The Withlacoochee State Forest is large non-contiguous forest in West Central Florida. It’s boundaries are in multiple counties. This morning I operated in the Richloam Tract which is located off or route 471 south of Dade City and northeast of Lakeland. The entrance I used is not marked and can be easily mistaken for a private road.
Today’s activation almost didn’t take place. After leaving for the park all the warning lights on my dashboard started blinking. It turns out my alternator went bad. I just had the alternator replaced a week ago but the new one was defective. I drove the car to my mechanic and called my daughter to pick me up. After dropping her off at home I took her car to the park. My family is all-in on activating!
I began the activation at 14:30 UTC on 14.042 CW. I ended the activation at 15:41 UTC on 14.054 CW. The antenna was the Chameleon Hybrid Mini on a mag mount with a 213″ telescoping whip. The rig was a Kenwood TS-480SAT. To compensate for the heavy QRN I ran a full 100 watts. This was a strictly CW activation. Band conditions on 20 meters were difficult to start. There was some serious QRN that produced an S9 noise level.
I did lose some stations because of the noise level but not before making 66 contacts with 18 of them being DX from Europe. I called the activation short when my mechanic texted me to say that my car was ready. Withlacoochee is on my list to become a Kilo before year end, so I will be back soon.