The Hilochee Wildlife Management Area is a vast tract of undeveloped land in Polk County, FL. Hilochee is not a contiguous park; being made of various parcels of land that are not connected to each other. Many of the entrances to Hilochee WMA are not suitable for activating due to the close proximity of power lines that generate tremendous RFI. There are three locations that are amenable to activations with one providing some amount shade. The location with some shade is located just south of the intersection of interstate 4 and county road 557. There is a gravel road that leads to the gated entrance of the entrance. A mile and half north on 557 is a trail head entrance that provides parking but no shade. The last suitable activation area is located at the end of Home Run Blvd. in Davenport, FL. There is a parking area that is 300 yards from overhead high tension power lines but there is very little RFI. Restrooms are not provided at Hilochee WMA. Like most WMA’s erecting a wire antenna separate from your vehicle is a challenge You may be able to put up a small footprint vertical antenna such as a Wolf River Coil or Chameleon MPAS in the parking areas, provided they are not crowded. All of my activations have been drive-by style. I will discuss drive-by activating in a future post.
With today being Thanksgiving I was content with my morning QRP activation at K-3646. But after Thanksgiving dinner the family was feeling the effects of a turkey-induced tryptophan. In other words, they were all having a snooze. That was my opportunity to get out to Hilochee for a quick activation. Instead of operating QRP with my Xiegu G90, I used the same rig by at the rig’s full 20 watts. I began on 14.039 CW at 22:03 UTC and ended at 7.029 CW at 22:38 UTC. In 35 minutes I made 26 contacts with 18 being CW and 8 being SSB. I had 10 contacts on 20 meters, 7 on 30 meters, and 9 on 40 meters. I had 2 park-to-parks. My furthest contact was with K5JPB in New Mexico on 20 meters CW. I had my 251st contact with N3XLS, which is the most I have with any amateur radio operator.