Roadside POTA: Pedestrian Mobile with the Elecraft KH1 at Lewis Ocean Bay Heritage Preserve WMA

My family decided to take a short pre-Christmas break on the coast of South Carolina in mid-December.

It had been a hectic month, so we looked at our healthy hotel points balance and decided to burn up a few of those on an impromptu four-night getaway.

We decided to stay at the same Myrtle Beach hotel where I stayed only a couple of months prior to attend a family funeral in Georgetown, SC. You might recall my activations at Lee State Park, Myrtle Beach State Park, and Huntington Beach State Park during that particular trip.

In truth, we’re not big fans of Myrtle Beach—we prefer more secluded, less commercial spots along the coastal Carolinas. In the summer, Myrtle Beach is jam-packed with visitors—the traffic is a little insane—but in the winter, Myrtle Beach is relatively quiet. Getting around is a breeze, and accommodation is easy to find.

This trip was all about family time, so I didn’t pre-plan a single activation, and I didn’t pack several radios. In fact, the only radio I brought was my Elecraft KH1, which lives in my everyday carry backpack.

The KH1 is a constant companion these days. It was really fun to take it on one of the balconies of our room and hunt parks and summits. Despite a little QRM, I was able to make a number of contacts just using the KH1 whip and dangling the counterpoise.

I remember working my friend Alan (W2AEW) while he was activating a park in New Jersey. I sent him the photo above. What fun!

Lewis Ocean Bay Heritage Preserve Wildlife Management Area (K-3903)

On Wednesday, December 20, 2023, we decided to spend part of the morning and afternoon in Conway, South Carolina, which is about a 30-minute drive from Myrtle Beach.

My wife asked, “Surely, there’s a park you can activate along the way?” (She and my daughters fully support my POTA addiction.)

After a quick glance at the POTA Map, I determined that indeed there was!

Lewis Ocean Bay Heritage Preserve WMA was essentially on the way to Conway, and I could tell based on a quick Google Map search that one of the access points (a huge gravel parking lot) was conveniently located next to the highway. Score!

I grabbed my backpack and camera (of course I brought along the camera just in case!). We drove 25 minutes to the access point which was easy to find.

As luck would have it, as I parked, I noticed that a motor grader was resurfacing part of the parking lot and the main WMA access road. This wouldn’t affect my activation, of course, but it was incredibly loud—especially the constant back-up alert.

So that my KH1 audio would be audible over the grader noise and the highway noise, I connected it to my Zoom H1N recorder.

Setup was quick despite setting up the audio feed and arranging the camera position under the shade the open hatch of my Subaru provided.


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On The Air

I started calling CQ POTA on the 20 meter band and it didn’t take long before hunters started calling back.

Within eleven minutes, I’d already logged the ten contacts necessary to validate the activation. It doesn’t get much better than that!

At times, the pileup was pretty thick.

I continued working stations until I logged a total of 21 hunters, all within 21 minutes, thus, one station per minute!

I had to call QRT early while still working a pileup. This activation was simply a quick roadside stop on the way to the town of Conway where my wife, daughters, and I wanted to do some last-minute Christmas shopping.


Here’s what this Pedestrian Mobile five-watt activation looked like when plotted out on a QSO Map:

Activation Video

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.

Note that Patreon supporters can watch and even download this video 100% ad-free through Vimeo on my Patreon page:

Click here to view on YouTube.


Mural in Conway, SC.

The great thing about the KH1 is how quick it is to deploy and pack up. Even while fiddling with my camera and digital recorder for the video, it was still a quick process. This meant that I wasn’t taking up much time from our family outing to Conway, SC.

Inside the cabin at the L.W. Paul Living History Farm

Our first stop was the L.W. Paul Living History Farm. We’ve been visiting this museum since my daughters were little ones. We picked up bought quite a few gifts in their visitor center including apple butter, sweet potato butter, and chow chow.

The kitchen in the homestead.
The farm fields.

After a quick lunch, we parked in downtown Conway and visited Our Next Chapter bookstore.

I picked up a couple of books for friends and family and admired the amazing collection of Lego models including this amazing Concorde!

Afterwards, we enjoyed walking downtown Conway, picking up some last-minute gifts for family, and capping off the afternoon with a little café time!

Conway is a cute town. If you’ve never visited, you’re in for a treat!

Thank you

Thank you for joining me on this quick roadside 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 brilliant weekend!

Cheers & 72,

Thomas (K4SWL)

2 thoughts on “Roadside POTA: Pedestrian Mobile with the Elecraft KH1 at Lewis Ocean Bay Heritage Preserve WMA”

  1. That KH-1 sure is handy. MB is our favorite place in Nov, Dec timeframe. The Commons, outlets, malls, Skywheel, a week there shopping and playing, its just the lodging is getting crazy co$t wise over the years… We love the hi-rise, 14th floor, dangle a wire over the balcony between the openings, and if the noise is not too high, its “game on”… KX-3, and wire work pretty good…

  2. Well Thomas, once again you made it look easy. The KH-1 one-handed, filming, logging, standing on one leg, juggling a car load of Christmas shoppers! How do you do it? (HiHi!)

    de W7UDT

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