Tag Archives: Miles (KD8KNC)

Post-Hamvention Activation with Friends

The 2024 Dayton Hamvention is in the books!

This morning, I’m still at our hotel in Dayton, Ohio, but about to pack up and head out. Eric (WD8RIF), Miles (KD8KNC), and I are heading for a day at the Armstrong Aerospace Museum, then, hopefully, a POTA activation on the way back to Athens, Ohio, where I’ll spend the night.

Tuesday morning, I’ll be up early and hit the road for North Carolina. Really looking forward to seeing my wife, daughters, and Hazel.

I thought I’d share a very brief POTA activation I enjoyed yesterday with friends.

Pater State Wildlife Area (US-9492)

Yesterday morning (May 19, 2024), Eric, Miles and I met up with Kyle (AA0Z), Brian (K3ES), Joshua (N5FY), and Charlie (NJ7V) at our hotel.

Eric, Miles, Brian, and I had planned to activate a park in nearby Indiana that afternoon, as Brian and I had never activated in that state. Joshua, Charlie, and Kyle were planning to join us on an activation in southwest Ohio en route. Unfortunately, Joshua was driving back to his home in Georgia, and Kyle was dropping off Charlie at the airport on his way home, so they couldn’t join us in Indiana.

Eric’s first POTA activation with his Elecraft KH1!

We arrived on-site a little after 10:00 AM local. Eric immediately set up his Elecraft KH1 in desktop mode using his new Tufteln KH1 Right-Angle adapter.

Brian set up under a tree with his Elecraft KX2 and a Tufteln random wire antenna.

The amazing Brian (K3ES)

I grabbed my Elecraft KH1 and we coordinated frequencies. Brian took 30 meters, Eric took 40 meters, and I took 17 meters (thinking either Joshua or Eric might move to 20 meters).

This was another instance where having a fully handheld, pedestrian mobile station truly offered a level of activation freedom.

The bands were in rough shape, but I kept my KH1 in hand and walked around the entire site with the CW Message memory sending out my “CQ POTA DE K4SWL.”

Over the course of 13 minutes, I worked five stations. All the while, I was holding the KH1, chatting with my friends, and petting a sweet local dog that instantly made friends with us.

This pup was a hoot!

This activation also gave me an excuse to try out the new Tufteln KH1 Antenna Angle Adapter which makes it a breeze to keep the antenna nearly vertical while holding the KH1 at a more comfortable angle. Thanks, Joshua!

Eventually, I moved to 20 meters and we all started working each other to help with our QSO count and to simply get each other in the logs. I logged two more stations, plus Charlie, Brian, and Joshua to make my 10.

Kyle (AA0Z) and his brilliant Toyota Tacoma POTA machine.

The idea was to hop off the air quickly so that Kyle and Charlie could use Kyle’s KX3 station to activate the park as well.

L to R: Kyle, Joshua and Charlie

Conditions deteriorated further, so we did rely on a few P2Ps with each other to help Charlie and Kyle finish and hit the road.

Charlie calling CQ POTA

Here’s my QSO Map, but keep in mind that several of the pins are incorrect as Charlie, Kyle, Brian, and Joshua were all on-site:

All in all, we had an amazing time and it was a nice, relaxed way to wind down after an incredibly active 2024 Hamvention and FDIM conference.

Joshua working us P2P with his KH1 and the the most compromised–yet completely effective–antenna of all: a dummy load!

I will report more on Hamvention and share a few photos later this week.

For now, I need to wrap up this post and hit the road! There’s an aviation museum and POTA in my future today!

Heartfelt Thank You

I will add this one extra note: I’m simply overwhelmed with the kind comments and conversations I had with so many of you who took the time to catch up with me these past few days. Thank you so much!

Cheers & 72,
Thomas (K4SWL)

From the Activation Archives: Pairing the Elecraft KX2 and MPAS Lite at Little Beaver State Park

In May 2022, my buddy Eric (WD8RIF), his son Miles (KD8KNC), and I opted to skip Hamvention that year and, instead, plan an extended weekend POTA campout in West Virginia.

Although attending the 2022 Hamvention was a tempting idea, I had already committed to a two-month family camping trip to Québec, Canada, scheduled to begin just a week later. Fortunately, the camping trip provided us with ample opportunities for field radio and was a more budget-friendly alternative.

During a recent review of my videos, I uncovered two videos from my West Virginia journey that had previously remained unpublished.

Amidst the hustle and bustle of FDIM and Hamvention 2024 (happening now), I’ve decided to shake things up by publishing these two videos. With my schedule packed to the brim during Hamvention weekend, I’ve arranged for these posts to go live automatically.

Abbreviated field report

Indeed, as I prepare this report (and the following one), I’m only two days away from heading to Ohio and I’m pressed for time. In lieu of my regular in-depth field report, I’m keeping these two reports simple and short so that I can fit them in my tight schedule.

Little Beaver State Park (US-1815)

Photo Credit: Little Beaver State Park

My first archived field report is from Little Beaver State Park.

We activated this park on Saturday, May 21, 2022.

I didn’t take a lot of photos at Little Beaver–I find that when I activate with others, I often simply forget to take photos.

The site was very pleasant. In fact, it was ideal for POTA on a hot sunny day since there were so many trees and some well-spaced picnic tables flanking a disc golf course.

I set up my Elecraft KX2 and paired it with my Chameleon MPAS Lite.

Gear:

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QSO Map

Here’s what this five-watt activation looked like when plotted out on a QSO Map:

Activation Video

Here’s my real-time, real-life video of the entire activation.  As with all of my videos, I don’t edit out any parts of the on-air activation time. In addition, I have monetization turned off on YouTube, although that doesn’t stop them from inserting ads before and after my videos.

Note that Patreon supporters can watch and even download this video 100% ad-free through Vimeo on my Patreon page:

Click here to view on YouTube.

Post Activation

Of course, it’s been two years since Eric, Mile, and I performed these activation, but it’s funny what details I do remember.

For one thing, I remember enjoying a brilliant meal and ice cream at Dixie’s Drive-In post-activation.

I also remember taking this photo of Eric and Theo:

Good times!

If you’re interested in reading Eric’s field reports from this camping trip, please visit his website using this link.

Thank you!

Thank you for joining us during this 2022 activation!

Of course, I’d also like to send a special thanks to those of you who have been supporting the site and channel through Patreon, and the Coffee Fund. While not a requirement, as my content will always be free, I really appreciate the support.

As I mentioned before, the Patreon platform connected to Vimeo makes it possible for me to share videos that are not only 100% ad-free but also downloadable for offline viewing. The Vimeo account also serves as a third backup for my video files.

Thanks for spending part of your day with me!

Cheers & 72,
Thomas (K4SWL)

From the Archives: A 2022 Postcard Field Report and Activation Video from New River Gorge National Park

These are busy days for K4SWL

These past few weeks have been absolutely crazy for me in terms of activity–I’ve been traveling a lot, doing (involved) DIY projects on the house, searching for a new car, planning a PV system for the QTH, fixing well pumps, helping friends, and doing caregiving for my folks.

It’s all kept me very busy!

I have a sizable backlog of emails that have accumulated during this time. If you’ve sent me a message, I likely haven’t read it yet. Apologies for that. I simply haven’t had time to read and reply.

I thought about skipping a field report this morning, then I remembered an amazing West Virginia camping trip and draft videos I’d already uploaded to YouTube.

In lieu of writing a full field report (and so that I can share a video today) I thought I’d simply share this activation video with a Postcard type field report.

2022 West Virginia POTA Camping Trip

Last year (2022), in lieu of going to the Dayton Hamvention, my buddies Eric (WD8RIF), his son Miles (KD8KNC), and I spent a long weekend activating parks and camping in the New River Gorge area of West Virginia. Click here to read more about that trip.

The camping trip was absolutely amazing and we activated a number of parks during that time.

I made activation videos at most of the parks we visited, but with my summer travels and activations in Canada last year, I skipped over several of the videos I’d uploaded so that I could publish my Canadian activations while I was still in Canada.

New River Gorge National Park (K-0696)

 

The following activation video was made on May 21, 2022 as WD8RIF and I activated K-0696.

 

I’ve yet to re-watch this video myself, but I remember clearly that this particular day we had atrocious band conditions.

Indeed, rough bands were present during much of our weekend camping trip, but it never stopped us from having fun or activating our parks.

In terms of gear, I used my trust Elecraft KX2 paired with my Chameleon MPAS 2.0 antenna system.

Activation video:

Click here to watch on YouTube.

Logs

I hope you enjoy this below video and, as always, thank you so much to my Patreon and Coffee Fund.  supporters! You’re simply brilliant!

72,

Thomas (K4SWL)

Beating the POTA propagation blues at Stonelick State Park!

As mentioned in my previous POTA field report, I had the great pleasure of playing POTA on May 21, 2023 with a number of friends. We all played hooky on the final day of Hamvention. The first two activations of the day were with Vince (VE6LK/AI7LK), Charlie (NJ7V), Eric (WD8RIF), and Miles (KD8KNC).

Charlie and Vince had to leave us after the second activation of the day because both of them had travels in store that afternoon.

Eric, Miles, and I grabbed lunch at a nearby town, then made our way to our final park of the day.

Stonelick State Park (K-1993)

We pulled into Stonelick State Park a little after 3:00 PM and found the best open area to set up our stations. This park was a new one for me and, I believe, for Eric as well. (FYI: Miles didn’t hop on the air that day, but helped his dad set up his POTA station.)

Eric’s station

Eric set up his station on a bench overlooking Stonelick Lake. He supported his 28.5 foot vertical wire antenna on a 31′ Jackite fiberglass telescoping pole which he strapped to the bench. His transceiver of choice was the Elecraft KX3.

Note that Eric writes detailed field reports for all of his activations and field activities on his website.

For more details on this activation from Eric’s perspective, click here!

Working with poor propagation

Instead of using a vertical, I opted to deploy my recently cannibalized 40 meter end-fed half-wave. I felt a full 40M EFHW, properly deployed, would increase my chances of logging stations on a day where contacts were few and far between. Continue reading Beating the POTA propagation blues at Stonelick State Park!

QRP POTA with Friends: Two Park Activations with VE6LK, NJ7V, WD8RIF, and KD8KNC!

Sunday, May 21, 2023, was the final day of Hamvention.

I traveled to Hamvention with my buddies Eric (WD8RIF) and his son Miles (KD8KNC). We decided in advance that instead of attending Hamvention that Sunday (after having spent all day Friday and Saturday there) we’d opt for a relaxing day playing POTA near Dayton/Xenia.

We weren’t, in fact, the only ones who skipped Hamvention that Sunday–our friends Vince (VE6LK or AI7LK State-side) and Charlie (NJ7V) did as well, so we decided to play POTA together!

Both Charlie and Vince were leaving the Dayton area that afternoon, so they needed to finish up their activations by noon at the latest. We decided we could fit in two activations that morning before Charlie and Vince headed back, then Eric, Miles, and I would hit a third park in the afternoon. Actually, Miles never planned to hop on the air, but he was both our ride and valuable POTA support!

Vince and Charlie in the rear view mirror!

Charlie and Vince met us at our hotel around 9:00 AM and we drove to the first of two parks we’d activate together.

Cowan Lake State Park (K-1943)

Charlie (NJ7V) and Vince (VE6LK/AI7LK) ready to deploy their gear.

The weather was beautiful that day, but the space weather, much less so. We knew in advance that it would be a struggle based on the propagation forecast and numerous reports from other activators.

Vince set up his Elecraft KX3-based station in the trunk/boot of his rental car.

He deployed his “low-slung” wire antenna (read more about that here) and hit the air.

Vince’s low-slung antenna

Eric described the POTA station he deployed in his field report on WD8RIF.com:

Eric found a shady, level spot near the parking lot, strapped his 31′ Jackite telescoping fiberglass pole to his folding camp-chair, deployed his 28½’ wire vertical on the pole, set up his Elecraft KX3 on the camp-chair’s flip-up table, and was on the air at 1412 UTC. Eric began his operation with a lovely touch-paddle which he had unexpectedly been given as a gift from the builder, Brian Manley, K3ES

Eric’s station

Note that Eric carefully documents each and every one of his field activations and field contests on his website. His field reports date back to Field Day in 1995!

I found a spot to set up next to the lake under the shade of a large tree. I deployed my Tufteln no-transformer 28.5 foot end-fed random wire.  This antenna is simply two lengths of 28.5′ wire: one wire for the radiator and one for the counterpoise. The KX2’s internal ATU does all of the heavy lifting. Continue reading QRP POTA with Friends: Two Park Activations with VE6LK, NJ7V, WD8RIF, and KD8KNC!

Hamvention and FDIM 2023: Wow…what a weekend!

Wow! What a show!

I got back from my 2023 Hamvention trip last night and am now trying to catch up after nearly a full week on the road.

A way too close-up of Eric and his son Miles in the background!

As in past years, I traveled to Hamvention with my buddies Eric (WD8RIF) and his son Miles (KD8KNC).

It was amazing to meet so many readers, subscribers, and POTA/SOTA friends in person!

When I wasn’t walking around the Hamvention grounds checking out the inside vendor tables and outdoor flea market, I was hanging out with friends at the Halibut Electronics/Ham Radio Workbench table.

It was great to finally meet Vince (VE6LK) and Mark (N6MTS) in person. Hopefully, next year, we can have the whole HRWB crew at the table!

The Unseen Bean table next to the Halibut table (you can *just* see Mark and Paul to the left).

Side note: It was a true surprise and joy to discover that the amazing crew of The  Unseen Bean were next door to us. I’m a bit of a coffee snob, so it was wonderful having Gerry and his amazing team so close. I bought a lot of coffee!

Of course, my favorite thing about Hamvention is the QRPARCI Four Days in May (FDIM) conference.

Eric and I didn’t arrive in enough time to enjoy the Thursday presentations, but we did make it to Vendor’s night that evening. It was busier than I ever remember.

As we walked into the conference room, there was already a massive line to purchase Hans’ new QRP Labs QMX transceiver kit.

Of course, I bought one (serial number 28, evidently)! It will take me some time to build this as I have a crazy June schedule filled with travel and camping.

We also attended FDIM Club Night  and the Homebrew contest on Friday. It was so much fun.

Receiving my award from the amazing David Cripe (NM0S). Photo by Charlie (NJ7V).

I was over the moon to have been inducted into the QRP Hall of Fame at the Saturday Evening FDIM banquet. I’m not sure what I’ve done to deserve this, but I’m incredibly grateful and humbled. Many of my QRP mentors are in the QRP Hall of Fame.

Thank you to those who nominated and selected me! What an incredible honor.

The “Vincester” (VE6LK) operating POTA from the back of his rental car!

On Sunday, we skipped Hamvention altogether and joined Charlie (NJ7V) and Vince (VE6LK) for a few local park activations.

Charlie using my KX2 and PackTenna to hammer out POTA contacts while dealing with the QRM of a nearby rural highway! Impressive op, this Charlie!

Vince and Charlie joined us for two POTA activations (during horrible band conditions, I might add), then Eric, Miles and I capped off the short POTA run with one more activation after lunch.

Monday was all about taking it easy…

Eric and I took all day Monday to “decompress” at the US Air Force Museum. Although I’ve visited this museum a dozen times before, it never gets old and the displays and exhibits are ever-changing.

I think it’s one of the best aviation museums in the world.

Tuesday (yesterday) I drove back to the QTH and fit in one short activation at Yatesville Lake State Park in eastern Kentucky. I recorded this one, so there’ll eventually be a full field report and activation video!

All-in-all, I fit in five POTA activations over the Hamvention trip!

Now that I’m back at the QTH, I’m prepping for a family camping trip. This is going to be one busy summer indeed!

Again, so many thanks to all of you who introduced yourselves over Hamvention and FDIM. It was amazing to meet you all! And, again, a very special thanks to the QRP Hall of Fame committee–being inducted is the true highlight of my amateur radio journey!

Did you attend Hamvention? Or did you have other radio plans this past week? Feel free to comment!

Pairing the Elecraft KX2 and Tufteln Random Wire at Gauley River National Recreation Area

During my West Virginia POTA expedition with Eric (WD8RIF), Miles (KD8KNC), and Theo (The “Great Warg”) dog, the last park we hit on Friday, May 20, 2022 was Gauley River National Recreation Area (the first park  was New River Gorge  and the second was Hawk’s Nest State Park).

Back in the days of National Parks On The Air (2016), I activated this site (the Gauley River, actually) but it was snowing, the winds were howling, and being on a tight schedule, I didn’t hang around to explore the site.

Gauley River National Recreation Area (K-0695)

Gauley River with the prominent Summersville Dam in the background.

On Friday, May 20, 2022, the weather was nearly ideal.

Eric, Miles, and I decided to venture down to the river for our activation.

We knew that it would compromise our signals to some degree setting up at the base of the Summersville Dam instead near the top, but how can you pass up scenery like this–?

The banks of the river were very rocky and there wasn’t a lot of space for Eric and I to separate our stations, so we knew our signals might interfere with each other.

Eric and Miles setting up.

Eric set up his trusty 31′ Jackite pole which supports a 28.5 vertical wire–the entire setup is attached to his folding chair. FYI: Eric tells me he’ll do a little write-up here on QRPer.com detailing his antenna setup in the near future.

You can barely see it in the photo above, but I deployed my Tufteln Random Wire antenna which I have configured with a 31′ radiator and one 17′ counterpoise. Continue reading Pairing the Elecraft KX2 and Tufteln Random Wire at Gauley River National Recreation Area

Reunited with the venerable Elecraft K1 at Hawk’s Nest State Park

As you might have guessed, I’m a bit of a QRP radio addict.

Over the years, I’ve owned and sold quite a few rigs; there are some models that gave me instant seller’s remorse.

In the past, I sold good QRP radios to buy “better” ones: transceivers that had a more compact form factor, better feature set, better battery management, or other desirable updates/upgrades.

Boomerang!

In almost every case when I experienced seller’s remorse, that particular model of radio has eventually found its way back into my field kit.

A few examples:

  • I sold my original Yaesu FT-817 to purchase an Elecraft KX1. In 2020 I purchased a used FT-817ND then the following year a second FT-817ND for full duplex satellite work.
  • I sold my Elecraft KX1 to help fund the purchase of the Elecraft KX2. I purchased another KX1 in 2020.
  • I sold my Elecraft K2/100 to fund the purchase of my Elecraft KXPA100. I don’t regret purchasing the KXPA100 in the slightest (even though I so rarely use it), but I do regret selling not one, but two K2s over the years! I’ll snap one up if I find a good deal.

I also sold my Elecraft K1 to help fund the purchase of my Elecraft KX3 in 2013.

At the time, the seller’s remorse wasn’t immediate because the KX3 was such a revolutionary portable radio in almost every respect. The K1 seemed so limited in comparison.

Still, since I started doing CW POTA and SOTA activations, I’ve been keeping an eye out for a good deal on another 4 band/ATU Elecraft K1.

Why does the K1 have appeal when I have so many “superior” radios at my disposal–?

Good question! I reckon I just like it.

(Image via WD8RIF)

The K1 feels more like an analog radio rather than a digital one; no doubt, this is due to its VFO’s limited range. It’s more akin to an analog radio with a digital frequency display.

The K1 is also super compact for a radio with a traditional tabletop form factor. The menus and features take a bit of time to learn–they’re cleverly implemented, but you definitely need an owner’s manual or cheat sheet to master them.

The K1 is not general coverage; it can only be configured to operate on a maximum of four CW bands. It does have an internal ATU option, but I don’t think it’s on par with the KX-series internal ATUs in terms of matching range. It works well with a variety of field antennas, though!

The K1 does have a very low noise floor and wonderful audio. Those are perhaps the two things I love most about it.

Hawks Nest State Park (K-1813)

During my West Virginia POTA expedition with Eric (WD8RIF), Miles (KD8KNC), and Theo (The “Great Warg”) dog we hit  Hawk’s Nest State Park on Friday, May 20, 2022; this was our second park of the day (New River Gorge was our first).

En route to the site, Eric suggested I use his Elecraft K1 travel kit during this activation and I quickly accepted the offer!

I used everything in Eric’s Kit save the antenna.

Photo courtesy of WD8RIF.com

Instead, I paired the K1 with the homemade 40M End-Fed Half-Wave MW0SAW kindly sent me.

I also used a 50′ of feedline so that I could move the antenna as far away as possible from the picnic shelter Eric and I would both be using during the activation.

The long feedline also made it possible to set up the antenna in a way that it wouldn’t interfere with any park guests who might walk by.

Gear:

On the Air

The separation/distance from Eric’s Tri-Bander antenna worked a charm: there was very little interference between our two stations.

I started the activation by calling CQ POTA on 20 meters. Funny: I actually thought I was on 40 meters; the K1 display (much like that of the KX1) only shows the last three digits of the frequency display; when I saw “61.1” I assumed “7061.1” but of course it was actually 14061.1. I realized this as I later changed meter bands.

Although the propagation forecast was pretty dismal, the EFHW performed very well.

Within 18 minutes, I logged 16 hunters (including WD8RIF some 20 feet away).

I then moved to the 40 meter band (so Eric could move to 20) and worked an additional six stations in six minutes!

The final contact was both an HF and eyeball QSO with WD8RIF. I got that on video–very much a fun first for me!

QSO Map

Here’s what my five watts into an end-fed half-wave looked like on a QSO Map:

Activation video

Here’s my real-time, real-life video of the entire activation with WD8RIF. I include a bit about Eric’s station and also his QRPguys Tri-Bander antenna after I go QRT. As with all of my videos, there are no ads and I don’t edit out any of the activation:

Click here to view on YouTube.

WD8RIF’s report

Make sure to check out Eric’s field report which includes details about his KX3 set-up that you’ll see in the video above.

Thank you!

We spotted this little guy on a hike after completing the Hawks Nest activation.

Thank you for joining me (and Eric, Miles, & Theo) on this POTA activation.

Although detailed field reports take a few hours to write-up and publish (along with activation videos), I truly enjoy the process. It gives me a chance to re-live an activation and share the whole experience with kindred spirits. This was such a fun activation.

Of course, I’d also like to send a special thanks to those of you who have been supporting the site and channel through Patreon and the Coffee Fund. While certainly not a requirement as my content will always be free, I really appreciate the support.

Oh, and if you have a four band Elecraft K1 with ATU you’d like to part with? Get in touch with me! 🙂

Cheers & 72/73,

Thomas (K4SWL)

New River Gorge: Pairing the Tufteln 9:1 Random Wire with the Elecraft KX2

When Eric (WD8RIF) and I hatched our plan to do a mini POTA expedition in West Virginia, there was one site I wanted to activate more than any other: New River Gorge National Park.

More specifically, I wanted to activate the park by way of the scenic one-way road that starts near the New River Gorge Visitor’s Center and descends down to the Tunney Hunsaker Bridge (the “old” New River bridge).

Why? Because in December 2016 during the National Parks On The Air (NPOTA) program, I passed through West Virginia and activated some very rare parks on my way to a multi-day park run with Eric in Ohio. I fully intended to activate the New River at this very spot (underneath the “new” New River Bridge) after hearing how amazing the drive was from Eric.

Unfortunately, I happened to time my trip through West Virginia on a day when we received about an inch of snow. Even though (at the time) I was driving a Toyota minivan with nearly bald tires, the snow didn’t pose a problem at any other site, save this one. I had to change my plans and activate the New River in a spot where the access had less elevation change on a narrow snow-covered road. With my Subaru, this wouldn’t have been an obstacle in the slightest.

I was looking forward to going back to this site and was very pleased to see that Eric and his son, Miles, had already planned this trip in the draft itinerary!

New River Gorge National Park (K-0696)

On the morning of May 20, 2022, Eric, Miles, Theo the dog, and I left our campsite at Babcock State Forest and made our way to the New River Gorge Visitor’s center next to the New River Bridge.

If you’re ever in this area, I’d highly recommend checking out this visitor’s center as it has some well-designed exhibits detailing the impressive engineering that went into the construction of the New River Gorge Bridge.

There are also some fantastic views from the visitor’s center and from its short gorge overlook trail.

From the trail overlook at the visitor’s center we could see the spot where we planned to activate near the Tunney Hunsaker Bridge deep in the gorge (see photo above).

The drive into the gorge was quite scenic with a number of spots to park and take in the enormity of the New River bridge.At the bottom of the gorge, the view was pretty spectacular as well!

My partners in crime: Eric, Miles and “The Great Warg” (Theo the dog)

Tufteln 9:1 EFRW (End-Fed Random Wire) antenna

I mentioned in a previous post that long-time QRPer.com reader and supporter, Joshua (KO4AWH), runs an Etsy store with a wide range of products primarily designed for field operators.

Besides the Elecraft T1 protection case I mentioned previously, he also sent a couple of his QRP field antennas for testing and evaluation (to be clear: free of charge). Thanks, Joshua!

I decided to break in his EFRW QRP Antenna Long Wire at New River Gorge. Since Eric and I would be operating pretty close to one another, I wanted to use a random wire antenna that would give me a bit of frequency agility to hop around and avoid harmonically-related bands Eric might be using. This Tufteln antenna fit the bill! Continue reading New River Gorge: Pairing the Tufteln 9:1 Random Wire with the Elecraft KX2

POTA activation with WD8RIF at Beury Mountain WMA in West Virginia!

Grist Mill at Babcock State Forest Headquarters

This year, instead of attending the 2022 Hamvention, my buddy Eric (WD8RIF) and I hatched another plan.

Eric and I–along with his son Miles (KD8KNC) and sometimes Mike (K8RAT)–attend Hamvention every year it’s held.  We’d planned to do the same this year especially with it being the first in-person Hamvention since 2019.

As Hamvention approached though, we both had a lot going on in our lives and decided to save a little money, a lot of travel time, and meet in West Virginia for several days of POTA activations and just hanging out. I explain a bit more about the decision in this previous post.

We camped three nights and performed activations together for four days. It was an absolute blast!

Setting up camp

On the afternoon of Thursday, May 19, 2022, we (Eric, Miles, Theo the dog, and I) met at Babcock State Park and set up our tents at the adjoining campsites we’d reserved.

Babcock would serve as our home base for the entire WV POTA expedition.

As a bonus, Babcock State Park (K-1798) is also a POTA entity, so we activated it in the late shift after dinner each evening.

As soon as the tents were deployed that afternoon, we all jumped into Mile’s Subaru with our radio gear and hit our first park!

Beury Mountain Wildlife Management Area (K-7036)

Beury Mountain WMA is so close to Babcock State Park, I have to assume they share a common boundary.

The drive to the site was very brief but as with many WMAs and Game Lands, the entry road isn’t paved and there are rough patches you might need to avoid. Of course, Mile’s Subaru was way over-engineered for this task! Continue reading POTA activation with WD8RIF at Beury Mountain WMA in West Virginia!