On Friday, December 8, 2023, playing POTA was not in the plan.
I needed to finish a field report, publish it, then attempt to make a dent in my email and comments backlog. Lately–as you might have noticed–it’s been difficult to keep up with everything.
That morning, I dropped off my daughter at her robotics class, then made my way to the Mills River Library and municipal park.
I arrived at the park around 9:20 AM, parked my car at one of the free EV charging spots, then walked to the library front door only to discover a sign that said they’d be opening an hour late (10:00).
All of the sudden, I had 40 minutes to kill.
Since my Elecraft KH1 now lives in my EDC backpack full-time, I thought, “Why not hunt a little POTA?”
I started walking to the baseball field to set up then turned around, went back to the car, and grabbed my action camera. I mean…why not film this session since the camera was in the car trunk/boot? Right–? Right!
- Elecraft KH1 Edgewood Package which includes:
- Pelican Micro M40
- Trakke Bannoch Backpack
- Camera: original OSMO Action Camera (the OSMO 4 is the current version) with Sensyne Phone Tripod
Keep in mind that the Elecraft KH1 is designed to operate on 20, 17, and 15 meters using the 4 foot whip antenna (assuming you have the internal ATU option).
I tuned around, but I couldn’t hear or work any of the handful of activators on 20 meters. They were all outside my 20M propagation footprint–most were simply too close for 20M.
Then I noticed my buddy, John (AE5X) spotted on the 30 meter band.
For kicks, I tuned down to the 30 meter band, found a clear spot, then hit the ATU button. I was surprised to achieve a 2:1 match!
Of course, a decent impedance match doesn’t equate to efficiency. Then again, what did I have to lose? Nothing…that’s what!
I called John once, but another strong station caught his attention. Once he finished that exchange, I called him again and he replied! Woo hoo!
I also tried to work KD8IE on 30 meters, but could not punch through the strong signals from other POTA hunters.
By chance, though, I heard my buddy Eric (WD8RIF) calling CQ POTA just below KD8IE. I could hear Eric because I had my filter wide open–as in SSB wide.
I tuned down, called him and he came back with my call and a question mark after two tries.
We exchanged details, sent 72, and logged each other. What fun!
I found out later that my signal level was actually fine on Eric’s end, but I was *almost* outside of his CW filter edges. He struggled hearing me because I was too far from his centered frequency. I didn’t notice this on my end, of course, because I had my filter so wide open.
I’ve learned from this: next time I’ll narrow my filter before hunting stations. The majority of activators do not run with their filters wide open like I do.
By the way, if you’d like to read Eric’s field report from that same time frame, click here.
Here’s the real-time, real-life “Slow TV” video of this hunting session with the KH1:
30M on the KH1 whip!
I’m pretty sure Elecraft wouldn’t recommend using your KH1 on 30 meters with the whip only because of its low efficiency, but I also know the KH1 will have no problem dealing with the 2:1 match. I bet you’d get an even better match if you lengthen the counterpoise–I simply used the supplied 13′ wire.
Of course–and again–30M on a 4′ whip is not an efficient antenna system, but it’s efficient enough to make some contacts! As my buddy Kurt (NT0Z) says, “RF gotta’ go somewhere.”
I will check in with N6KR and see what he says about this setup.
Post activation, I found a comfy spot to work in the library and published a new field report.
It struck me that no one passing by would have ever guessed that I had a full HF station in my backpack! For just a moment, it made me feel like an unassuming Cold War spy!
Oh yeah, the backpack: I took advantage of a Black Friday sale at Trakke and purchased the Bannoch Backpack I’d been eyeing for weeks–the discount was deep!
I justified this purchase knowing that I was doing my bit to support the economy of Scotland! Ha ha! Seriously, though, I do love this backpack.
Thank you for joining me for this mini POTA hunting session!
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Thanks for spending part of your day with me!
Cheers & 72,