On Wednesday, May 17, 2023, I did something I hadn’t done since 2019: I woke up, hopped in the car, and started my journey to the Four Days In May and the Dayton Hamvention!
It’s about a seven hour drive from my QTH directly to Dayton, but in the 12+ times I’ve attended Hamvention, I’ve never actually driven there directly. Instead, I drive to Athens, Ohio, spend the evening with my buddy Eric (WD8RIF) and his family, pack one car, then carpool to Dayton.
Heading to Athens, I like to time my drive so that I pass through Beckley, West Virginia around noon and enjoy a fine lunch at Tamarack Marketplace. It’s always a nice reward after spending a little over four hours in the car.
This year, I enjoyed local almond-crusted rainbow trout, braised kale, and dill pickle soup. I know…dill pickle soup sounds a bit strange, but trust me: it was exquisite. The food at Tamarack is always top-shelf because the chefs behind the scenes are training for positions at the famous Greenbriar Resort.
Park en route
Of course, another way to break up the trip and add a little fun is to activate a park. I decided I wanted to activate a new-to-me park not too far off my route, so I consulted the regional POTA expert: WD8RIF.
Eric is an avid park activator and has hit pretty much every park within a three hour drive of his QTH. He made a few suggestions, and I opted for Tu-Endie-Wei State Park in Point Pleasant, West Virginia.
Tu-Endie-Wei State Park (K-1823)
Tu-Endie-Wei is a small, four acre state park, situated at the confluence of the Kanawha and Ohio rivers in Point Pleasant, WV. Indeed, the name “Tu-Endie-Wei” is a Wyandotte word meaning “point between two waters.”
Eric had me hooked the moment I realized I would be able to watch barges on the Ohio as I performed my park activation. Surely I’m not alone here in my absolute love of barges, boats, ships, trains, and aircraft?
I arrived at Tu-Endie-Wei in the mid-afternoon and parked on the street behind a Class B RV with the callsign W0YES on the license plate. Funny, but in all of my park activations, there have only been a small handful of times I’ve stumbled upon other activators once arriving on site.
Eric had mentioned that the staff were incredibly friendly and he was right. Not only did they encourage me to do an activation, but this particular volunteer thanked me for being an amateur radio operator!
I took a few moments to check out some of the many displays in the Mansion House:
The smell of this home–all of the wood and furniture–reminded me of my grandparents old homestead.
Next, I made my way back to the car to grab my radio pack. I wanted to introduce myself to W0YES, but thought it would be a bit strange to go knocking on his door (he could have been taking a travel nap, for all I knew–!), so instead I found a spot to play radio and set up my gear.
I decided to go very low-impact, and use my Chelegance MC-750 with the Chelegance tripod.
- Elecraft KX2
- Elecraft ES60 Pack (Note that mine is a discontinued LowePro CS60 pack, the ES60 is identical and Elecraft branded)
- Chelegance MC-750
- Chelegance MC-750/JPC-12 Tripod
- Key cable: Cable Matters 2-Pack Gold-Plated Retractable Aux Cable – 2.5 Feet
- BaMaKeY TP-III Ultra-Compact Twin Paddle
- GoRuck GR1 USA
- Elecraft KXBT2 Li-Ion Battery Pack
- Rite In The Rain Top Spiral Notebook
- Rite in the Rain All-Weather Durable Clicker Pen
- Camera: original OSMO Action Camera (the OSMO 3 is the current version) with Sensyne Phone Tripod
On The Air
The first thing I did after turning on the radio was check the POTA spots page to see if W0YES was on the air.
Sure enough, he was!
He was on the 20 meter band operating single sideband. Although I neglected to bring my KX2 hand mic on this trip, it wasn’t an issue; the KX2 has a built-in microphone, so I called W0YES and (surprise!) he answered my call!
He noted the incredibly strong signal and assumed I was running a blowtorch station. When I mentioned I was actually QRP, but could literally see his station from where I was sitting, it gave him a good chuckle.
After he finished up his activation, he stopped by my picnic table to chat for a bit and drop off his QSL card.
I’ve never gotten a P2P QSL confirmation so quickly!
It was great meeting Pat and his wife–they were also heading to Dayton Hamvention so I hoped to run into them there as well.
In truth, I wasn’t entirely sure how long it would take to perform this activation, but I knew it wouldn’t be effortless. Propagation was terribly unstable (and was for the next few days) but I was good with that: I had a stunning spot to play radio, watch the barges pass, and simply chill.
In the end, I worked a total of 19 stations, all on the 20 meter band.
Here’s what this five watt 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.
On to Hamvention!
I’ll be honest: I didn’t want to leave this little park. It was such a pleasant spot to stop and enjoy the moment.
Indeed, this is what I love about POTA. Besides being a wonderful excuse to play radio, it’s also a brilliant reason to explore our many parks and public lands–spots we might otherwise overlook in our travels.
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! Have an amazing weekend!
Cheers & 72,