Xiegu X6200 SSB Field Test: A Morning POTA Activation at Lake James

On Tuesday, June 18, 2024, I needed to make a morning trip to Hickory, NC, to take care of some family business and visit my father.

I started my day early because I also wanted to be back in the Asheville area by noon. Some quick calculations over morning coffee and I decided I had just enough time to fit in one POTA activation en route to Hickory.

I left the QTH around 7:15 AM and made my way to the Paddy’s Creek Access of Lake James State Park, arriving around 8:15 AM.

Lake James State Park (US-2739)

Two other reasons I fit in my activation en route to Hickory instead of on my way back:

  • Paddy’s Creek has a lakeside beach area that gets very busy in the summer, especially on clear, sunny days (like Tuesday).
  • Temperatures that day were forecast to push near 95F/35C.

When I arrived at the parking area, I was pleased to see I was one of the only cars there. This made it much easier to find a spot to set up!

I started my activation video (see below) then walked to a picnic table under some trees that would not only provide shade but also antenna support!

I deployed my KM4CFT end-fed half-wave kit that I cut as a 30M EFHW with a linked 40M extension. When I launched the arborist line into the dense canopy, I thought I snagged a high branch, but it turned out I hadn’t.

In the end, my 40M EFHW had more of a low inverted vee, almost NVIS-height, configuration. I was fine with that, though, knowing on the 40M band that early in the morning, I’d snag contacts in NC and the surrounding states.

My goal was to finally make some SSB contacts with the Xiegu X6200. My previous mid-day activation with the X6200 provided no results, so I was hoping I’d be more successful in the morning.

One other thing I did that I haven’t done in over four years: I started out my activation with more than 5 watts of power. I added an external battery to the X6200, turned off its internal charger, and ran the transceiver at its full output power of eight watts.

My goal was to see how warm/hot the chassis would become during the activation. This is one of the questions I’ve been asked the most about the X6200 so far.

Setting up the radio was simple. I was careful to make sure that the internal ATU was bypassed on the 40M (and later 20M) band.

Gear:

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On The Air

One of the other reasons I chose the Paddy’s Creek access of Lake James is that I knew for sure that I had mobile phone reception there, which I would need to self-spot in SSB mode. Continue reading Xiegu X6200 SSB Field Test: A Morning POTA Activation at Lake James

From Customs to Summits: Steve’s KH1 journey into Wales and onto summits!

Many thanks to Steve (MW0SAW) who shares the following guest post:


Getting a KH1 into Wales and activating a couple of SOTA summits

by Steve (MW0SAW)

I suspect like many QRP enthusiasts, when the brochure of the KH1 surfaced on the Elecraft FTP site, and the YouTube videos appeared, I worked myself into a frenzy of radio desire for the KH1. I knew I had to have one, end of story!

I was so keen to place my order, I totally missed the small print about not being able to ship to the UK or EU because of the lack of CE certification. Or UKCA for that matter. So I placed an order online with Elecraft on 21st Oct 2023 and later it was cancelled because of my location.

Waters and Stanton used to be Elecraft dealers in the UK, in fact I got my KX2 from there a few years ago. But sadly they no longer sell Elecraft products.

Looking on the dealer list, I turned my attention to Rene and Carine at Lutz Electronics in Switzerland. Although a more expensive route to ownership, Lutz have an agreement to buy the KH1 in as a kit and assemble the unit as a service before shipping on to the customer.

So after quite a few emails back and fore with Carine, I learnt I had reserved one of a batch of 40 units destined for the Swiss border. This was around early April.

A few weeks later, on 26th April, I got the email from Lutz requesting international bank transfer payment.

It felt I was really close to getting a KH1 in my hand now, or so I thought!

2nd May I got the tracking number, and by this time I was about to pop with excitement. I was checking the tracking at almost an hourly basis by now! It arrived in London Heathrow and that’s exactly where it stopped for a week. 🙁

The unit was held by customs and I just could not find any information on who to talk to. So after a week of radio silence, a letter from UK Borderforce arrived requesting I assign myself a customs agent to get my parcel cleared. There was even a mention that the parcel would be returned or even destroyed!

Long story slightly shorter, after several more stressful days of worry, I managed to find an extremely efficient company called UK import services. It did cost me a fee, but within a couple of days of providing the invoice and seller information, they got the parcel cleared.

Saturday the 25th May 2024…the big day! I remember pacing around the house looking up the street for the postman. The parcel was handed over and I dashed inside my home to open the box.

OMG there is was, in my hands, wow so small and such a thing of radio QRP beauty!

My friend Lee (M0VKR) also received his that morning and immediately packed his car to head for his nearest SOTA summit: High Willhays (G/DC-001).

Conditions had been terrible with the solar activity, but I managed to get my first QSO with Lee on 40m, in fact KH1 to KH1. I did have to plug it into my home QTH ZS6BKW to make the trip.

So two days later, I was presented with the opportunity and decided to grab a local summit: Craig yr Allt (GW/SW-037).

Conditions weren’t great but I wasn’t put off trying. I managed to qualify with the whip antenna and 17m came up with the goods to qualify.

I was struck by how small and light the unit is, and just how quick the station is to deploy.

In the distance the Bristol Channel and the islands of Flat Holm and Steep Holm. Flat Holm being the place where Marconi sent his first oversea radio signal to Lavernock Point.

The following weekend I took the KH1 out to the SOTA summit of Mynydd Y Glyn (GW/SW-027). Another day of terrible radio propagation. This time I deployed one of my MW0SAW EFHW antennas and the Bamatech TP-III key.

So despite the difficulties getting the radio, and despite the poor radio conditions it was great to be out with the KH1.

I absolutely love it.

It now goes everywhere with me, it’s insane how quick you can deploy it. Even managed to chase a German SOTA station from the office carpark, on 30m with the standard whip and 13 foot counterpoise!!

73 from Wales.
de MW0SAW

There’s a Venus SW-6B on the horizon!

Many thanks to Dale (BA4TB), who reached out this morning to announce that he’s working on a new product, the Venus SW-6B.

Dale gave me permission to share the following photo:

This will be a six band radio with a built-in rechargeable battery and small speaker.

The front panel reveals some other features:

  • Dedicated CW speed control
  • Dedicated AF and RF gain controls
  • Separate charging and external power ports
  • Two dedicated CW message memory buttons
  • It also appears to be enclosed in a case with lid

It’s still in the early stages of development, so some details may change, but I think this looks quite promising! I’m very impressed with the Venus SW-3B, so I suspect this will be a great little radio.

Just take my money, Dale!

Speaking of which, this radio is still in development, so I don’t have pricing or availability information yet. When those details are available, you’ll hear it here first! Follow the tag: Venus SW-6B

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: there’s never been a better time to be a CW operator!

Joe’s Adirondack Adventure: POTA activations in the Independence River Wilderness

Many thanks to Joe (N0LSD) who shares the following guest post:


Independence River Wilderness – Adirondacks, NY

by Joe (N0LSD)

A recent family engagement offered me the perfect opportunity to travel to a part of my state I rarely get the chance to visit.

This trip would be a single over-nighter, but allow for the activation of three POTA entities by hitting two different locations.  One stop would be a two-fer, while the other location would be a single-park activation.  Additionally, this trip would offer the potential for ‘late-shift’ contacts:  always a nice feature of overnight activations.

The Planning

In northern New York lies a vast, 6-million acre (over 2.4 million hectare) area that has been set-aside in the State’s constitution as protected land, and half of this area contains wildernesses that are meant to be kept ‘forever wild’.  This area, known as the Adirondack State Park, is fully 20% of the land area of the state of New York, and constitutes the largest area of state-protected land in the United States.

By way of comparison, one could fit Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Everglades, and Great Smoky National Parks all within the Adirondack State Park boundary – at the same time.  (Wood-Tikchik State Park, in Alaska, has more *contiguous* protected land, at 1.6-million acres, and the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge is the largest Federally-protected area.)

My goal was to probe the very western edge of this region.  Situated east-southeast of the town of Lowville, NY are two parks that straddle the Blue Line, which serves as the official border of the Adirondack Park itself.

To the west is the Independence River State Forest (POTA US-5067):  this park falls outside the Blue Line.  Bordering this park to the east is Independence River Wild State Forest (POTA US-10295) – which falls within the Blue Line, and thus within the border of the Adirondack Park (POTA US-2001).

My Amateur operations over the last number of years have been primarily utilizing digital modes; however, because the destination is a place I can seldom travel, and solar activity has been unkind to the HF bands as of late, I’d not leave anything to chance.

This meant having the ability to activate these parks via SSB Voice, if necessary.  I’ve been activating parks with the TruSDX, because it is a light-weight radio.  In addition to carrying this, however, I also took the Xeigu G90, and a Bioenno 12Ah battery.  A good bit of extra weight, but it provided a bit of insurance against the possibility of a failed activation attempt.

On Arrival

In Desert Solitaire, Edward Abbey, one of the great writers of the 20th Century, wrote, “In the first place you can’t see anything from a car; you’ve got to get out of the [G.D.] contraption and walk, better yet crawl, on hands and knees, over the sandstone and through the thornbush and cactus.  When traces of blood begin to mark your trail you’ll begin to see something, maybe.  Probably not.

Map reconnaissance showed it would probably be feasible to drive through the Independence River State Forest park on a forestry road, then hike a couple miles further into the Independence River Wild State Forest along established trails to make camp on Little Otter Lake.  This would be my overnight location and first activation opportunity – a two-fer, as this place lies entirely within the Adirondack Park border.  This would put my vehicle at a midpoint between the two POTA entities.

I tend to pour over maps in preparation for trips like this, but I know better than to trust maps implicitly, especially in the wilderness.  A couple enterprising beavers can turn a whole forest into a pond; and a stroke of a pen in a far-away capital can make a road disappear back into the woods within a few short years.  Topology rarely changes, but what is on that topology can only be trusted once one sets eyes on it. Continue reading Joe’s Adirondack Adventure: POTA activations in the Independence River Wilderness

Xiegu X6200: Second POTA activation with rough propagation, but CW saves the day!

On Tuesday, June 11, 2024, I took my production run Xiegu X6200 (on loan from Radioddity) to the Blue Ridge Parkway for its first POTA activation. The activation was a success, with good band conditions on 40 and 30 meters. You can read that field report by clicking here.

Later that day, I had a second opportunity to use the X6200. My daughters were kayaking near Lake Powhatan in Pisgah National Forest, so Hazel (my activational support animal–!) and I went for a quick POTA activation.

Pisgah National Forest (US-4510)

I usually set up near the lake at Lake Powhatan, where there are picnic tables and shade. However, mobile phone reception is poor there. Since I planned to operate in single-sideband mode, I needed a way to self-spot or have a friend spot me, thus a little mobile phone reception (else, use my Garmin In-Reach).

I decided to set up at a picnic area at the top of the hill near the main parking area for the lake/beach. I’ve never seen anyone use this site before, likely because it’s not close to the lake.

The site is surrounded by trees, making it a great spot to deploy a wire antenna.

Setting up

I used my PackTenna 9:1 UNUN random wire antenna, which was already in my pack from the morning activation. It’s a good choice for the higher bands (20 and 17M) I planned to use.

I set up the PackTenna so it wouldn’t interfere with anyone walking through the site. Hazel found a sunny spot to relax.

Gear:

Note: All Amazon, CW Morse, ABR, Chelegance, eBay, and Radioddity links are affiliate links that support QRPer.com at no cost to you.

On The Air

I began by attaching the X6200 microphone and spotting myself on the SSB portion of the 20M band. I called CQ POTA for quite a while with no response.

Once again, propagation conditions were poor. Continue reading Xiegu X6200: Second POTA activation with rough propagation, but CW saves the day!

QRP in Thailand: Drew’s Journey to Get Licensed and On the Air

Many thanks to Drew (W8MHV) who shares the following guest post:


QRP in Thailand

by Drew (W8MHV)

I travel to Southeast Asia each year and usually have a few weeks in Thailand, but this year we planned on a longer stay. My XYL (N8MHV) has family in Thailand and we own a condo in downtown Bangkok. This year I was intent on getting my Thai ham license; I have never previously been licensed there.

You might be surprised to know that Thailand doesn’t make it easy for a casual American visitor to be awarded a ham license, even though the country has a bilateral agreement with the US on licensing.

For starters, you must have a visa for a long stay. A visitor can stay in Thailand for 30 days without a visa, and I have always limited my stay accordingly. But this year we stayed for of two months and getting a visa was necessary. That wasn’t especially difficult once my Thai-speaking wife helped figure out the necessary paperwork. In Thailand my wife’s calls to government offices led to a contact with the Radio Amateur Society of Thailand (RAST). Once I joined the organization, they helped push through the application and award of the license.

The RAST Secretary whose nickname is Top was a very great help. I felt like this was a big achievement as there are fewer than 1,000 ham licensees with HF privileges in a country of about 70-million.

QRP operating from anywhere in Southeast Asia requires great patience. This is because if you operate in a DX location, then everyone you work is DX to you, as by definition there are few if any local stations!

I brought my newly-acquired Elecraft KH1 for on-air use. Its tiny size made it easy to pack for overseas travel. It worked flawlessly, but the built-in whip antenna was far less useful than a 20.5 foot random wire with counterpoise I included in my kit.

Operating the KH1 from my condo.

In my 12th floor condo noise levels were terrible—typically S7, but at the top of the building on the 24th floor there is a garden where the noise levels were a manageable S3. See the photo above.

I also operated from an island in the Gulf of Thailand at a resort and noise levels there were even more quiet, as you would expect. Also, this was a comfortable operating location as the photo shows.

During my stay propagation conditions were poor mostly and I struggled to work any stations. A typical example is my final night in Bangkok I repeatedly called a station in Hong Kong whose signal was about S5, but I never got an answer. It was about the closest station I heard, but the signal path was about the same as the distance between New York City and Caracas, Venezuela.

I have operated from other Asian locations with QRP radios many times and the results have varied, chiefly depending on the kinds of antenna I could erect. Sometimes it has been lonely, other times control of a big pileup has been a challenge.

Finally, a few thoughts about the KH1.

It is an unparalleled performer for its size. It has most features you would want and its ergonomics are good. The weakest point was the paddle set, and since returning, I have replaced them with the KM4CFT aftermarket set. That said, in my travel to Thailand next year, I think I will take a KX2. It offers a few more features at a small increase in packing size.

Thanks for listening es 73 de W8MHV

Sam’s Thunderbird Mk 1 Takes Flight: A Homebrew Radio Field Report from the American Southwest

Many thanks to Sam (WN5C) for sharing the following guest post:


Homebrew in the Field

by Sam (WN5C)

What a week it’s been!

I have the opportunity to spend a month traveling through and camping in the American Southwest (specifically, New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado) doing archaeological work. And of course, that means the prospect to operate portable at weird times and in lots of places.

I’ve been planning for this trip for a couple of months, about the same length of time that I’ve been trying to achieve my amateur radio dream: to build a complete transceiver. So why not try to do both things at once?

This is just a quick note of my experiences in the first quarter of my trip of taking a homebrew rig into the field.

First off, I have absolutely no background in RF engineering, or electronics at all. But the literature is good and Elmers are priceless (thanks Kenn KA5KXW!). I started small, with kit projects, and then very basic transmitters.

I’ve always appreciated how much satisfaction my father gets by building things by hand, and finally I have a similar hobby. I called the radio I designed the Thunderbird Mk 1 based off the fact that I cut my CW and POTA teeth at Lake Thunderbird State Park in Oklahoma and will probably continue to work there the most. It’s a 6-band (40, 30, 20, 17, 15, 10) CW QRP transceiver with SSB receive.

The receiver is direct conversion and is an amalgamation of VU2ESE’s DC40, KK7B’s Classic 40, and W7EL’s Optimized QRP Transceiver. The VFO is an Arduino/si5351 combo based on the schematics and code written by VK3HN (who has helped me from afar, thanks Paul!). It’s crude, but I use a 6-position rotary switch to manually switch between the band-pass filters.

The transmitter is based on W7ZOI’s Updated Universal QRP Transmitter, married with VK3HN’s Arduino code that acts as the oscillator, keyer, and side tone generator. I get about 3 watts output for 40, 30, 20, a little less for 17 and 15, and about a watt on 10 meters. Like the receiver, I manually switch the low-pass filters.

Here’s a picture of the digital parts (ignore the second Arduino Nano, I thought I would need it but did not), the power board, and the filters. It’s on the bottom:

On top is the main board with the receiver, the transmitter, and T/R switching. Also, you’ll notice the green PCB. I *really* wanted to build NM0S’s Hi-Per-Mite from scratch but I couldn’t get the circuit to run right before my trip so I opted to install one that I built from a kit. It’s a fantastic CW audio filter that I can switch in and out (everyone should have at least one!).

I can switch in a little speaker and added a straight key jack. I printed the box on a 3D printer at the local library. It works great for the shack. In the sun, it’s starting to warp in the heat, so I’ll have to address this, but things still work!

Getting out the door on time with a finished radio was tough! I had finished right before I left on my trip (end of May 2024) and had no time to field test. The best I got was taking the rig to the table in the back yard and firing it up during the WPX contest.

I made amazing DX contacts on all the contest bands I had and called it good. But working superstations isn’t real life, and over the next week I’ve had to MacGyver the radio (rigging a car jump pack, an inverter, and a soldering station together at a picnic table to replace a bad transistor, for example). I think I’ve finally shaken out (literally) all of the loose solder joints and bad grounding. Continue reading Sam’s Thunderbird Mk 1 Takes Flight: A Homebrew Radio Field Report from the American Southwest

The New Xiegu X6200: First POTA activation in CW with a production unit!

If you’re following the new Xiegu X6200 closely, you might recall that I took a prototype version of the radio out two weeks ago for a POTA activation. Propagation was so challenging–as in, a complete radio blackout in North America due to an X-Class flare–it took about 90 minutes of calling CQ POTA to snag the ten needed for a valid park activation.

I had planned to post the activation video on YouTube, but learned shortly after the activation that this particular unit was a proper prototype instead of an early production run radio. This is a detail I misunderstood prior to the unit shipping.

I only shared the 2+ hour video to Patreon supporters, but not on my YouTube channel for this reason.

Production

This past weekend, I received a second Xiegu X6200: this time, a production run unit!

Again, this unit was supplied to me on loan by Xiegu via their distributor, Radioddity who (in the spirit of full disclosure) is also a QRPer.com sponsor and affiliate.

[Note: Also check out Steve’s channel if interested in the X6200. He’s been testing power output, OS accessibility, and other aspects on the bench.]

POTA Time!

Two days ago–Tuesday, June 11, 2024–I took the new X6200 out for a POTA activation on the Blue Ridge Parkway (US-3378).

I had a couple of hours that morning to fit in the activation, including a round trip from the QTH. The best site for a quick activation was the Folk Art Center picnic area.

Thanks to the early hour, there was no competition for picnic tables.

I decided to pair my PackTenna 9:1 End-Fed Random Wire with the X6200. This provided a chance to test the ATU with a readily matchable antenna (in the future, I’ll make it sweat a bit more by using a transformerless random wire antenna).

This production run X6200 has the same firmware (version 1.0) as the prototype, but the hardware has received noticeable updates. I spotted two changes–one cosmetic and one that had a positive impact on performance–almost immediately.

In the activation video below, you’ll see that I spent a few minutes doing an overview of the X6200.

One of the first things I did was set up the X6200 for CW Message memory operation. I demonstrated (after a bit of head-scratching) how to input the CW message using the X6200’s built-in on-screen keyboard. (If the CW Message Memories confuse you, check out the short primer in my previous post).

Gear:

Note: All Amazon, CW Morse, ABR, Chelegance, eBay, and Radioddity links are affiliate links that support QRPer.com at no cost to you.

On The Air

The last time I hopped on the air with the X6200, it was proper work making any contacts. It was a struggle and it wasn’t the X6200’s fault. It was our local star!

I decided to start on 40 meters since it was still mid-morning. After calling “QRL?” and hearing no reply, I pressed the second CW message memory button where I loaded “CQ POTA DE K4SWL” and the radio started transmitting. Continue reading The New Xiegu X6200: First POTA activation in CW with a production unit!

The POTA Babe Reaches the Halfway Mark!

by Teri (KO4WFP)

It is said that all good things must come to an end and a POTA trip is no exception. Packing up camp at Reed Bingham State Park the morning of June 3rd was an easy endeavor.  Daisy and I were soon headed toward Savannah with a POTA planned along the way at Alapaha River Wildlife Management Area (US-7881). We passed through the communities of Tifton and Ocilla, Georgia.

As one travels through Georgia, you see a variety of crops along the road – cotton, peanuts, corn, pecans, blueberries, soybeans, etc. – as well as cattle in fields and poultry houses. As I worked my way toward Alapaha River Wildlife Management Area (WMA), I came across a processing plant for peanuts in Tifton, Georgia.

Peanuts are big business in Georgia. According to the Georgia Peanut Commission, the state of Georgia produces 52% of the peanuts grown in the United States which translated to 1.45 million tons in 2022. That is a boatload of peanuts!

Peanuts are planted April through June and then harvested about five months later in the fall. One fact I did not know is there is a “peanut belt” in Georgia, an area south of the fall line but omitting the coastal counties, where peanuts are planted in the state. I was driving inside this belt.

Peanut crop in the field. source: georgiagrown.com
source: Georgia Peanut Commission

Nuts aside, it wasn’t long before Daisy and I arrived at Alapaha River WMA. This WMA opened in 2016 and contains nearly 7,000 acres. According to a Georgia DNR article, the site has an estimated 2,000 gopher tortoises, the most for any state-owned tract of land in Georgia. This is not surprising given the density of sandhills on the property, a habitat in which gopher tortoises thrive.

The dirt road into the property was nicely groomed. I drove past areas of young planted pines as well as more mature pine stands. However, neither of these areas were conducive to an activation, partially because the trees offered no shade and partially because the branches were either too low or too high for me to install my EFRW antenna.

Entrance into Alapaha River WMA
Young pines

I continued on Jacks Creek Road and headed toward a dove field (the brown area on the map down below) at the point the road dead-ends. I  figured there may be trees along the edge of the field offering what I needed. I turned left onto North Bugle Trail and, off to the right hand side, saw an area with both shade and trees I could use.

source: Georgia Department of Natural Resources
The shady area for my activation QTH
Trees with good branch options

After donning my blaze orange attire and installing the Tufteln EFRW, I attached the new hitch system to the hubcap of one of Kai’s front wheels and the rope to the clip on Daisy’s harness so she could make herself at home along with me in the shade.

While checking out the shady area, I noticed several things – dandelions with their sunny, yellow faces and animal tracks in the sand. The set of tracks for deer were easy to identify. However, another set, not so. I think the second set belonged to a raccoon.

Deer track
Raccoon track (I think)

Today’s activation would be short as I had a three-hour drive ahead of me and needed to be home in time for my son’s evening driving class. (Yes, we’ve reached that stage of life in the POTA Babe household.) In 45 minutes, I logged 19 contacts including one park-to-park with Charles AB9CA at US-2275 and a QSO with Ronald N7WPO in Washington state! That QSO on 5 watts and a wire is part of the magic I mentioned near the end of my previous article.

QSO Map for Alapha River WMA Activation

During the activation I had watched the sun creep closer and closer to Daisy and me. When the time reached 11:15 AM, we were nearly out of shade. It was time to call QRT and head home.

This overnight POTA trip turned out well. I learned more about my camping set-up and the beautiful state in which I live. I had time to do what I love – ham radio in the outdoors. And, with these three activations, I now have 30 parks toward my 60 new-to-me park activation goal for 2024!

I am halfway there.

Thank you to all of you who have supported me thus far. However, my journey is far from over and the fun will continue. Where will I activate next as I work toward 30 more new parks? Stay tuned…

Equipment Used

[Note: All Amazon, CW Morse, ABR, Chelegance, eBay, and Radioddity links are affiliate links that support QRPer.com at no cost to you.]

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

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