SF Maritime NHP POTA Activation
by Matt (W6CSN)
There are several Parks On The Air eligible parks in San Francisco and the northern tip of the peninsula of the same name. One would expect that a POTA activator that calls this city home, would have logged activations from all of these parks, but so far this one has eluded me.
The National Park encompasses an area that includes the municipal pier, aquatic cove with its small public beach, the art deco style Maritime Museum, and Hyde Street Pier with its floating collection of historic ships.
For various schedule and logistical reasons, K-0757 was the one park in the city that I had not yet activated. So today, when my daughter wanted to visit the ships, I made sure to have my lightweight POTA “go” pack with me in case I found an opportunity to attempt an activation.
I’d say the main attraction at Hyde Street Pier is the Balclutha, a steel hulled, square rigged, cargo ship built near Glasgow, Scotland and launched in 1886.
Balclutha is continually undergoing restoration and maintenance by the Park Service and skilled volunteers. Her many careers on the world’s oceans are documented with numerous interpretive stations and exhibits, both topside and below decks.
We wrapped up our tour of the vessels on the pier by exploring C.A. Thayer, a 219 foot long sailing schooner built in 1895 near Eureka, California to serve the coastal timber trade.
I was thinking about where to activate and not really looking forward to setting up on or around the public beach. Between the Aquatic Cove swimmers, people enjoying the beach, and tourists going to and fro, there wasn’t really an “out of the way” location to setup even a small station.
Hyde Street Pier itself was actually pretty quiet, but I wasn’t about to set up my station there without prior approval of park staff. Just as we were about disembark from Thayer I noticed an NPS employee near the gangway, and so I took the opportunity to inquire about setting up my low impact, leave no trace, POTA station.
It turns out the person I talked to on the deck of C.A. Thayer was the supervisor of the SF Maritime National Historic Park! He is keenly interested in radio and was even aware of recent solar activities that have given us amateurs a mixed bag of propagation conditions. He agreed to my request to set up at the end of the pier, past Balclutha’s gangway.
I used the Gabil GRA-3750T antenna with its stock telescopic whip tuned for 20 meters. This is the most low profile antenna I can field for HF. Yes, it’s a compromised antenna system but as you’ll see it works good enough. Continue reading Matt’s Low-Profile POTA Activation at the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park