From Hamvention to History: A POTA Excursion with friends through Indiana’s Past

You might recall that my friends Eric (WD8RIF), Miles (KD8KNC), Brian (K3ES), Kyle (AA0Z), Charlie (NJ7V), and Joshua (N5FY) all played hooky on the final day of the 2024 Hamvention (Sunday, May 19) and instead activated a couple of POTA sites.

I wrote a short field report about our first activation at Pater State Wildlife Area (US-9492). It was a lot of fun despite the rough bands.

Our next stop was Whitewater Canal State Historic Site in Metamora, Indiana, about an hour’s drive from the first park.

Only four of us continued to the next park; Kyle and Charlie needed to head to the airport, and Joshua needed to start his drive back to Georgia.

Whitewater Canal State Historic Site (US-6977)

I was excited about visiting Whitewater Canal because it would be my first official POTA activation in Indiana.

We arrived around 1:00 PM and opted to grab lunch at a nearby pizzeria before activating.

Around 2:00 PM, we grabbed our gear from the car and walked across the road to the park grounds.

The Whitewater Canal State Historic Site offers a glimpse into the 19th-century canal era.

Built between 1836 and 1847, the Whitewater Canal was a 76-mile waterway that connected the Ohio River to Hagerstown, facilitating the transport of goods and agricultural products.

This engineering feat played a vital role in the economic development of the region, contributing to the growth of towns and industries along its path.

Today, the preserved section of the canal, along with the historic grist mill and other structures, stands as a testament to Indiana’s rich industrial and transportation heritage.

I’ve always been fond of railroads and canals, so this site was brilliant as it featured both running parallel to each other!

Eric, Brian, and I (Miles didn’t activate) were careful to set up within the actual park boundaries.

In this case, it was a little difficult to determine the exact boundaries because the town and park blend together.

I used the Parceled app on my phone to confirm our location.

Eric set up his Elecraft KH1 station at a picnic table under a large tree.

Brian set up his KX2 on a covered bench next to Eric, using his Elecraft AX1 antenna mounted on a clamp secured to the bench.

Brian’s site was super stealthy behind the sign–since he operated with earphones, you couldn’t hear him and barely could see him!

Can you spot K3ES in this photo?

I wanted to put some space between my station and theirs, so I set up under the shade of a tree (it was blazing hot that Sunday) and deployed my Helinox camping chair.

Local ducks enjoying the shade–I picked a different tree.

I then deployed my Chelegance MC-750 vertical for 20-meter operation since Brian and Eric were on other bands.

I connected the MC-750 to my Elecraft KX2, which I mounted on my kneeboard, and was ready to play radio! My hope was that band conditions would be decent.


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On the Air

I started calling CQ POTA, and fortunately, the contacts started rolling in.

You’ll hear a lot of waterfall QRM in the activation video. Unfortunately, during the past few activations I had not set up my wireless mics properly, so they weren’t recording audio at the KX2 and from my lapel which would have really helped.

Then again? Sounds of waterfalls, traffic, people, wildlife are all par for course with POTA!

Within nine minutes, I had logged the ten contacts needed to validate the activation. One of those contacts was Eric, who worked me park-to-park from about 25 meters away.

I worked one more station, then decided to hunt other parks.

I successfully hunted N0ANE at US-2510 on 20 meters, then WD8RIF again on 30 meters.

I then called QRT to allow either Brian or Eric to jump on 20 meters, which was obviously in better shape than other bands.


Here’s what this 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.

A New POTA State!

It always feels good to add another state, province, or country to the list of POTA sites activated.

Post-activation, we toured the Whitewater Canal Grist Mill (thanks for the ticket, Brian).

They’ve done a great job preserving the history of this mill and canal. If you ever activate this site, take the time to do the tour—it was quite informative.

On the way out, we all purchased stone-ground corn products made that morning at the mill. I grabbed a bag of their cornmeal and their yellow grits!

The drive back to Dayton was smooth, and once we arrived at the hotel in the late afternoon, we said our goodbyes to Brian, who then started his journey back to Pennsylvania.

It was such a joy hanging with Brian on this POTA excursion to Indiana!

The next morning, Eric, Miles, and I packed the car and headed to Wapakoneta, Ohio, to tour the Armstrong Air and Space Museum, then activate yet another park—my first pedestrian mobile activation where I literally logged miles of walking while operating the KH1. You can read that field report by clicking here.

Thank you

Thank you for joining Eric, Miles, Brian and me during this activation!

I hope you enjoyed the field report and my activation video as much as I enjoyed creating and reviewing them! It’s such a pleasure to re-live these activations.

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 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 makes 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–make sure you enjoy a little radio time along the way!

Cheers & 72,
Thomas (K4SWL)

One thought on “From Hamvention to History: A POTA Excursion with friends through Indiana’s Past”

  1. That was an awesome Pota considering Metamora is basically in a low valley , just shows what 5w can do with a good antenna

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