by Vince (VE6LK)
In May of 2023 I embarked on a two week vacation to Hamilton Ontario, the city of Waterfalls. And I found myself with a spare 30 minutes so I decided to squeeze in an activation.
And as I am an opportunist, I made this decision at 23:25’ish z and I had not yet arrived at the park but the target was only a few minutes away! I would have until 23:59:59z to complete it if I were to be successful. “It’s time to break out the Elecraft AX1 antenna I bought at Hamvention last week“ I think to myself. It would be my first time using the antenna. I had pre-read the instructions and knew what had to be done in order to set it up.
The whole thing would unfold like a Formula 1 pit stop, albeit a wee bit slower <grin>.
I arrived at VE-5351, The Battle of Stoney Creek National Historic Site and began to scout a location. Pausing only long enough to snap a few photos, I parked and immediately got to work.
Thanks to the helpful owner of this loaned car, I was able to spread out a towel and use the trunk lid as an impromptu desk surface. With the AX1 you attach the counterpoise wire to the screw nearest the antenna port, extend the whip, ensure it’s switched for the correct band (20m, or 17/15m) and hit the tune button before you start calling. Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy!
I set a spot on POTA.app and got to work, letting the KX3 memory keyer do the work of calling work for me. The clock was ticking and I’d be lying if I didn’t think to myself that this was both do-able and otherwise.
A quick check on the Reverse Beacon Network showed that I was being heard in Costa Rica! “Score“ I think to myself, “if I’m being heard that fast and far away, I should be able to do it.”
Long story short, I made my 10th contact at 235330z, and just for insurance, I made one more. I was in and out of the parking lot with a complete activation in under a half hour.
If you haven’t tried one of these antennas, ask a friend to try one. For myself and many others, the simplicity of this antenna makes it a winner.
And if you don’t have one of these antennas, find one you like that you can deploy quickly and do your very own pit stop style activation.
First introduced to the magic of radio by a family member in 1969, Vince has been active in the hobby since 2002. He is an Accredited examiner in Canada and the USA, operates on almost all of the modes, and is continually working on making his CW proficiency suck less. He participates in public service events around Western Canada and is active on the air while glamping, mobile, at home or doing a POTA activation. You can hear him on the Ham Radio Workbench podcast, follow him on Twitter @VE6LK, peek at his anemic YouTube presence (subscribe!), and view the projects and articles on his website.