Instead of doing a five park POTA rove, I chose instead to do a summit activation followed by a park activation.
I published the summit activation on Moore’s Knob (W4C/EP-001) a couple weeks ago and planned to immediately follow that up with this report from my POTA activation at Pilot Mountain State Park (which I activated the same day).
In the process of moving my videos from the camera, to my laptop, and then to PC where I do my remote uploads (my bandwidth at the QTH is far too poor to upload large videos) I somehow managed to delete this particular video file.
I was quite frustrated, actually, because this particular POTA activation was challenging. Lately, I’ve had so few examples of just how quiet a band can be when propagation is less stable.
The SOTA activation I performed only a few hours earlier had some of the deepest pileups I’ve ever experienced. By the time I started my POTA activation a couple hours later, all of this had changed–at least on the bands above 20 meters and I’d chosen 17 meters (a WARC band) since a contest was in progress on 20 and 40 meters.
I’m incredibly pleased that I stumbled upon the raw video files on my backup drive. I was able to reproduce the video in its entirety. I’m so pleased it wasn’t lost!
This is why it’s a little out of sync date-wise with my other reports.
I hope you enjoy this field report:
Pilot Mountain State Park (K-2750)
After capping off a beautiful 4+ mile hike and SOTA/POTA activation at Hanging Rock State Park, I put my SOTA pack in the car and drove 30 minutes to Pilot Mountain State Park.
It being a gorgeous Saturday afternoon, the park was so full of guests the parking lot was completely full. A park ranger had incoming cars form a line and he allowed cars in as guests departed one by one. When I arrived, there were five cars in front of me. I was very tempted to do a three-point turn and head back down the mountain to the visitor’s center to do the activation. There was plenty of parking there.
Instead, I decided to wait and within 10 minutes, I was directed to a free parking spot.
As I got out of the car, I started my activation video (see below).
I was in a bit of a hurry because the SOTA activation earlier that day took longer than expected. I still had a nearly 2 hour drive ahead of me and needed to prepare for a live stream that evening.
I decided to pair my Elecraft KX2 with the AX1 antenna to cut down on set-up and pack-up time. Side note: in the activation video, you’ll see how I disassemble the AX1’s bipod in order to properly tighten it prior to starting the activation.
The AX1 can operate on 20, 17, and even 15 meters using the KX2’s excellent internal ATU.
I chose 17 meters to escape the contest in progress.
Note: All Amazon, CW Morse, and eBay links are affiliate links that support the QRPer.com at no cost to you.
- Elecraft KX2
- Elecraft AX1 packed in a Maxpedition Fatty Pouch
- CW Morse SP4 Paddles
- Spec-Ops Brand T.H.E. Pack EDC
- Elecraft KXBT2 Li-Ion Battery Pack
- Rite In The Rain Weatherproof Cover/Pouch
- Moleskine Cahier Journal
- GraphGear 0.9mm 1000 Automatic Drafting Pencil
- Camera: OSMO Action Camera with Joby tripod
- Leatherman Signal Multitool (my favorite multitool!)
On The Air
I mentioned in the video that I was hoping for a more relaxed cadence of hunters compared the pileup insanity I received on 30 meters during my SOTA activation early. Wow! Did I ever get my wish!
Seventeen meters wasn’t in the best of shape. Instead of logging one hunter per minute, it was more like one hunter every 3 minutes.
It took 36 minutes to log the ten contacts needed for a valid park activation.
During that time, I also QSYed to 15 meters for a bit, but didn’t log anyone there.
After logging my 10, I checked the POTA spots page and hunted Jonathan (KM4CFT) who was activating a park in Colorado. I was very pleased to put him in the logs.
At that point, I ended my activation video and planned to pack up, but I noticed that my avid POTA activator buddy, Jim (WB0RLJ), was on the air and I was able to call and log him as well.
All-in, I logged 12 stations! I walked away a very happy activator.
Here’s what this activation looked like when plotted out on a QSO Map.
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.
Had I deployed one of my random wire antennas or larger verticals and performed my activation on 20 or 30 meters, I know I would have logged three or four times the number of contacts because those lower bands were in better shape.
Then again? I look at the QSO map above and am still in awe that five watts and a 4.5′ pocket antenna can make contact from North Carolina to Newfoundland and Oregon. It’s a little hard to fathom!
Plus, my goal was to have a more relaxed activation and I certainly achieved that. It was a beautiful day and I’m all the better for detouring to Pilot Mountain to play POTA!
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.
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 and have a wonderful weekend!
Cheers & 72,