Paul Butzi |||

K-1732 Brandywine Creek State Park Activation

While my Dad was in the hospital I went back east to help my Mom. I took along a field kit of radio gear (described below) vaguely thinking that I’d get a brief opportunity to slope off and get in a little therapeutic playing radio and do a park activation nearby Glen Mills, where my folks live.

Sadly I was far too busy 100% of the time to do that, and the closest the radio came to being used was one evening when I hooked up the AX1 antenna and tried it from my hotel room, where the RF noise level was outrageously high.

But I also went back for my the memorial service for my Dad, and to my delight my cousin Curt K7ZOO also flew back east to attend. After the memorial service, we headed out to Brandywine Creek State Park, one of my favorite places during my youth, to do a POTA activation.


I’d brought my Elecraft KX3, hand mike, 3AH Bioenno battery, the Elecraft AX-1 antenna, a QRP 42-20-10m EFHW, SP-4 paddles, and an Anker external speaker.

Curt had brought a Buddipole Junior vertical antenna setup and a Zachtek WSPR beacon to play with.

The Plan

Our setup for the POTA playtime was the KX3 and Curt’s Buddipole. I had planned to do a joint SSB activation, two operators. Curt didn’t want to be a second op, he said he’d log for me. Ok, fine. I suspected he had a nefarious plan, and I was right.

We started on 40m, using my cell phone to self-spot. We got our first contact at 1957Z. After that, ten minutes of calling CQ got us no more contacts, so we moved up to 17m and got two more SSB contacts.

It was what you might call slow going. Curt suggested I switch to CW. I protested that I’d never be able to catch callsigns as they came in, and this is when Curt sprang his nefarious plan: he’d assist with copying callsigns, I’d do all the sending, and he’d continue logging.

I took several very deep breaths, considered that I’d never get a better offer, and agreed. Several deep breaths later, I started calling CQ and in 17 minutes netted 9 more contacts to round out the activation. At that point both Curt and I were pretty cold, my hands were stiff enough from the cold that I was having trouble with the key, and we called it a day.

QSO map

I would call this a triumphant, smashing success, but we were not yet done.

Next, we broke out the WSPR beacon and my 40-20-10 EFHW antenna, and threw a line into a nearby tree to raise the antenna. With the antenna at about 4 feet at the feed end and maybe 15 feet at the far end, we connected the WSPR beacon, fired it up, and let it run long enough to transmit several rounds on 20m.

Up next Wallypark Stupidity The N3JCJ(sk) Memorial POTA rove My dad died on Jan 30, 2024. I spent half of January whammied while I recovered from Across the Years, and the other half on the East Coast helping
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