Tag Archives: Nova Scotia

KO4WFP: The Final Fling at Grand-Pré National Historic Site

Many thanks to Teri (KO4WFP) for the following guest post:

The Final Fling at Grand-Pré National Historic Site

by Teri (KO4WFP)

If you read my four previous articles, you know my family and I went to Nova Scotia for eight days. At this point in my trip, I had three successful POTA activations and three unsuccessful. Tomorrow, July 6th, my family and I would head back to the States. I hankered to attempt one more QRP POTA activation before that happened.

For our final day in Nova Scotia, we opted to drive back from our Airbnb in Middleton on Highway 101 to Halifax. The night before, I looked at the POTA website for parks along the route to activate. I had learned to avoid urban parks if possible due to the noise level and limited space for the EFRW antenna which I preferred to deploy. One park seemed to fit the bill – Grand-Pré National Historic Site (VE-4839).

The morning of Wednesday, July 5th was overcast and rainy. Despite the dreary and less-than-optimal conditions, we drove toward Grand Pré. To buy myself a bit more time in hope the showers might abate, we grabbed a bite to eat at the Just Us Roastery and Café outside the town.

After a quick breakfast, we arrived at the site around 12:45 PM. Given the rainy conditions, I would need to stay in the car. Too bad because the site looked inviting and I would have enjoyed setting up on my jacket like I did at Fort Anne.

The limitation of operating out of my car meant staying close to the parking lot. The trees in the main parking lot were all shorter than I preferred. And, as I learned at other sites, the main lot didn’t give me any buffer from people walking into my antennas. However, at one side of the property was a separate small lot for two or three RVs. Two trees on the far side of it were tall enough for my antenna and, better yet, no one would be walking into them. We pulled into this lot parking on the grass at its edge so I would be out of the way of any RVs. Continue reading KO4WFP: The Final Fling at Grand-Pré National Historic Site

KO4WFP: Two Parks in One Day – Fort Anne NHS and Lake Midway Provincial Park

Many thanks to Teri (KO4WFP) for the following guest post:

Two Parks in One Day – Fort Anne NHS and Lake Midway Provincial Park

by Teri (KO4WFP)

If you read my three previous articles, you know my family and I went to Nova Scotia for eight days. You also know that the first three parks I attempted to activate in Nova Scotia provided challenges galore! I was unable to secure 10 contacts at either the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site (VE-4841) or the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site (VE-4826). However, the third time was the charm and I secured 10 contacts (just barely) at Cape Breton Highlands National Park (VE-0013).

Feeling confident after the Cape Breton activation, I decided to attempt two QRP POTA activations in one day. I already planned to activate Fort Anne National Historic Site (VE-4832) in the morning. My husband and son had a whale-watching trip scheduled for the afternoon giving me three hours to kill. What better way to pass the time than with POTA! (They did ask if I wanted to accompany them; however, there was no contest in choosing between being on a boat for three hours, whales or not, and an activation!) I chose to attempt activating Lake Midway Provincial Park (VE-0922), a fifteen-minute drive from their launching point.

The day prior it rained nearly all day. This was not typical summer weather for Nova Scotia. In fact, one of the Canadian airport security officers, while searching my backpack and ham equipment, apologized for the rainy weather we experienced during our visit. The forecast for Tuesday, July 4th, called for possible showers in the morning but clear weather for the afternoon.

Source: hamradiofornontechies.com

We arrived at Fort Anne around 9:45 AM. The earthen-walled fort was built to protect the harbor of Annapolis Royal. A museum exists in the renovated Officer’s Quarters on the site, though I did not have time to visit it.

There were no trees near the visitor center but I spied trees past an earthen embankment with an opening in it and headed in that direction. As I walked through the opening at the base of the embankment, an bowl-like area among the trees with picnic tables appeared. At the top of it’s far side was what I considered the ideal tree for my activation. I would set up on top of the bowl’s far side embankment wall and use that tree for my EFRW antenna.

It didn’t take me long to snag the branch I wanted and put up my antenna. Now how to deal with the feed-end and counterpoise? Continue reading KO4WFP: Two Parks in One Day – Fort Anne NHS and Lake Midway Provincial Park

KO4WFP: Part Two of Teri’s Nova Scotia POTA adventure!

Many thanks to Teri (KO4WFP) for the following guest post:

Getting My Butt Kicked in POTA Yet Again

by Teri (KO4WFP)

If you read my previous article, you know my family and I went to Nova Scotia for a week. You also know that my first attempt at an activation in Canada did not go well. So, being a glutton for punishment, I attempted a second activation, this time at the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site (VE-4826) on Thursday, June 29th.

I learned several “takeaways” from the failed activation at the Halifax Citadel:

  1. look at the site in advance if at all possible,
  2. remember to check band conditions BEFORE the activation, and
  3. take all photos as the activation progresses because weather conditions may prevent you from doing so afterward.

After we departed the Halifax Citadel, we drove northward toward Baddeck, the town in which our next Airbnb and the Alexander Graham Bell site is located. Rain dogged us on and off until we reached Cape Breton Island. On the way, we stopped at Murphy’s in Truro for some of the best fish and chips and then The Farmer’s Daughter for ice cream, the consolation prize for my failed activation.

Being mindful of my first takeaway, we stopped into the Alexander Graham Bell site for reconnaissance before heading to our Airbnb. To my delight, there were trees present in the parking lot, though not many open branches over which to easily throw my line. I left for our Airbnb with the sun coming out from behind the clouds and an optimistic feeling about the next day’s activation.

My second takeaway from the Halifax Citadel was to check band conditions before the activation. Well, Thursday morning’s report was not promising. I didn’t see any mention of a geomagnetic storm (though one was forecast for Saturday), but the numbers were not good. What I didn’t realize was they were actually horrible.

Source: hamradiofornontechies.com

We arrived around 10:10 AM and I began setting up the EFRW. It took me several throws to get the line in the chosen tree. Kudos to Thomas for recommending the arborist line. It never got stuck on any of the little twigs over which my line ran. The antenna was not as elevated as I would have liked but it was better than at yesterday’s activation and would work well enough. Continue reading KO4WFP: Part Two of Teri’s Nova Scotia POTA adventure!

KO4WFP: A Difficult But Productive Learning Experience at the Halifax Citadel (VE-4841)

Many thanks to Teri (KO4WFP) for the following guest post:

A Difficult But Productive Learning Experience at the Halifax Citadel (VE-4841)

by Teri (KO4WFP)

Life is full of interesting experiences and my attempted activation at the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site (VE-4841) proved to be one of them.

Source: Halifax Military Heritage

For those of you unfamiliar, my family and I planned a trip to Halifax, Nova Scotia this summer. I decided while there, I would activate six or seven parks. I had never attempted such a feat in a foreign country under the limitations of what I could carry on a flight and using a rental car with which I would be unfamiliar. The previous month and a half, I acquired equipment and skills to (at least in theory) adequately prepare for this undertaking.

The morning of Wednesday, June 28th, we headed to the Citadel.

We arrived in Canada the previous day much later than the anticipated arrival time so there was no time to check out the site beforehand. Before my trip, I queried a Canadian op who had activated the site and his response was helpful though it did give me pause since I would not have as hefty a vertical as he uses for his activations.

The weather forecast was not promising. The previous night, fog pervaded the drive from the airport to our airbnb. It felt like we had indeed landed in a foreign land. Gone were the live oaks and Spanish moss replaced with firs and what looked like aspens or birch trees. The day’s forecast called for more of the same – fog with a chance of showers later in the day.

My husband and son decided to check out the fortifications while I did my activation. I dropped them off at the main gate and headed to a spot on the side closer to the bay which I hoped would be a better spot for my signals to reach into the United States.

I decided to start with the AX1 on 20 meters, figuring I’d reach more ops on that band and knock out the activation in short order. Also, the counterpoise for 20 meters is shorter than the one for 40 meters and I didn’t have much room to play with at the site.

Boy, was I wrong about a quick activation! First of all, I had to figure out how to support the antenna without it blowing over in the wind. My Subaru Crosstrek back home has rails on the top to which I can bungee my gorillapod. No such luck with the Ford SUV we were assigned. Continue reading KO4WFP: A Difficult But Productive Learning Experience at the Halifax Citadel (VE-4841)

John’s trip and POTA field reports from Nova Scotia

Many thanks to John (VE3IPS) who shares the following guest post:

Nova Scotia POTA After-Action Report

by John VE3IPS

We had planned a vacation trip out to Nova Scotia to get our lobster fix. As I always do, I prep my radio with local repeaters, look up local radio clubs, museums and check the POTA and SOTA map for locations to operate from.

I noticed that several park locations had not been activated. Thus I had an opportunity to be first activator and to get some much needed Nova Scotia parks in the Hunters logs. I printed the map and noted the park identifiers. I decided to just activate the parks that were never activated. I could have worked more parks but you have sights to see and can’t be behind the mic all the time. My antenna was prepped to be rapidly deployed in a few minutes and torn down accordingly.

I also was able to attend the Halifax ARC Hamfest on June 4, 2022.

So a vacation with ham radio elements to keep me excited with some objectives in mind.

We did visit Peggy’s Cove, Burnt Coat Head to watch the tides in the Bay of Fundy, local wineries, Lunenburg (a movie shoot was underway), the Halifax Citadel and of course eat lobster every day. I spent over $200 in gas as we did a lot of driving around (gas is just over $8 a gallon CAD), retail tax at 15% and prices for food and restaurants up by 30%. Nova Scotia is a bit more expensive than other cities.

I decided to bring my Icom 705 with a LifePO4 battery to offer 10 watts instead of the FT-891 or FT-818. Why? Because it offered a voice memory for calling CQ Parks, built in SWR meter and better IF filters over the FT-818. I wanted to cover the Marine and VHF/UHF repeaters as well and that ruled out the FT-891.

Due to the Kleenex box form factor I ended up using a Lowe Pro Omni Trekker camera bag to use as a carry on. This included a Nikon V1 camera and Binoculars.

Continue reading John’s trip and POTA field reports from Nova Scotia