by Vince (VE6LK)
(As is Vince’s usual, this article is full of educational and fun links – click on as many as you wish)
Picture this .. you are getting a bit twitchy due to lack of POTA activation and you have run out of Potaxxia. Further, You publicly stated a New Year’s eve goal to make at least 200 POTA CW activation contacts per month for 2023 (there may have been beer involved), and now you must stay accountable to your goal and you are currently behind plan. It’s too early in the season to be lawn mowing while listening to podcasts such as QSO Today, Ham Radio Workbench, ICQ Podcast, AP/DZ or Soldersmoke. Thus, chasing contacts is [always] a good use of your time.
Lastly, if you are like me, the the solar indices are still an art form being learned and the numbers for today aren’t all in the green zone.
So you begin to wonder just how much effort it’s worth to load up your gear and try to activate. You think to yourself that there won’t be much action on bands other than 20m which has been noisy lately, so why bother as it’s at least a 45 minute trip to the nearest POTA entity.
With this background, on Saturday I placed myself in the city at the nearest-to-home spot I could park in the south part of Calgary adjacent to VE-5082, the Trans-Canada Trail. I was trying to make the best of what I perceived to be a rough conditions day and had no real plan except a convenient location requiring minimal effort for a minimal return. My expectations were, sadly, met in this regard.
I was at the edge of suburbia with large homes on my left overlooking the ravine and pathway on my right. To say it was RF noisy would be a colossal understatement. I made 18 painful contacts in an hour and I’m sure people called me but I didn’t hear them given the S7 noise floor on 20m. At least I made one DX contact to Denmark along the way. Overall feeling frustrated, I went back home.
Sunday morning rolls around and again I wonder “is it worth it”?