Many of you know I’m on the crew of the Ham Radio Workbench podcast. In fact, as of this month, I’ve been there a year now (my how time flies). Although it shows a certain lack of judgement on their part, I’m glad they invited me on board!
On October 9, fellow HRWB crew member, Mark (N6MTS), pitched an idea to us via email:
“What do y’all think about doing an HRWB On The Air event?”
We all agreed it sounded like a great idea. Things like this normally take a year’s worth of planning, promoting, and organizing. Not when Mark’s in charge, though.
Next thing we know, Mark had us sorting out the best date/time (December 3, 2023/1800-22:00UTC) for HRWBOTA and even reached out to some amazing volunteers who helped put together a website and spotting page.
December 3, 2023
I planned to operate the entire four hour event period from Lake James State Park (K-2730) since it would be an easy detour en route to Hickory, NC (where I was staying that night). Of course, each contact would could for both HRWBOTA and POTA.
The previous day, however, I learned that one of my daughters had a meeting in downtown Asheville from 18:00-19:00 UTC. She doesn’t have a driver’s license yet, so I had to take her. Had it not been an important meeting in advance of her finals, she would have skipped.
This really threw a wrench in the works. I knew that by the time her meeting ended and I dropped her off at the QTH, the earliest I could be at Lake James was 20:15-20:30 or so.
How could I increase my on-the-air HRWBOTA time?
KH1 to the rescue!
Since the Elecraft KH1 was packed in my EDC bag, I decided to play a little HRWBOTA in the parking lot behind the meeting building.
I wasn’t sure what to expect to be honest. I wasn’t spotting myself anywhere but the HRWBOTA spotting page, and I was limited to the 15, 17, and 20M bands with the KH1’s 4′ whip antenna.
I spotted myself, hit the air and started calling CQ HRWBOTA!
In the span of about 45 minutes, I managed to log a total of 15 stations! Not bad considering I was standing in an urban parking lot, swimming in QRM, and going QRP!
I didn’t make a video of this part of the HRWBOTA activation–sorry about that if you worked me then. I needed every moment of on-the-air time I could grab. Here’s my log sheet:
Lake James State Park (K-2739)
I legged it to Lake James after my daughter’s meeting–in fact, to save time, I started my activation video while I was still in my car driving on I-40.
I arrived at Lake James, parked, plugged in the car, grabbed my gear and made my way to the picnic area next to the lakeshore. It wasn’t hard to find a site with a tree that might support my KM4CFT 30/40M linked EFHW antenna.
I include the full antenna deployment and station set-up in my (rather long) activation video below. Continue reading Ham Radio Workbenches On The Air (& POTA): A short field report and a very long activation video!