Part 2: Dayton Hamvention Trip QRP POTA Rove
By Conrad Trautmann, N2YCH
Welcome to part two of three of the Hamvention QRP POTA Rove. If you missed part one, you can find that installment here.
Early on Thursday morning, May 18, 2023, Peter, K1PCN and I headed from Morgantown, West Virginia north to Pennsylvania to activate K-8920, the PA 223, Pennsylvania State Game Lands. While the park covered a large geographical area, we were able to find a parking lot not far off the highway that made it easy for us to get to and activate.
Peter spotted a nearby gazebo which was also a viewing area and hiked over to it to activate. If you look closely in the photo below, you can see it in the distance behind the sign and my antenna. I stayed with the Jeep and set up on the tailgate using the Buddipole vertical.
Since it was early in the day, we used our frequency strategy of Peter on 40 meters and me on 20 meters. My QSO map here shows some decent DX for QRP on 20 meters at 8am ET.
We traveled North towards Pittsburgh on Interstate 79 and then West on Interstate 70, passing through West Virginia again and then stopped at K-1934, Barkcamp State Park in Ohio.
I tuned my antenna for 17 meters and Peter activated on 20 meters.
I managed to activate the park, but it was slow going for me on 17, so when Peter finished up on 20, I changed to 20 meters and got a few more on that band just for good measure. Thinking that the slow QSO’s could have been the radio, I did switch to the IC-705 here, but that did not make any difference. It could have been conditions or our location. I did have better luck on 20 meters than 17. And I don’t know about you, but I can never go for just ten QSO’s. I feel like I need a few extra ones just in case. Here is a photo of me set up at a picnic table next to my antenna.
I ended up with 19 in the log, including the 2 meter and 70 cm simplex QSO’s with Peter.
Our final park of the day on Thursday was in Indiana. We drove through Columbus and right past Dayton and continued West on Interstate 70 to K-2279, Whitewater Memorial State Park.
I was finally able to snap some photos of Peter, K1PCN doing his activation, since I was able to quickly log 17 QSO’s on 20 meters and had some time to walk over to his location.
Peter used his Xiegu G-90 with his headset and foot switch to key to transmit. Everything you see here packs up into one backpack with an associated fiberglass mast to get the wire antenna up in the air.
Here is my QSO map from Indiana.
After we wrapped up at Whitewater, we headed East to Dayton, checked in at the hotel and met up with NI1Q, Emily and K2RB, Rick for dinner.
Reflecting on the trip, we felt like we timed things out well, giving us enough time in each park to not feel like we needed to rush. As we learned on the way home on Sunday, Dayton to Connecticut is a solid 12-hour drive with a stop for lunch and occasional rest area stops. To try do that drive plus six activations in one day would not have been possible and even if we could, we would have been exhausted at the end.
Splitting the trip into two days gave us the extra time to find our way around, complete a no-pressure activation in each place and fit in meals when we needed to.
Once we arrived in Dayton, I thought we were done with our activations and had gotten all of the states we could for this trip. I checked the maps and did not really see any additional opportunities to get any more states. But Peter had an idea to sneak in one more. More on that in the next and final installment.