Paul Butzi |||

Kanaskat-Palmer State Park (US-3209)

With an appointment at 3:30pm, I was hoping to squeeze in three POTA activations: Kanaskat-Palmer State Park, Noltle State Park, and Flaming Geyser State park.

For several reasons I got one of those done, the other two remain for me to activate another day.

First stop was Kanaskat-Palmer State Park. I searched around for a bit looking for a good parking area to set up. Mostly I was searching for a spot where propagation would not be cut off by local terrain. The spots with good prospects had no cell phone service, which I use to self-spot and to look at other spots to sort of coordinate frequencies.

So I put Kanaskat-Palmer on my work later’ list and moved on.

One thing I noticed was that the best spots to set up were in the campground. It might be worth reserving/paying for a campsite just to get a great spot to set up and activate. All of the day use areas were down where hills would block propagation.

US-3236 (Nolte State Park) Activation

I thought I was going to get skunked on cell service again, but a bit of hunting around found me a parking spot where I had no service at first, but then a pretty solid signal, good enough to both spot myself but also do callsign lookup and re-spotting.

Gear used

  • Bioenno 4.5Ah LiFePO4 battery
  • Xiegu G90 transceiver with male PL259 to female BNC adapter
  • Xiegu cooling stand for G90
  • Heil BM-17 electret headset with adapter, and PTT hand switch
  • Chameleon 17’ whip with quick release on Tram 3 magnet magmount with feedline cut short and female BNC connector
  • 2m RG316 feedline with BNC connectors both ends
  • Apple Macbook Pro for logging
  • Iphone for internet connectivity
  • RigExpert Stick 500 antenna analyzer

Notes/Observations

  1. With a lot less traffic going through the parking area, I had little trouble with the RFI and the G90s poor out of band rejection.
  2. I remembered to bring the RigExpert analyser, so when I did band changes (I made several) I just adjusted the whip length rather than relying on the tuner in the G90.
  3. The Heil BM-17 headset is great for POTA. For one thing, you can work with one ear muff off your ear, which gives you better situational awareness, but when you want more isolation, using two muffs works surprisingly well. The mic seems to work well, and I like that I can swing the mic boom up and out of the way.

QSOs

26 minutes of calling CQ netting me 10 contacts. Another 35 minutes netted me only two more contacts, in part because I spent time unsuccessfully hunting, and also time trying both 17m and 15m with little success (only one contact on 15m, none on 17m)

QSO map

One of the things I’m still struggling to find a balance on is getting more QSOs at the park I’m in versus moving on to the next park and getting another park activated. I’m leaning toward just activating single parks except when I’m doing a dedicated POTA rove far from home.

In this case, after a bit more than an hour, pressed for time, I moved on to Flaming Geyser State Park.

Flaming Geyser State Park

Again, the sites that seemed promising either had compromises with regard to terrain, or proximity to power lines, or no cell service. I really need to work out some way to do self-spotting without relying on cell service, and maybe do logging with callsign verification without cell service as well.

And then I spent 15 minutes explaining to a Park Ranger about POTA, simply because I wanted to be a good ambassador for POTA. I think that was a good choice but it did mean that in the end I simply packed it all up without even attempting an activation.

So Flaming Geyser State Park remains on the to do” list.

Take Aways

I really need to find a solid way to spot myself when I have no cell service.

Up next US-5744 (Tiger Mountain State Forest) Activation Two Activations - Bridle Trails SP (US-3166) & St. Edward SP (US-3261)
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