It is Wednesday, December 27th, the fourth day of my winter-break Florida POTA trip. The night before, we left the rainfly off the tent and were treated to a gorgeous view of the waxing gibbous moon. My brother Joseph was delighted and, while I worked on my article for that day, he lay back on his new Thermarest sleeping pad and took in the night sky.
I opted to sleep in until 8 AM enjoying the cooler morning air. Then it was time to get a shower and rid myself of four days of grunge. Breakfast was a leisurely affair. The mosquitos were less prevalent so I let Daisy relax on the tarp next to us and watch the comings and goings of our neighbors. But by 11 AM, I was getting antsy – time to head out and attempt two activations.
We drove east on the Tamiami Trail/US Highway 41 heading toward Big Cypress National Preserve (K-0659). The road is straight with guardrails on both sides as there is either wetlands or a canal on either side of it. Occasionally there is a break in the foliage and the mangroves come into view.
Bird life is abundant in the area. We saw egrets, wood storks, cormorants, anhingas, and, my favorite bird, kingfishers. At my previous QTH in Savannah, I heard kingfishers at times but rarely saw them. On this drive, I saw eight or nine perched on the utility wires beside the road and gleefully noted each one.
We stopped at the Nathaniel P. Reed Visitor Center to pick up a map and figure out a place for my activation.
I chose the H.P. Williams Roadside Park as it was the closest place to the visitor center and had the opportunity for wildlife viewing. The parking lot was crowded and it was easy to see why. The site has a boardwalk from which one can view alligators and a nice picnic area in which several families ate lunch.
I found a tree away from the crowd and set-up the Tufteln EFRW. In the process of doing so, a little girl came up and peppered me with questions. Then her father and sister joined us. As soon as I was set up, I let them hear my callsign as well as the two girls’ names in Morse Code. It was nice to share my love of the hobby as well as Daisy, on whom they lavished some attention. What I think was a yellow-rumped warbler also paid Daisy and I a visit during the activation. Continue reading An Awesome Day for Parks On The Air