I’d also been meaning to meet up with Brooks (KO4QCC). Brooks started his POTA journey not even one year ago–here’s a field report from his first SSB POTA activation.
Brooks has been steadily working on his CW skills and is dangerously close to doing his first CW activation. We’ve managed to set up one late evening casual CW rag chew and I think his CW chops are very good. We plan to do more evening rag chews when our schedules align. He’s made amazing progress.
I contacted Brooks that Friday morning and he was game to meet up and do some POTA. He wasn’t quite ready to do a CW activation, so I suggested he log for me using the HAMRS app on my iPhone. I find that logging for CW ops during past Field Days really helped build my own confidence before I started using CW daily.
Brooks was 100% game to log for me.
And let me just say what a luxury it is to have someone log to HAMRS for me on my iPhone! It frees up my brain to simply log on paper (which I always do) and enjoy working stations without the extra busy work! Hat tip to good ole’ Brooks.
South Mountains State Park (K-2753)
I arrived at South Mountains State Park (the Clear Creek Access), put on my hiking boots, then Brooks pulled into the parking lot only a few minutes later.
We agreed in advance to fit in a quick hike up the Clear Creek Trail prior to the activation. I, for one, really needed to stretch my legs!
After the hike, I grabbed some gear from the car and we set up at the one picnic table at the Clear Creek Access.
Brooks and I both had commitments that day so could only play radio for 45-60 minutes max including set-up and take-down.
I deployed the same antenna I’d used the previous day: MW0SAW’s homebrew EFHW on a SOTAbeams winder.
Deployment didn’t take long–since the 40M EFHW is resonant on both 20 and 40 meters, there was no need for an external ATU. I powered the G106 with a 3Ah LiFePo4 battery via my Ham Radio Workbench DC Distribution Panel.
Brooks was fired up and ready to decode and log some CW. I decreased the speed on the G106 keyer a couple words per minute in hopes it might slow down my hunters a bit, too.
- Xiegu G106
- MW0SAW end-fed half-wave
- Key cable: Cable Matters 2-Pack Gold-Plated Retractable Aux Cable – 2.5 Feet
- CW Morse CNC Machined Aluminum Paddle
- Bioenno 3 aH LiFePo Battery (Model BLF-1203AB)
- Ham Radio Workbench DC Distribution Panel Model HRWB101
- Mini Arborist throw line kit: Tom Bihn Small Travel Tray, Marlow KF1050 Excel 2mm Throwline, and Weaver 8 or 10oz weight
- Tom Bihn Large Travel Tray
- Husky 5 gallon waterproof storage container
- Rite In The Rain Weatherproof Cover/Pouch
- Moleskine Cahier Journal
- GraphGear 0.9mm 1000 Automatic Drafting Pencil
- Camera: OSMO Action Camera
On The Air
I hopped on the air, started calling CQ POTA and the POTA site auto-spotted me via the RBN. I never get tired of this amazing convenience–RBN auto-spotting played no small role in my journey into the world of CW activations!
I worked my first ten stations in 11 minutes thus validating the activation.
Both Brooks and I simply ran out of time, else I would have loved to continued logging more stations on 20 meters.
Here’s what this activation looked like when plotted out on a QSO Map. Not bad at all!
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.
Thank you for joining Brooks and me on this activation!
And, Brooks, thanks for logging!
I do think Brooks is ready to activate in CW and he’s already suggested I make a video of his first CW activation. What a great guy! It’s been wonderful seeing all that he has accomplished in less than a year of being on the air.
I hope you enjoyed the field report and this 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.
As I mentioned before, the Patreon platform connected to Vimeo make it possible for me to share videos that are not only 100% ad-free, but also downloadable for offline viewing. The Vimeo account also serves as a third backup for my video files.
Thanks for spending part of your day with me; have a wonderful weekend!
Cheers & 72,