Today’s activation came after a hearty Thanksgiving Day breakfast that my lovely XYL makes every year. How can you pass up bacon and Taylor Ham (the latter is a Jersey thing)?
Payne’s Creek State Park is located in Bowling Green, Florida, Hardee County, grid square EL97co. There are two options for activating. The first is from your vehicle at the parking area located in the back of the park near the picnic pavilions. The second is from the picnic pavilions themselves. There are men and women’s restrooms adjacent to the picnic pavilions and parking lot. Today’s weather was wonderful. The temperature was in the high 70s with partly cloudy skies. Winter is definitely happy activation weather in Central Florida.
I am starting a tradition of having a QRP activation on Thanksgiving morning. My rig for today was the Xiegu G90. I had the RF output dialed down to 5 watts. My antenna was the Chameleon Hybrid Mini screwed into a Tram tri-magnet mount with a 213″ telescoping whip as the radiator. The activation began at 14:11 UTC on 14.043 CW. It ended at 17:16 UTC on 21.036 CW. At 16:25 UTC I switched to SSB on 17 meters. I had 41 QSOs on 17 meters SSB and on each QSO there was a LID keying up with a toned carrier. This was not accidental interference. While this LID’s antics made copy challenging, it did not stop one single QSO. I was sure that the POTA hunters heard the carrier but they ignored it and pushed on. Kudos to all!
I only managed seven (7) park-to-park’s but I did have some good DX into Europe. DX countries worked were England, Croatia, Belgium, Italy, Slovakia, Czech Republic, France, the Azores, and the Netherlands. 5 watts made the trip across the pond with respectable signal reports averaging 559 on CW. In North America I was able to work both coasts and Canada on CW and SSB. I was surprised by the number of 59 and 599 reports I received. One operator jokingly suggested I was running a clandestine linear. Not so. Unless my G90’s RF meter is lying, I maxed at 5 watts.
The good news is that I started the day with 871 contacts on K-3646. I ended the activation with 149 contacts which gave me my 8th Kilo for 2020. All these Kilos can only happen because of the dedicated hunters who respond to my CQ POTA calls. Thank you.
As usual, 40 meters is a struggle when operating from my car. The metal of my car does not provide an optimum counterpoise for 7 MHz. I need to work on this shortcoming. I do not even concern myself with 75/80 meters. When I set my Chameleon up in the vertical configuration using the ground spike 40 meters works fine. Of course, I am using four (4) quarter wave radials to complement the ground spike.
Remember, mic up and key down!