Parks on the Air

I was just checking my stats in the POTA program. I have had 139 145 confirmations with activators in various parks, 125 of them with unique parks. Some have been worked more than once for various reasons … the activators benefit from the contact to reach their qualifying number, different bands, different modes … all contribute to the “points” total for awards , if you will. None have been to the Western reaches of our country, due to propagation patterns … all were to the Eastern states or to the Midwest. Some have been to our Northern neighbors in the Canadian provinces, which are also included in the program. Some never seem to get confirmed … maybe busted calls or for some reason the activator never submits the logs? Maybe a bear ate the logs … or the activator 🙂 .

I guess I’m what you’d call a casual participant … I get on when I can … I check the spots or tune around the usual frequencies. I catch ’em as I can. Lots of the activations happen when I’m at work, so I miss out on them. Evenings and weekends though … then I’m on the hunt!

73 and Good Hunting de Dick N4BC!

13 Colonies

Well, I got a clean sweep of all 13 Colonies during the special event. I didn’t get the bonus stations (K2Z and GB13COL), but the pileups were so chaotic I gave up on them by Friday. I did get WM3PEN on both CW and SSB. I’m not blaming the Op at K2Z … the AHs calling him just ignored normal protocols and rules of basic courtesy. I’ll send my log in with my $5.00 for the great-looking certificate … I’m a sucker for wallpaper (although I keep most of my “wallpaper” in a binder with transparent document holders nowadays).

13 Colonies Certificate

On the other hand, I did work a couple of POTA stations on Sunday (K0BAK and KE8BKP). Forty meters seems to be my “go to” band, but during the day, it’s so noisy it’s almost unusable at my QTH … lots of QRN! Looking forward to the winter months when it’s relatively quiet.

73 de Dick N4BC

Workin’ for It

Afternoons and evenings, the noise on 40 meters has been terrible here at the ole’ homestead. Lots of hash and static crashes from weather-related phenomena. Of course, this is prime park-hunting time. It’s frustrating to hear stations working the activators and not hear those activators. You can tell they’re there … you can occasionally hear them rise above the noise for a moment … and then they dive back down into the noise. I could probably fake my way through a contest-style QSO … signal report, QTH, and 73 … but that’s almost like cheating if I’m not sure what they’re saying … if I have to guess.

CW’s a bit better. In the past couple of days, I’ve worked NK8O and WB8ERJ, and they had great, readable signals … hey, CW is like SSB with an amp! Digital and CW are certainly the way to go when conditions suck!

Even when you can copy with lots of difficulty … the old ears ain’t what they used to be … the noise and crashes are really fatiguing. You can’t keep it up for long. In the afternoons, after work, I like to listen and monitor the spots while working on other stuff at my desk … it gets irritating fast. It’s summertime!

Late evenings and nighttime are better, but unless they’re camping, most of the POTA guys have packed up and gone home. Parks being what they are, they close at sundown unless you’re registered and camping … nature of the beast.

73 de Dick N4BC

Hot!

Not the weather … that’s cooled down considerably. I mean the BANDS!

I ventured up into the higher frequency bands tonight and it was productive. I had FT8 QSOs on 20, 17, 15, 12, 10, & 6 meters! The six meter contacts were into Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Tennessee. Good strong signals, too! I think that’s about the first time in over a year that I’ve had any luck on six. I saw a strong KH6 (Hawaii) station on 12 meters, but couldn’t break the digital pileup 😀 .

I don’t even have an decent, efficient antenna on six meters. I just load up my home-brew vertical wire antenna with the autotuner and push about 75 watts at it. I have no idea how much is getting radiated. Enough, I guess. FT8 being a weak signal mode helps a lot.

On the POTA front, I’m just two confirmations short of 100 parks. I have worked 121, actually … just waiting for the activators to send in their logs. Whenever!

Tomorrow night is our club meeting, with a Dutch treat dinner beforehand. Always a highlight of the month. I just put the finishing touches on my Financial report … all ready to present

73 de Dick N4BC

Changes …

I took off early from work today to tackle a task that I’ve been wanting to get started on … and also dreading … rearranging the equipment in the shack. I would look under the table at the rat’s nest of wiring and just shudder! And the dust bunnies … sound like a regular zoo under there, doesn’t it?

So, every thing disconnected and placed out of the way … all of the old cabinetry removed and discarded … then everything placed on the new shelving. Here’s the result:

N4BC

The shelving is a “shoe rack” that I purchased from Amazon. It’s perfect for what I wanted to do.

Mind you, it’s still a work in progress. It’ll never be this neat and clean again. As a matter of fact, it’s a lot more cluttered now, just a few hours after this photo was taken. I already made a couple of POTA contacts from the new configuration.

73 de Dick N4BC