Tag Archives: Mountains to Sea State Trail (K-8313)

Pairing the KX2 & AX1 for my first POTA activation in weeks!

On Thursday, February 1, 2024, I managed my first POTA activation in weeks.

As I mentioned here on QRPer, January was a crazy month. Not only did I lack the time to activate parks, but I also wasn’t in the right frame of mind to make activation videos.

However, on February 1, things were looking up, and a nice little POTA activation was just what the doctor ordered!

I grabbed my KX2/AX1 pack as I headed out the door.

On the way into Asheville, I stopped by the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway (K-3378)–my go-to site for convenient activations. I had a one-hour window of time to fit in an activation.

BRP & MST Two-Fer

You might recall that in my last field report (from January 5, 2024), Hazel and I hiked the Mountains-to-Sea Trail (K-8313) and found a trailside spot that was also within the Blue Ridge Parkway (K-3378) property boundary. The activation counted as a two-fer!

You don’t have to hike the Mountains-to-Sea Trail (MST), however, in order to activate it and the parkway at the same time.

In the activation video, below, I show where one of the picnic tables at the Folk Art Center is close enough to where the MST passes that it counts. Makes for an easy drive-up, two-fer activation.

New Tufteln Cover!

A few weeks ago, my friend Joshua (N5FY) sent me a new protective cover for my Elecraft KX2. He’s now made these covers a part of his product line at Tufteln.com.

Like my Tufteln KX1 cover, the KX2 cover locks onto the front of the radio with rare earth magnets. It only requires that you replace the stock screws around the KX2 display with the ones Joshua provides. His replacement screws have a slightly higher profile, which allows the cover to attach magnetically.

What I love about Joshua’s covers is that they do a brilliant job of protecting all of the controls of the KX2 without taking up as much space as, say, the stock clear cover that came with my side panels.

Also, it fits the KX2 perfectly whether you have side panels or not!

Setting up

Of course, the glory of the KX2/AX1 combo is that it takes almost no time to set up in the field.

Within a minute or two, my gear was deployed, and I was on the air seeking a clear frequency.

I opted to use my Begali Traveler (over my KXPD2) key since it was also packed in my GoRuck GR1.

Gear:

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On The Air

On this occasion, I decided to work the lower bands of the Elecraft AX1 antenna.

I started calling CQ POTA on 40 meters and, fortunately, the band was alive. Continue reading Pairing the KX2 & AX1 for my first POTA activation in weeks!

Exploring the Mountains-to-Sea Trail: QRP POTA with Hazel and a New KX1 Kneeboard!

On Friday, January 5, 2024, I looked at Hazel and could tell that, despite the chilly temps, she wanted to go on a late afternoon hike. I did, too, for that matter and why not combine the hike with a POTA activation?

In addition, we were expecting a winter storm to move in that night, so hitting the trail in advance of the snow and ice seemed to make sense.

Before I could get my boots on, Hazel was waiting by the car door to jump in.

Mountains-to-Sea State Trail (K-8313)

One of the closest long trails near my QTH is the Mountains-to-Sea Trail (MST).

At 1175 miles long, the MST stretches from the Outer Banks of North Carolina to the Great Smoky Mountains (see map above).

I can actually hike to the MST from my QTH, but it takes a good hour and half to do so. It’s much easier to drive to one of the numerous nearby trailheads, and that’s exactly what Hazel and I did. I drove to one of my favorite Blue Ridge Parkway POTA spots where a short manway connects to the MST.

Hazel was so excited to hit the trail. (I was, too.)

At the end of the day (because, it was nearing the end of the day) we couldn’t hike for long if I planned to also complete a POTA activation. Sunset was at 5:29 PM local and I didn’t want to pack up and hike back in the dark.

That said, if I needed to hike back in the dark, I could have because I never go on a POTA or SOTA activation without a fully-charged headlamp. FYI: I was packing a NiteCore NU25 (affiliate link).

I started my action camera and captured the last bit of hike before Hazel and I found a great spot to set up. There were enough trees around to deploy a 40 meter EFHW and a relatively flat spot to set up my Helinox chair and KX1 station.

Since much of this section of the MST is on the Blue Ridge Parkway grounds, I checked quickly to make sure my operating site would qualify as a two-fer with K-3378.

I opened the Parceled App on my iPhone to confirm that my site was indeed on Blue Ridge Parkway property..

A KX1 Kneeboard!

If I’m being perfectly honest, I had an ulterior motive with this trailside activation: I was eager to finally put my new KX1 kneeboard into use! Continue reading Exploring the Mountains-to-Sea Trail: QRP POTA with Hazel and a New KX1 Kneeboard!