After completing a lively little POTA activation at Lake James State Park (K-2723) and then Table Rock Fish Hatchery (K-8012) on the morning of Monday, July 31, 2023, I decided to squeeze in one more POTA adventure on what became a mini rove.
Since nearby Tuttle Educational State Forest is closed on Mondays in the summer, I chose to visit South Mountains State Park (K-2753) instead–it was only a few minutes further afield than Tuttle.
After leaving Table Rock, I picked up a quick lunch in Morganton and drove to the main entrance of South Mountains and set up at the equestrian picnic area.
South Mountains State Park (K-2753)
I decided to deploy my Chelegance MC-750 this time, just to shake things up a bit. If you know me, when I do little roves like this, I typically like to use different radios and/or antennas at each site.
I paired the MC-750 with my Yaesu FT-817ND. My reasoning for picking the ‘817 was because I could use the SO-239 connection on the back of the radio. The new cable assembly/feedline I was using had PL-259s on each end.
Speaking of the new assembly, at the Dayton Hamvention this year, I popped by the ABR Industries booth and Chuck gave me (full disclosure–at no cost to me) a new product to test in the field: a 20 foot PL-259 to PL-259 assembly made with their ABR240-UF cable and with 5 in-line ferrites. What makes this cable unique is that it sports a bright orange flexible webbed jacketing which makes it very easy to see on the ground.
They’ve been informally calling it their “POTA cable.” I immediately knew why this would appeal to POTA ops: one of my constant fears is that someone will unknowingly trip on my feedline while I’m in the middle of an activation. Black coax cable on the ground is very difficult to see (I’ve even tripped on my own lines)–this high visibility jacketing makes cable very conspicuous. Just check out the photos above.
I believe the cable is available in bright orange and yellow.
Side Note: In my activation video, I mentioned that I had no affiliation with ABR other than being their customer for ages. Well, that was nearly a month ago and my how times have changed! Only yesterday, I announced that ABR is now an affiliate which means if you purchase via our links on QRPer.com, we receive a small commission. On top of that, if you use the coupon code ABR10QRPER you will receive a 10% discount on any items you buy directly from ABR. You can read more about this here.
Between the bright orange feedline and the yellow counterpoise lines of the MC-750, pretty much all of the trip hazards are conspicuous even to random passersby. I love it!
With the antenna deployed and the radio and logs prepared, it was time to hop on the air. My hope was to finish this activation in fairly short order since I had to take my mother to an appointment later that afternoon.
- Yaesu FT-817ND
- Homemade 5Ah LiPo Battery Pack from Joshua (N5FY) at Tufteln
- CP Gear Tactical Aircrew/Pubs Bag
- Armoloq TPA-817 Pack Frame
- High Visibility Jacket ABR240-UF with PL-259s and 5 Ferrites (Use Coupon Code ABR10QRPER for 10% Discount!)
- Chelegance MC-750
- Key cable: Cable Matters 2-Pack Gold-Plated Retractable Aux Cable – 2.5 Feet
- CW Morse CNC Machined Aluminum Paddle
- Zebra Mechanical Pencil, Del Guard, 0.7mm
- Rite In The Rain Top Spiral Notebook (small 3×5 size)
- Camera: original OSMO Action Camera (the OSMO 3 is the current version) with Sensyne Phone Tripod
On The Air
I had noticed that band conditions were worsening as the day progressed. That morning, the band was in excellent shape. By noon, it had become a bit unstable, but still overall not too bad. By the afternoon, though, it was being a bit ornery.
That said, never let propagation stop you from playing radio in the field!
I started calling CQ POTA on 20 meters and a slow, but steady number of hunters found me.
I logged my first five contacts in about ten minutes. The next five contacts took 15 minutes. With ten logged, I had officially “validated” this POTA activation.
Still, I continued calling CQ POTA a few more minutes and logged one more station for a grand total of eleven logged in 35 minutes.
As you can see from the logs, the ionosphere was energized enough to cast my 5 watts to parts far west. A most enjoyable activation!
Here’s what this five watt activation looked like when plotted out on a QSO Map. Some proper QRP DX:
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.
Next time I have a decent activation window like this open, I’ll likely fit in a SOTA activation. There are a number of summits I’d planned to hit this spring and summer, but my schedule has been so tight, I haven’t had a chance to squeeze them in.
I hope you enjoyed the field reports and my activation videos as much as I enjoyed creating them. They are a pure labor of love.
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 week ahead!
Cheers & 72,