Many thanks to Alan (W2AEW) who shares the following guest post:
Jersey Shore Vacation POTA-Fest
by Alan (W2AEW)
One of our favorite vacation spots is Long Beach Island (LBI), NJ. It’s not hard to imagine since my XYL and I are both born & raised in NJ near the shore. Our late-spring / early-summer vacation was an extended family affair with a few celebrations and long-distance relatives coming to visit the beach rental house on this 18 mile barrier island off the southern coast of New Jersey.
The vacation rental house we stayed in is in the town of Surf City. It is situated on the bay side of the island, overlooking Manahawkin Bay.
In addition to setting up my Penntek TR-45L and a 40m EFHW at the beach house, I also brought along my POTA kit – complete with the Elecraft KX2 and a small variety of antennas. The entire island and surrounding area are part of the NJ Coastal Heritage Trail (K-6544). Two other nearby parks are the Edwin Forsythe Wildlife Management Area (K-0453) and Barnegat Light State Park (K-1609). These latter two parks also fall within the boundaries of the NJ Pinelands Preserve National Conservation Area (K-6609).
My first POTA activation was a simple walk across the street to one of the public benches along the bay shore. This qualifies as public area within the Trail (K-6544).
The antenna is the SuperAntenna MP1 equipped with a 10’ stainless telescoping whip on top from MFJ. I used a deep-reach locking clamp to fasten the antenna to the aluminum bulkhead. The salt-water made a nice counterpoise. The rest of the setup was resting on the park bench with me. I only had a limited time to operate, but conditions were pretty favorable and I logged 11 QSOs in 20 minutes on 20m CW running 5W.
The next day, I had another short window to play POTA and planned a short trip to the Edwin Forsythe WMA. Just as I was heading out of the door, I received a phone call from my nephew that was out running. He had come across a mother duck and some ducklings that were hanging out near a storm drain. It turns out that some of the ducklings had fallen through the grate. We tried to lift the grate ourselves and couldn’t. We called the local police and they arrived a few minutes later. They called the water department. Together, we were able to lift the grate, and with 30-40 minutes of coaxing, were able to rescue the trapped duckings from the storm drain and reunite them with the mother. Needless to say, I didn’t get to the park for the activation.
I was able to finally head out to Cedar Bonnet Island, which is a small island that sits between LBI and the mainland. This island is part of the Edwin Forsythe WMA, and also lies within the boundaries of the NJ Pinelands Preserve and the NJ Coastal Trail – making it a 3-fer!
Thankfully, I had a spare length of coax with me, and I was back up and running in a few minutes. Given the windy conditions, the tenuous antenna mounting and the so-so propagation, I made just 10 QRP CW contacts in about an hour and a half of operating, mixed between 20m and 40m. Still, a nice 3-fer!
The following day, I decided to head out to Barnegat Light State Park. This is the site of my very first POTA activation in August 2022 (check out the video here), just 10 months ago. This site is also a 3-fer with the Trail and the Pinelands.
I rounded out the week with two more activations across the street at the bay bulkhead. Propagation conditions seemed to improve as the week progressed, so my final two activations at the bench by the bay resulted in a total of 73 contacts (all 5W CW).
All in all, I was able to execute 5 POTA outings for a total of 9 activations (two 3-fers and three singles) during the week-long family vacation – not to mention the duckling rescue. The one casualty (broken connector) reinforced the notion to carry spares whenever possible. We hope to return to LBI in August for more family vacation time – and POTA activations!