Tag Archives: Parks On The Air (POTA)

The New Xiegu X6200: First POTA activation in CW with a production unit!

If you’re following the new Xiegu X6200 closely, you might recall that I took a prototype version of the radio out two weeks ago for a POTA activation. Propagation was so challenging–as in, a complete radio blackout in North America due to an X-Class flare–it took about 90 minutes of calling CQ POTA to snag the ten needed for a valid park activation.

I had planned to post the activation video on YouTube, but learned shortly after the activation that this particular unit was a proper prototype instead of an early production run radio. This is a detail I misunderstood prior to the unit shipping.

I only shared the 2+ hour video to Patreon supporters, but not on my YouTube channel for this reason.

Production

This past weekend, I received a second Xiegu X6200: this time, a production run unit!

Again, this unit was supplied to me on loan by Xiegu via their distributor, Radioddity who (in the spirit of full disclosure) is also a QRPer.com sponsor and affiliate.

[Note: Also check out Steve’s channel if interested in the X6200. He’s been testing power output, OS accessibility, and other aspects on the bench.]

POTA Time!

Two days ago–Tuesday, June 11, 2024–I took the new X6200 out for a POTA activation on the Blue Ridge Parkway (US-3378).

I had a couple of hours that morning to fit in the activation, including a round trip from the QTH. The best site for a quick activation was the Folk Art Center picnic area.

Thanks to the early hour, there was no competition for picnic tables.

I decided to pair my PackTenna 9:1 End-Fed Random Wire with the X6200. This provided a chance to test the ATU with a readily matchable antenna (in the future, I’ll make it sweat a bit more by using a transformerless random wire antenna).

This production run X6200 has the same firmware (version 1.0) as the prototype, but the hardware has received noticeable updates. I spotted two changes–one cosmetic and one that had a positive impact on performance–almost immediately.

In the activation video below, you’ll see that I spent a few minutes doing an overview of the X6200.

One of the first things I did was set up the X6200 for CW Message memory operation. I demonstrated (after a bit of head-scratching) how to input the CW message using the X6200’s built-in on-screen keyboard. (If the CW Message Memories confuse you, check out the short primer in my previous post).

Gear:

Note: All Amazon, CW Morse, ABR, Chelegance, eBay, and Radioddity links are affiliate links that support QRPer.com at no cost to you.

On The Air

The last time I hopped on the air with the X6200, it was proper work making any contacts. It was a struggle and it wasn’t the X6200’s fault. It was our local star!

I decided to start on 40 meters since it was still mid-morning. After calling “QRL?” and hearing no reply, I pressed the second CW message memory button where I loaded “CQ POTA DE K4SWL” and the radio started transmitting. Continue reading The New Xiegu X6200: First POTA activation in CW with a production unit!

The POTA Babe Reaches the Halfway Mark!

by Teri (KO4WFP)

It is said that all good things must come to an end and a POTA trip is no exception. Packing up camp at Reed Bingham State Park the morning of June 3rd was an easy endeavor.  Daisy and I were soon headed toward Savannah with a POTA planned along the way at Alapaha River Wildlife Management Area (US-7881). We passed through the communities of Tifton and Ocilla, Georgia.

As one travels through Georgia, you see a variety of crops along the road – cotton, peanuts, corn, pecans, blueberries, soybeans, etc. – as well as cattle in fields and poultry houses. As I worked my way toward Alapaha River Wildlife Management Area (WMA), I came across a processing plant for peanuts in Tifton, Georgia.

Peanuts are big business in Georgia. According to the Georgia Peanut Commission, the state of Georgia produces 52% of the peanuts grown in the United States which translated to 1.45 million tons in 2022. That is a boatload of peanuts!

Peanuts are planted April through June and then harvested about five months later in the fall. One fact I did not know is there is a “peanut belt” in Georgia, an area south of the fall line but omitting the coastal counties, where peanuts are planted in the state. I was driving inside this belt.

Peanut crop in the field. source: georgiagrown.com
source: Georgia Peanut Commission

Nuts aside, it wasn’t long before Daisy and I arrived at Alapaha River WMA. This WMA opened in 2016 and contains nearly 7,000 acres. According to a Georgia DNR article, the site has an estimated 2,000 gopher tortoises, the most for any state-owned tract of land in Georgia. This is not surprising given the density of sandhills on the property, a habitat in which gopher tortoises thrive.

The dirt road into the property was nicely groomed. I drove past areas of young planted pines as well as more mature pine stands. However, neither of these areas were conducive to an activation, partially because the trees offered no shade and partially because the branches were either too low or too high for me to install my EFRW antenna.

Entrance into Alapaha River WMA
Young pines

I continued on Jacks Creek Road and headed toward a dove field (the brown area on the map down below) at the point the road dead-ends. I  figured there may be trees along the edge of the field offering what I needed. I turned left onto North Bugle Trail and, off to the right hand side, saw an area with both shade and trees I could use.

source: Georgia Department of Natural Resources
The shady area for my activation QTH
Trees with good branch options

After donning my blaze orange attire and installing the Tufteln EFRW, I attached the new hitch system to the hubcap of one of Kai’s front wheels and the rope to the clip on Daisy’s harness so she could make herself at home along with me in the shade.

While checking out the shady area, I noticed several things – dandelions with their sunny, yellow faces and animal tracks in the sand. The set of tracks for deer were easy to identify. However, another set, not so. I think the second set belonged to a raccoon.

Deer track
Raccoon track (I think)

Today’s activation would be short as I had a three-hour drive ahead of me and needed to be home in time for my son’s evening driving class. (Yes, we’ve reached that stage of life in the POTA Babe household.) In 45 minutes, I logged 19 contacts including one park-to-park with Charles AB9CA at US-2275 and a QSO with Ronald N7WPO in Washington state! That QSO on 5 watts and a wire is part of the magic I mentioned near the end of my previous article.

QSO Map for Alapha River WMA Activation

During the activation I had watched the sun creep closer and closer to Daisy and me. When the time reached 11:15 AM, we were nearly out of shade. It was time to call QRT and head home.

This overnight POTA trip turned out well. I learned more about my camping set-up and the beautiful state in which I live. I had time to do what I love – ham radio in the outdoors. And, with these three activations, I now have 30 parks toward my 60 new-to-me park activation goal for 2024!

I am halfway there.

Thank you to all of you who have supported me thus far. However, my journey is far from over and the fun will continue. Where will I activate next as I work toward 30 more new parks? Stay tuned…

Equipment Used

[Note: All Amazon, CW Morse, ABR, Chelegance, eBay, and Radioddity links are affiliate links that support QRPer.com at no cost to you.]

From Hamvention to History: A POTA Excursion with friends through Indiana’s Past

You might recall that my friends Eric (WD8RIF), Miles (KD8KNC), Brian (K3ES), Kyle (AA0Z), Charlie (NJ7V), and Joshua (N5FY) all played hooky on the final day of the 2024 Hamvention (Sunday, May 19) and instead activated a couple of POTA sites.

I wrote a short field report about our first activation at Pater State Wildlife Area (US-9492). It was a lot of fun despite the rough bands.

Our next stop was Whitewater Canal State Historic Site in Metamora, Indiana, about an hour’s drive from the first park.

Only four of us continued to the next park; Kyle and Charlie needed to head to the airport, and Joshua needed to start his drive back to Georgia.

Whitewater Canal State Historic Site (US-6977)

I was excited about visiting Whitewater Canal because it would be my first official POTA activation in Indiana.

We arrived around 1:00 PM and opted to grab lunch at a nearby pizzeria before activating.

Around 2:00 PM, we grabbed our gear from the car and walked across the road to the park grounds.

The Whitewater Canal State Historic Site offers a glimpse into the 19th-century canal era.

Built between 1836 and 1847, the Whitewater Canal was a 76-mile waterway that connected the Ohio River to Hagerstown, facilitating the transport of goods and agricultural products.

This engineering feat played a vital role in the economic development of the region, contributing to the growth of towns and industries along its path.

Today, the preserved section of the canal, along with the historic grist mill and other structures, stands as a testament to Indiana’s rich industrial and transportation heritage.

I’ve always been fond of railroads and canals, so this site was brilliant as it featured both running parallel to each other!

Eric, Brian, and I (Miles didn’t activate) were careful to set up within the actual park boundaries.

In this case, it was a little difficult to determine the exact boundaries because the town and park blend together.

I used the Parceled app on my phone to confirm our location.

Eric set up his Elecraft KH1 station at a picnic table under a large tree.

Brian set up his KX2 on a covered bench next to Eric, using his Elecraft AX1 antenna mounted on a clamp secured to the bench.

Brian’s site was super stealthy behind the sign–since he operated with earphones, you couldn’t hear him and barely could see him!

Can you spot K3ES in this photo?

I wanted to put some space between my station and theirs, so I set up under the shade of a tree (it was blazing hot that Sunday) and deployed my Helinox camping chair.

Local ducks enjoying the shade–I picked a different tree.

I then deployed my Chelegance MC-750 vertical for 20-meter operation since Brian and Eric were on other bands.

I connected the MC-750 to my Elecraft KX2, which I mounted on my kneeboard, and was ready to play radio! My hope was that band conditions would be decent. Continue reading From Hamvention to History: A POTA Excursion with friends through Indiana’s Past

Overnight at Reed Bingham State Park for the POTA Babe

After a valid activation and exploration of Bullard Creek Wildlife Management Area, Daisy and I headed to Reed Bingham State Park (US-2195), roughly a two hour drive. Along the way, we passed a huge lumber mill and drove through the communities of Douglas, Nashville, and Willacoochee.

Lumber mill
Train Depot in Willacoochee, Georgia

Courthouse in Nashville, Georgia

Reed Bingham State Park, located in southwest Georgia, is named after Amos Reed Bingham, who envisioned a dam on the Little River to provide electricity to the rural community. Even though the flow of the river was not sufficient for that purpose, Colquit and Cook counties purchased 1,600 acres along the Little River and deeded the land to the state of Georgia, creating the park. A 400-acre lake was created in 1970 by the current dam and provides recreational opportunities for park visitors.

source: Google maps
The lake at Reed Bingham State Park
Overflow from the dam into the Little River

Besides working toward my 60 new-to-me park activation goal, the trip to Reed Bingham served another purpose – refining my camping set-up and routines before my twelve-day POTA trip this summer. I made quite a few notes about equipment that would make camping life better and realized I need to think through where to keep certain items so I can lay my hands on them more easily and quickly.

The tent at the campsite

A new item I purchased for hiking and camping  trips is a hitching system for Daisy. I want her to be able to “free range” while I set up camp, make meals, or visit the bathhouse but still be contained. Ruffwear makes a hitch system with a daisy-chain (aptly named, don’t you think?) on one end and a kermantle rope on the other.

I ran the daisy-chain around a large pine and then, as there was not another tree close enough, the kermantle rope to the rails on the top of Kai. A large carabiner slides up and down the rope and Daisy’s six-foot leash attaches it to a clip on the back of her new harness. The system worked well and eliminated her getting tangled in a lead line while in camp.

After setting up camp and eating supper, it was time to fit in an activation. There were two trees near the campsite – a large oak and shorter-than-usual pine tree. I opted for the pine tree as it was closer to my tent. (I longed to sit in the comfort of my tent on my Thermarest chair for the activation.) Continue reading Overnight at Reed Bingham State Park for the POTA Babe

Overcoming Band Conditions: A Challenging (But Rewarding) POTA Activation at Scioto Trail State Park!

On the morning of Wednesday, May 15, 2024, I woke up, grabbed breakfast, and headed to Strouds Run State Park in Athens, Ohio. (You can read about that activation in my previous field report.)

Once I returned to Eric’s (WD8RIF) QTH, Eric, his son Miles (KD8KNC), and I packed up the car for the drive to Dayton—roughly 2.5 hours from Athens. En route, we decided on an activation of Scioto Trail State Park (US-1990) which also happens to be a two-fer with Scioto Trail State Forest (US-5448).

I’d hoped band conditions would remain as favorable as they were in the morning, but the sun had other plans! (Indeed, this would become a recurring theme throughout the following week.)

Scioto Trail State Park (US-1990) and Forest (US-5448)

We arrived at Scioto Trail around 2:00 PM, under scattered clouds and after passing through some rain. We hoped the weather would hold!

I’d never been to Scioto before and was pleased to see a small island on the lake accessible by a footbridge.  It had a gazebo, perfect for a POTA station.

Reunited

A highlight of this trip was giving Eric a chance to operate my Index Labs QRP Plus. Eric had owned one for 13 years as his first field radio. In fact, as I’ve mentioned before, when I first met Eric in 1997, it was while he was operating a QRP Plus during FYBO!

Since the QRP Plus is better suited for tabletop use, I recommended Eric set up in the gazebo.

I provided my Chelegance MC-750 for him to operate on 20M.

POTA in the Shade

I set up under a tree at the edge of the island—as far from Eric as possible to minimize interference. In reality, the island is small, so I was only about 15 meters away—not ideal!

The tree offered some shade and potential rain protection. I deployed my Helinox Chair, my “no-transformer, no feedline” Tufteln random wire antenna, the Elecraft KX2, and my Tufteln/N0RNM kneeboard.

When I turned on the radio, I could hear Eric’s signal bleeding through on 30 meters (a band I chose to avoid harmonic interference with 20M).

The KX2 is sensitive, so this wasn’t unexpected. Eric never experienced interference from my station, likely due to the QRP Plus’s less sensitive receiver.

Gear:

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On the air

This turned out to be an activation where I’d really put my KX2 ATU to work! Continue reading Overcoming Band Conditions: A Challenging (But Rewarding) POTA Activation at Scioto Trail State Park!

The POTA Babe Embarks on an Overnighter

by Teri (KO4WFP)

It is summer break and I’m getting stir crazy. Earlier this year, I scheduled an overnight trip to Reed Bingham State Park. However, given the chaos of my personal life, it was necessary to reschedule the trip. The earliest weekend available was Sunday, June 2nd.  My son would be out of school for summer break and riding lessons would move to weekdays.

Sunday rolled around and this POTA Babe was ready to hit the road again. Out came the camping gear with a few tweaks. I ditched the DEET insect repellant replacing it with a 20% picaridin spray and added a Thermacell unit. I purchased a hitch system for Daisy as well as a harness to replace her collar. The North Face sleeping bag would stay home and, in its place, I’d use a Sea-to-Summit bag liner for the warmer night temperatures.

Gear – camping, ham radio, video
Food for the trip

With my gear loaded, Daisy and I hit the road a little after 8 AM. Before arriving at Reed Bingham State Park, I planned an activation at Bullard Creek Wildlife Management Area (US-3737). (Yes, I should just become the poster child for wildlife management areas as they’ve become my favorite place to activate in Georgia!)

The drive through rural Georgia was a pleasant one.

source: Google Maps

We passed through towns familiar to us (Pembroke, Claxton – the fruitcake capital of the world, and Reidsville) as well as new places like Daisy, Georgia. It was a pleasant trip and before I knew it, there we were, crossing the Altamaha River a stone’s throw from Bullard Creek Wildlife Management Area (WMA).

Actually, Apple Maps routed me to Bullard Creek itself and not the WMA. After a little sleuthing, we were headed in the correct direction and accessed the WMA via a back route. (I knew we were in the right place when I began seeing WMA boundary signs!)

Bullard Creek WMA consists of over 17,000 acres in two tracts along the Altamaha River. One can hunt as well as fish, view wildlife, and use the public shooting range. This WMA was among one of the nicer properties I visited so far.

Shooting range on site

Not far after entering the WMA, I found a clearing off the main road and decided to set up there. Present in the clearing were pine trees with branches low enough to reach with my arbor line. (I knew the WMAs allow wire antennas and figured Reed Bingham would as well so I left the Chelegance MC-750 at home.)

After donning my blaze orange vest and hat, I had the Tufteln EFRW in the tree, the coax attached, and was settled to begin.

The road beyond our clearing for the activation
Pines with lower branches
Daisy’s checks out the surrounding woods

Two things happened in short order. (Remember, ALWAYS expect the unexpected with POTA.) I couldn’t access the POTA site to spot myself due to variable cell service. My partner Glenn W4YES came to the rescue and spotted me on 30 meters. I worked a few callers and then…the sun came out. Literally. Continue reading The POTA Babe Embarks on an Overnighter

POTA Activation at Strouds Run State Park: A Rainy Morning and Ham Radio Memories!

On Tuesday morning, May 14, 2024, I hopped in my car and headed north to Athens, Ohio. It was in Athens, back in 1997, that my ham radio journey truly began, and where I met my friends Eric (WD8RIF) and Mike (K8RAT).

For over 14 years, Eric, his son Miles (KD8KNC), and I have made the annual pilgrimage to Hamvention and FDIM, with few interruptions. My routine is to drive to Athens, catch up with Eric and his wife, Vickie, stay overnight, and then head to Dayton the next day with Eric and Miles. I enjoy this because it breaks up my travels and usually allows for some POTA activating along the way.

This Wednesday morning, Eric had an appointment and a meeting, so our plan was to leave for Dayton around noon. This gave me the morning free to play radio!

Breakfast at Miller’s Chicken

I left the house around 8:00 AM with the goal of activating Strouds Run State Park, conveniently located near downtown Athens. But first, breakfast!

I try to avoid chain restaurants when traveling, preferring local spots. I was delighted to discover that Miller’s Chicken, an Athens institution, served breakfast. I had no idea!

Miller’s Chicken holds fond memories for me. When my wife was a graduate student at Ohio University, for a brief period of time, she lived within walking distance and we often ate there. She even acted in a student film shot at the restaurant!

Walking in, I realized it had been 23+ years since my last visit. I ordered a bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit with coffee as a group of students left, leaving me with the place almost to myself.

POTA at Strouds Run State Park (US-1994)

I arrived at the park around 9:15 AM. It had been raining all morning, so I sought cover under a picnic Shelter.  Eric, a frequent activator of Strouds Run, had told me where to find all of Strouds’ shelters.

Check out Eric’s standing on the park’s POTA page:

You can also read all of Eric’s hundreds of field reports on his website.

I found an empty shelter by the lakeshore (no surprise given the weather). I brought several radios with me on the Dayton trip: my Elecraft KX2, KH1, Index Labs QRP Plus, Venus SW-3B (always in the car), and my Yaesu FT-818.

Propagation has been a hot mess lately. I figured 40 meters and 20 meters would be the best bands to try, and the EFHW is resonant on both, eliminating the need for an antenna tuner.

Setup was easy, with trees near the shelter providing ideal suspension points for the EFHW.

(Note about audio: As I prepared this activation video, I discovered that my wireless mic wasn’t connected, so you won’t hear me when I walk away from the camera. My apologies! There’s also more wind noise than usual. However, you’ll hear plenty of waterfowl and other birds enjoying the park.)

Jeweler’s Bench Block

Only a couple of days prior, I received a Jeweler’s Bench Block that I purchased on Amazon.com (affiliate link). Several friends had recommended I pick up one to pair with my lightweight, portable keys that have embedded rare-earth magnets.

The key I paired with it was my BamaKey TP-III. You’ll hear me rave about this combo in the activation video.

It weighs 13.7 ounces and has a silicon base: I found that with the TP-III (which has a light action), it was rock-solid on the picnic table.

I wish I would have purchased one of these ages ago!

Gear:

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On The Air

I started calling CQ and, fortunately, hunters started replying! Continue reading POTA Activation at Strouds Run State Park: A Rainy Morning and Ham Radio Memories!

Xiegu X6200 Trial by Flare: Answering your questions and sharing my field notes

Update as of May 31, 2024: I’ve just learned that the prototype unit I used for this activation has been superseded by a production model Xiegu X6200. While many of my initial impressions remain valid, some of the bugs and quirks I noted have likely been addressed in the production model.

When I published this post, I was under the impression that this loaner unit was representative of the final production run. In light of this new information, I’ve removed the mention of some specific bugs until I have the opportunity to evaluate the production run unit.

I’ll be receiving a production model loaner in the coming weeks, and I’ll update this post and share a video demonstrating the updated radio. Stay tuned!

After publishing my post yesterday morning, I ran a few errands in town, then headed to Lake Powhatan in Pisgah National Forest to perform a POTA activation with the new Xiegu X6200.

In short, my buddy Vince summed it all up in a text he sent, stating that I sure picked an interesting time to get on the air. I received this image from Vince–while calling CQ POTA for the 100th time–showing the results of our X-Class Flare:

It was a radio blackout.

In the end, I did log eleven stations: 1 on 30 meters, and 10 on 20 meters, all with CW.

 

Eventually, I did plug in an external battery and run the X6200 at its full 8 watts of power in SSB mode, but there were no takers on 20 meters. The bands were so dead, I even received reports from some of you that the FT8 portions of the band had little to no activity.

That dead!

I did manage to hunt some other park activators successfully–we activators had to work together to get through this one!

Video: Change of plans

I had originally planned to create a video of the activation, write a detailed field report, and answer some of the questions you left in the comments section of my previous post. I was actually able to make a video, but it’s incredibly long. Because of that, I’m only going to upload it to Vimeo for QRPer.com Patreon supporters to view. I simply don’t want to deal with the inevitable drive-by comments on YouTube from people expecting quick-hit thoughts about the X6200 in a nearly two-hour video.

No worries, though, I will make another video witht he X6200 in the next few days and publish that one on YouTube.

In the meantime, I’ve also taken some thorough notes that I’ll be sharing here.

X6200: Initial Impressions and Notes

Disclaimer: It’s important to keep in mind that this is a prototype loaner unit, and the firmware is still in its early stages (Version 1.0). Because of this, the following observations and notes should be taken with a grain of salt.

Many issues will likely be addressed in firmware updates that Xiegu will be releasing in the coming days and weeks.

The date of publication for this article is May 30, 2024. Considering

I will eventually be posting a comprehensive review of the X6200, but only after I’ve spent a significant amount of time (weeks, not just hours) with the radio. This initial write-up is just to share my first impressions.

Moving on…

Since there simply wasn’t enough band activity and the X-class flare created more band noise than normal, I wasn’t able to properly evaluate the X6200’s filtering (thus how it might handle a pileup, crowded band conditions, etc.). I also couldn’t get a good read on the radio’s noise floor and overall audio characteristics.

I did, however, spend nearly two full hours with the X6200 going full bore sending CQs, so I had quite a bit of hands-on time, and I feel the X6200 got a proper burn-in period.

First, I’ll share the observations I made (both pros and cons), then I’ll try to answer your questions. Continue reading Xiegu X6200 Trial by Flare: Answering your questions and sharing my field notes

Xiegu X6200 First Activation: What do you want to know?

Yesterday, I popped by the post office and picked up a parcel containing a prototype of the Xiegu X6200 (thank you for the loaner, Radioddity).

In truth, it arrived on Friday via DHL, but the post office was closed over Memorial Day weekend, and frankly, I would have been too busy to take a deep dive with it.

I’ve got the battery charged and plan to hit the field with the X6200 today—perhaps a local POTA activation.

As I explore the X6200, I’m curious if you have any questions you’d like me to answer in the process. I don’t know anything about delivery times or any of the retail-side stuff, but I could possibly answer your questions about the radio itself.

Labeled “Prototype”

Keep in mind that the unit I received is labeled as a prototype. I assume this is a pre-production model, thus with early firmware and likely a bit rough around the edges. We’ll find out in due time. Likely by the time the X6200 starts shipping to those who pre-ordered it, some issues will have been sorted out in firmware updates (assuming there are issues).

Today, I plan to test the X6200 in CW and possibly SSB. I’ll probably run CW from the internal battery, which will yield four watts output. For SSB, I’ll try hooking it up to an external battery for eight watts of total output power.

Solar conditions will likely be rough, but I look forward to hearing what the audio is like and how the receiver performs. Also curious if the keyer will have good timing/spacing.

X6200 Questions?

Leave me a comment if you’d like me to check out something on the X6200. If I fit in a POTA activation, it will likely be near noon today (EDT). I may not be able to address all questions, but I’ll do the best I can.

The Adventure You Get

Many thanks to Matt (W6CSN) who shares the following post from his blog at W6CSN.blog:


The Adventure you get is not always the adventure you expect. Recently I’ve been plotting a unique activation of the De Anza National Historic Trail, but that particular POTA activation is going to need a good antenna and just as importantly, time.

This day afforded a few hours in the morning for outdoor radio but not enough to retrace the steps of the De Anza expedition. Instead, I headed down to the San Francisco Bay side for a quick outdoor amateur radio session.

Marina entrance light from years gone by

Since it was was a Saturday, my usual spot at Presidio East Beach was heavily impacted by weekend recreation enthusiasts, so I continued for a quarter mile to the practically empty parking lot east of the St. Francis Yacht Club.

Small dry beach on the marina side of the jetty

Thence on foot past the old stone light tower and the clubhouse of the Golden Gate Yacht Club, you find yourself of the path to the end of the breakwater where a unique art installation sits.

Alcatraz Island at anchor off the point

The Wave Organ is a curious sculpture that uses tubes and cavities between old cemetery stones to channel and amplify the watery sounds of waves as the tides move in and out of the Bay.

Surrounded by saltwater at the end of this jetty, which by my reckoning is within the boundary of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (US-0647), this location was perfect for the “no impact” operation afforded by the Elecraft KH1.

This granite wall served as the operating bench

My plan was to see if I could complete an activation of making 10 contacts entirely by hunting other POTA activators, perfectly reasonable given it was a weekend with no geomagnetic storms to disrupt radio propagation.

An entire station in the palm of your hand

What I did not count on was that it was a contest weekend with both 20 and 15 meters wall-to-wall with rapid fire contesters. As a QRP station, finding the POTA needles in that haystack was going to be tough.

The wave organ is a naturally contemplative environment

I retreated to 17 meters which should offer good daytime propagation and no contesters. There on 18 MHz, I was was able to collect five park-to-park contacts in a span of 23 minutes.

At that point I’d exhausted all of the 17m active CW stations on the POTA spots page and didn’t really have time to wait for more to show up. Therefore the “all hunting” activation strategy was abandoned and I commenced calling “CQ POTA.”

A fresh charge delivers nearly 6 watts into a matched antenna on 17m

The activation was “validated” with a call from Dave, AA7EE as the 10th QSO and then completed with one more park hunted, K9DXA in US-1001. Most of the contacts were with stations east of the Rockies.

http://tools.adventureradio.de/analyzer/

One thing I learned from earlier outings with the KH1 was to not cut the log sheets too small, as might be suggested by the lines printed on the page. Without enough paper under the top and bottom tabs of the logging tray the sheets can easily be caught and snatched away by the wind.

Leave enough margin on the logging sheets and they are easily secured in the tray, even in the face of brisk Bay breezes.

Looking across the marina entrance toward Fort Mason

The “hunting only” activation plan didn’t quite work out but it was a great time out playing radio at scenic spot in San Francisco Bay.

Sailing season is well underway on SF Bay

While I didn’t expect to activate from the wave organ today, it turned out to be a fun adventure and an excellent spot from which to get on the air with the KH1.

73 de W6CSN