Rainy Day Activation
by Matt (W6CSN)
It’s late December and one of a series of winter storms is driving into northern and central California. The previous day, my plans for a combined Summits On The Air and Parks On The Air activation fell apart due to weather. Today most of the UTC day had passed with only light drizzle, and itching to get on the air, I hatched a plan for an activation at my nearby park reference K-7889, the Presidio of San Francisco.
Typically when activating at this park from the “East Beach” area, I will back into a parking space, setup the radio on the trunk lid and run the coax a short distance to a 17 foot vertical telescoping whip antenna which is clamped to a short steel post.
Today however, I chose to operate from inside the vehicle so both myself and the radio equipment would stay dry. Not wanting to leave the coax unsupervised where someone could trip over it, I deployed the Gabil GRA-7350T antenna with a triple mag-mount on the roof of the car.
The GRA antenna is a short, loaded vertical with the whip portion maxing out at about 8 feet in length. It works well on 20 meters, but it’s less of a compromise on higher frequencies. On 18 MHz, only a small amount of the loading coil is needed to achieve an acceptable SWR, so with the bands in pretty good shape I brought the Yaesu FT-818 so I could get on 17 meters.
There weren’t many spots for 17m on the POTA web site, but I posted my spot anyway and started calling CQ. It wasn’t long before KX0Y responded, followed by more hunters from across North America and Alaska. The Golden Gate Bridge was visible from my vantage point at the start of the activation, but as the rain intensified the bridge became enshrouded by the incoming weather front.
With 00 UTC approaching, the rain now coming down harder, and 13 QSOs in the log I called QRT. Rather than carefully stowing the antenna and mag-mount, I simply broke it down as quickly as possible and tossed it all the back seat since I would have to bring it inside to dry anyway.
The following equipment was used in this activation:
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- Yaesu FT-818 QRP transceiver
- Gabil GRA-7350T antenna system
- Triple magnet antenna mount
- CW Morse machined aluminum pocket paddles
- Rite In The Rain spiral notepad logbook
- Snazzy Zebra mechanical pencil with “shock absorber.”
Thanks to all the hunters that responded and made the activation a success.
73 de W6CSN.