Many thanks to Christian (IX1CKN) who shares the following field report:
Activation of I-0395
by Chris (IX1CKN)
Hey folks, I just wanted to share my activation at the Les Iles Nature Reserve (I-0395) on Christmas Eve (December 24, 2023)!
It’s been a while since I last visited (in July). The weather was perfect, around 20 degrees Celsius, and I was in the mood for a real outdoor activation.
Got off to an exciting start on 20 meters with two stations from the UK recognizing my gear. One even complimented the excellent modulation with a whopping 9+10 signal strength, giving me hope for the rest of the activation. Then came a Spanish station, the always attentive IX1VKK Rinaldo (following me from home), a colleague from the Netherlands, another Brit, and then… silence. I kept calling for another 5 minutes, but no luck.
Could it be the morning flare that affected propagation? Who knows, but I noticed on the POTA cluster that another Italian colleague was activating on 28 MHz and being spotted by several American Hams. I decided to give it a try, found a clear frequency locally, and started calling. And guess what? Responses from across the Atlantic started pouring in – Massachusetts, Georgia, and even a park-to-park with Jim KC1QDZ from Brenton Point State Park in Rhode Island.
Maybe not my first contact with a U.S. park on 10 meters, but definitely a memorable one.
Signal reports weren’t super strong, hovering around 5/3-5/4, but hey, as long as the noise floor isn’t sky-high, that signal is enough to complete the QSO. Moved to a different frequency as the band was buzzing with North American stations – Kentucky, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Maryland.
An hour in, and I’ve logged 12 contacts. Pretty incredible considering that what “saved” my activation were stations on the other side of the ocean. Europe on 20 meters was a bit challenging, but hey, that’s ham radio for you. You’d think POTA, with its simple and not-so-full-power setups, is a local affair, and then, on Christmas Eve, you realize DX is very much on the table.