not be a park bench or picnic table option.

I took the little cut-through trail to roughly the middle of the park where it was very quiet; I found a spot where I could tell kids had been playing (I found soft drink cups and a few food wrappers there that I hauled out post-activation).

I used my arborist throw line to hoist a line up in the trees and deployed the Tufteln random wire antenna (9:1 with a 31′ radiator and 17′ counterpoise) again.

This combination worked brilliantly for the previous two activations and I hoped it would carry me through this final one as well!

Gear:

Admittedly, band conditions were deteriorating rapidly and I new I would need more time on the air to secure a valid activation by working a total of ten parks.

And my plan was to only work ten or so parks because, again, I was pressed for time. Of course, if I would have been greeting by a pileup (hint: I was not) I would have tried to stay on as long as possible to work the maximum amount of stations since this park was an ATNO.

On The Air

The 20 meter band had treated me very well at the previous parks, so I started calling CQ POTA there first.

I didn’t have to call CQ long before I logged my first contact and within seven minutes, I logged 7 contacts. This all looked very promising.

Then 20 meters went silent.

Eventually, I moved to the 30 meter band and logged one contact…it seemed to indicate that bands below 20 meters were being wiped out by the flaring we were receiving.

I then moved up to 17 meters and worked K9IS in Wisconsin. I thought 17 meters might provide a window into Europe at that time of day, but the band was quiet.

At this point–a good 25 minutes into the activation–I only needed one more contact for a valid park activation.

I decided to QSY to 20 meters once again and ON4VT in Belgium came to my rescue.

I then worked K3WNS and called QRT. I logged a total of 11 contacts in thirty minutes. Whew!

Here are my logs:

QSO Map

Here’s what this 5 watt random wire activation looked like when plotted out on a QSO Map:

Activation Video

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:

Click here to view on YouTube.

Pleased as Punch

It’s not often I get an opportunity to do a multiple park run, especially during travels, and especially in a more urban setting than I’m used to.

No doubt, next time I’m in Québec City, I’ll do this circuit again, but next time I’ll do it on a bicycle.

In fact, it was this activation series on July 4, 2022 in combination with a little inspiration from my buddy Jim (N4JAW) that prompted me to sell one of my radios (more on that in a separate post), pull a bit from my radio fund, and fulfill a lifelong dream of owning a Brompton folding bike.

I’ve wanted a Brompton for the better part of two decades, dating back to my days of commuting to the London School of Economics (LSE) from Shere and Guildford in Surrey.

As a postgrad student, I simply couldn’t afford a Brompton–not even used. Much like ham radio gear, they retain their value and are very pricey.

This month, I had the amazing fortune of finding not one, but two used Bromptons in the classifieds back home in NC.

To be clear, it’s extremely rare to find Bromptons in rural parts of the US. The sellers (husband and wife) wanted to sell both and presented me with an insanely low price–basically two for the price of one used Brompton.

The bikes are in excellent condition–one is a 2004 model, the other 2007. I easily can fit both of these folding bikes in the trunk/boot of my Subaru with room to spare. It’ll be so nice to have a second bike to share with my wife and daughters.

Although I can’t easily cycle to parks from my mountain QTH, I can certainly add a dimension by taking them along for the ride and use them in my travels.  We also have a number of greenways back home that I’ve discovered cross through or near POTA sites. It would be really fun to do a Radar run bicycle mobile!

Thank you…

Thank you so much for joining me on this activation series!

I hope you enjoyed the field reports and activation videos as much as I enjoyed creating them.

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 truly appreciate the support.

In fact, your support is what has made this extended family road trip to Canada possible.

No kidding!

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.

It’s a true labor of love. Thank you so very much for making it all possible! I hope you get a chance to create your own radio adventures this month.

Cheers & 72,

Thomas (VY2SW / K4SWL)

7 thoughts on “Side trail POTA ATNO at Boisé des Compagnons-de-Cartier in Québec City”

  1. Thomas

    There are pockets of Parks that have never been activated so your research paid off.

    Congrats on the Brompton’s, they look mint in the photo. Just add a 102” whip and your good

    FTDX101MP or Brompton Electric?

    1. Ha ha! Brompton electrics are insanely pricey. If I lived in a big city and didn’t need a car, it might be worth the splurge in order to commute to work. While (to be honest) electric bikes have less appeal for me, I’ve heard that daily commuters love them because they can arrive at the office on a summer morning without being covered in sweat. I get that. Still…that price! 🙂

  2. Tom-

    What an excellent adventure- activating multiple locations in a single day. Thanks for the information on the Bromptons- intriguing!

    I did an activation of Connecticut Lakes- an ATNO up near the border with Quebec. 15 minutes of calling CQ POTA with no takers. One hunt-and-pounce contact with a Midwestern stations. 9 more H-n-P contacts with Europeans to make my 10. A struggle all the way, and it took well over an hour. Some days are like that! -K1SWL

    1. Hunt and pounce contacts have saved my bacon on a few occasions; especially in the early days of POTA!

      Good on you for hitting that ATNO, Dave!

      Cheers,
      Thomas
      K4SWL

  3. YouTube doesn’t seem to list this activation video. I was able to access it through the link here, but I couldn’t find it in my subscription list like all of your other videos…

    1. Sorted! This morning, when I changed the status to “Public” I forgot to click the update button before saving.

      Thank you for commenting about this, OM!

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