On the morning of Friday, February 3, 2023, I wanted to fit in a quick hike and activation as I made my way back to the QTH. Tuttle Educational State Forest (K-4861) is my go-to when I want to hike and play radio but don’t have enough time to fit in a proper SOTA activation.
That morning, the park was very quiet–mine was the only car in the parking lot. This being an educational state forest, they tend to get large groups of visitors all at once (typically, bus loads of school kids). In the winter, however, the park is quiet because their restroom facilities and water points are all winterized.
I grabbed my SOTA pack–which contained my Elecraft KX2 field kit, Tufteln/N0RNM folding knee board, and a throw line–then hit the trails!
Although it was a windy day, I headed to the gazebo at Tuttle (one I’ve used for activations in the past) which is on a hill and has a brilliant view of Grandfather Mountain.
The only issue with the gazebo is that the trees behind it are short and very dense with branches. In the past, I’ve launched a line over the top of the tree, but it’s not easy because then there’s always the possibility your throw weight will land on the roof of the gazebo. You also need a 10oz or heavier throw weight on trees like this, else risk getting your line caught in the tree.
There are a number of pines immediately behind the smaller ornamental trees, but to get to those, I’d need to lay my feedline across a service road the park staff use regularly, so that’s a no-go.
Of course, I could have easily deployed one of my vertical antennas, or the AX1/AX2, but I was in a random wire mood especially since the AX1 has been in such heavy rotation as of late!
The view from my shack was first class!
Oh yeah: This one’s for you, Andi…
A few weeks ago, Mike (W5RST), reached out to me via Patreon (thank you for the Patreon support, Mike!) and sent the following note:
“Interestingly enough, my cat loves watching your live POTA videos. She’ll sit in front of the TV for an hour watching.”
A couple days later, he posted this photo on his Twitter feed:
His kitty’s name is Andromeda but he calls her “Andi” for short. She’s gorgeous and obviously loves CW.
A cat who enjoys watching my videos? I don’t think there’s a higher compliment in this world. Seriously! I have reached peak YouTube.
Andi: I’m absolutely chuffed that you enjoy my videos and I’ve dedicated this activation video to you!
Okay…where was I? Oh yeah…
Note: All Amazon, CW Morse, and eBay links are affiliate links that support the QRPer.com at no cost to you.
- Elecraft KX2 and KXPD2 Paddles
- Tufteln Portable EFRW No Transformer QRP Antenna
- Tufteln N0RNM Folding Knee Board
- Spec-Ops Brand T.H.E. Pack EDC
- Elecraft KXBT2 Li-Ion Battery Pack
- 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
- Moleskine Cahier Journal
- GraphGear 0.9mm 1000 Automatic Drafting Pencil
- Camera: OSMO Action Camera
- My fingerless gloves
On The Air
I started calling CQ POTA on the 20 meter band and within ten minutes worked the ten stations needed for a valid POTA activation.
In total, I worked 19 stations in a very short 18 minute window on the air. Even though my antenna deployment (as I show in the activation video below) was less than ideal, it worked brilliantly.
It was fun seeing that my 5 watts made it all the way to K7ULM (a regular around here) in Montana. And many thanks to WN5C for the Park-to-Park!
Here’s what this 5 watts-into-a-wire activation looked like when plotted out on a QSO Map. Note that QSO Map pulls location information from a database with QTH information. I believe N6HK was actually in Texas:
Here’s my real-time, real-life video of the entire activation. As with all of my videos, I don’t edit out any parts of the on-air activation time. In addition, I have monetization turned off on YouTube, although that doesn’t stop them from inserting ads before and after my videos.
It was a lot of fun to fit in a hike and an activation at the same time. My hope is that I’ll be able to free up my schedule enough that I can fit in some proper SOTA activations this spring.
I hope you enjoyed the field report and my activation video 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 really appreciate the support.
Thanks for spending part of your day with me! Have a wonderful week ahead!
Cheers & 72,