I remember back in 2020 when I really kicked my POTA activations into high gear, I made a spreadsheet of all of the POTA sites within a 2 hour drive of the QTH and started activating them one by one.
At the time, almost 50-60%, or possibly more, had never been activated. Keep in mind that in early 2020, POTA had a wee fraction of the activity it has today.
It was a lot of fun especially considering those were the early days of the pandemic and it was just nice to get out and about. Any excuse, right?
One of the parks on my list was the Thomas Wolfe Memorial but being a small historic site in an urban setting, they were closed for quite some time during the pandemic. There was nothing to stop me from walking on the site–or pulling up in their parking lot–and doing an activation while they were closed, but I just didn’t feel like it should be fair game when closed.
Then restrictions loosened up and, frankly, I just sort of forgot about it.
I tend to activate parks in rural areas and I am prone to overlook urban sites (although quite a few of my activations in Canada last year were urban).
Thomas Wolfe Memorial (K-6853)
On Thursday, September 7, 2023, I dropped off my daughters at school then made my way to a doctor’s appointment. I arrived at the office, gave them my name at the front desk, and then they reminded me that we had re-scheduled this particular appointment for later in the month.
Doh! I forgot to make the change in my calendar.
All of the sudden, I had a bit more free time!
Of course, I always fill free time with POTA activations, and I already had radio gear in the car, so it was only a matter of deciding where to go.
I called the Vance Historic Birthplace (about a 25 minute drive) to see if they were busy. Their director (who I know quite well at this point) told me that a large group was on the site, but would be gone by 1:30. That timing didn’t work for me, so I consulted the POTA map.
Since the POTA site used my coordinates to find the closest park, I was reminded that K-6853 was a mere 3 minute drive from the doctor’s office. I could have walked there.
I gave the site a call to ask for permission (again, I always do this for small historic sites) and they told me I’d be most welcome.
The site is on a small urban lot and consists of two buildings: the visitors’ center, and the Old Kentucky Home boarding house. Continue reading Out Of My Element: An Urban POTA activation at the Thomas Wolfe Memorial