Guest Post: A wildly successful POTA activation…on a whim!

Many thanks to Mike (KE8PTX) who shares the following field report:

One of my best POTA activations on a whim.

by Mike (KE8PTX)

Monday 8/15/2023

Doing some late afternoon POTA chasing from the back deck home QTH,  contacts on 5 watts seemed to be coming fairly easy so I started to think I should have a go at it and activate a park.

One in one hundred times I activate QRO, so I decided to take the FT-891 and blow the dust off the finals.

When filling my pack, I had a last minute change of heart and decided to stick with QRP.  Bagged up the never fail KX2 field kit and hit the road.

The park was Port Huron State Game Land (K-6762) a nearby game land with many activation spots.  As I never do look at the solar reports, this time was no different.  I feel the solar reports more times than not would keep me home. With a QRP mind set we all feel we have something to prove by just doing it.

So off to the park we go!

After a short 20 minute dive through the countryside of the Michigan thumb, I arrived at my location only to be welcomed by a flock of Michigan state birds: the mighty Mosquitoes.  I came prepared with my trusty Thermacell.  Fired it up 5 minutes before exiting the car to give it a head start.

My deployment of gear is simple and quick.  My go-to antenna is a 40m EFHW inverted V configuration running North to South.

My mid support is a modified Carbon 6 mast.

Setup time was less than two minutes and I was on the air.

Start time for activation was 23:23 Zulu and ended 00:26 Zulu new day.  Total time of activation was 63 minutes with a total of 123 contacts on 2 bands 40m and 20m.

During my activation I received a text from a buddy WD4DAN saying 20m is open to Europe.  So I switched to 20m at 23:44 and sure enough they came in.  To say this activation was fun would be an understatement.   It was a total surprise and an absolute blast.

Equipment used

  • Radio: KX2 running 5 “whiskeys.”
  • Mic: K6ARK design.  You can find it on the printables web site.   Total for parts was under 5 bucks.  I made a Spare.  The stock mic is great but I have already broken one in the field.  This little tiny mic really works super well.  I get great audio reports from the hunters.
  • Antenna: 64:1 40m EFHW 26 gage WireMan wire.
  • Mast: modified Carbon 6.

Carbon 6 mast note: The top two sections are way to thin to be useful, so I removed them.  Glued a small eyelet in the top section to hold the wire at mid point.  For the bottom ground support I 3D printed an insert  and pressed an aluminum tent stake in it.

I have used it on windy days with no issues.  When used at the beach it does work but on windy days is has fallen over.  Both the top and bottom are attached with a small section of cord.  If not, you will lose them…at least I would.  Mast can also be used for a 20 meter sloper, but it’s way too short for a 40 meter sloper.

Just a note: this activation is not my normal.  I average 36 contacts SSB per activation.  On this one the bands were playing nice nice.  Like in the movie QRP is like a box of chocolates…you know the rest!


Mike (KE8PTX)

6 thoughts on “Guest Post: A wildly successful POTA activation…on a whim!”

  1. Great portable Elecraft KX2 transceiver + simple antenna system with just the basics. I am going to have to check out the mini microphone! At first, I thought the Thermacell was an antenna analyzer until I took a closer look.

    1. Let me know if you have any issues finding the mic. I really like the thing. I carry a spare in my bag.

  2. That’s a rate that would do credit to a full-bore contest station; impressive! We never know when the magic of radio will strike!
    I just finished building a K6ARK microphone to use with my (tr)uSDX, it was good to see a first-hand account of it in the field, thanks for that, too.

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