Many of you know I’m on the crew of the Ham Radio Workbench podcast. In fact, as of this month, I’ve been there a year now (my how time flies). Although it shows a certain lack of judgement on their part, I’m glad they invited me on board!
On October 9, fellow HRWB crew member, Mark (N6MTS), pitched an idea to us via email:
“What do y’all think about doing an HRWB On The Air event?”
We all agreed it sounded like a great idea. Things like this normally take a year’s worth of planning, promoting, and organizing. Not when Mark’s in charge, though.
Next thing we know, Mark had us sorting out the best date/time (December 3, 2023/1800-22:00UTC) for HRWBOTA and even reached out to some amazing volunteers who helped put together a website and spotting page.
December 3, 2023
I planned to operate the entire four hour event period from Lake James State Park (K-2730) since it would be an easy detour en route to Hickory, NC (where I was staying that night). Of course, each contact would could for both HRWBOTA and POTA.
The previous day, however, I learned that one of my daughters had a meeting in downtown Asheville from 18:00-19:00 UTC. She doesn’t have a driver’s license yet, so I had to take her. Had it not been an important meeting in advance of her finals, she would have skipped.
This really threw a wrench in the works. I knew that by the time her meeting ended and I dropped her off at the QTH, the earliest I could be at Lake James was 20:15-20:30 or so.
How could I increase my on-the-air HRWBOTA time?
KH1 to the rescue!
Since the Elecraft KH1 was packed in my EDC bag, I decided to play a little HRWBOTA in the parking lot behind the meeting building.
I wasn’t sure what to expect to be honest. I wasn’t spotting myself anywhere but the HRWBOTA spotting page, and I was limited to the 15, 17, and 20M bands with the KH1’s 4′ whip antenna.
I spotted myself, hit the air and started calling CQ HRWBOTA!
In the span of about 45 minutes, I managed to log a total of 15 stations! Not bad considering I was standing in an urban parking lot, swimming in QRM, and going QRP!
I didn’t make a video of this part of the HRWBOTA activation–sorry about that if you worked me then. I needed every moment of on-the-air time I could grab. Here’s my log sheet:
Lake James State Park (K-2739)
I legged it to Lake James after my daughter’s meeting–in fact, to save time, I started my activation video while I was still in my car driving on I-40.
I arrived at Lake James, parked, plugged in the car, grabbed my gear and made my way to the picnic area next to the lakeshore. It wasn’t hard to find a site with a tree that might support my KM4CFT 30/40M linked EFHW antenna.
I include the full antenna deployment and station set-up in my (rather long) activation video below.
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- Icom IC-705
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- Camera: original OSMO Action Camera (the OSMO 4 is the current version) with Sensyne Phone Tripod
On The Air
I started with CW then moved to SSB on the 20M band.
Next, I moved to the 40 meter band and continued with SSB.
Finally, I capped of the activation on 30 meters.
It was so much fun! Thanks to everyone who worked me!
Here are my logs:
Here’s what this QRP HRWBOTA activation looked like when plotted out on a QSO Map. The green lines are CW and red lines SSB contacts. You’ll need to click on the map to enlarge it:
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.
It’s nice being at Lake James at sunset in the late fall. You pretty much have the place to yourself! (Quite the opposite in the summer!)
I’d spent so long at this particular activation, my car was fully-charged when I hopped in. Thank you, destination charger! Woo hoo!
Thank you for joining me on this activation!
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 a wonderful weekend!
Cheers & 72,