Portable Activation at K-1848 Colt Creek State Park, Lakeland, FL

Park Entrance Sign

This morning I activated K-1848 Colt Creek State Park outside of Lakeland, FL. Colt Creek is actually halfway between Lakeland and Dade City. The park has RV and primitive camp sites, hiking trails, lakes, and equestrian facilities. I earned my Kilo (1000 contacts) at this park earlier this year.

I set up operations in a picnic pavilion near one of the equestrian areas which is off to the right of the main entrance. There are restroom facilities adjacent to the pavilion, which is a great amenity when you plan to be activating for a few hours.

Pavilion near the front equestrian area

My equipment set up was a Kenwood TS-480SAT transceiver, Chameleon Hybrid Mini in the vertical configuration, American Morse Bushwacker Sideswiper single-lever paddle, and a Bioenno 20Ah lithium phosphate battery. I always carry two charged batteries since I do not currently have solar panels. My initial RF power output was 70 watts but as the QSB got bad on 17 meters I increased it to 100 watts. The battery lasted through the entire activation.

The activation began at 13:56 UTC with a CW QSO on 14.114 MHz with K3MRK and it ended with a CW QSO on 14112.5 with OK1KIM. I had 161 contacts on 40 meters, 20 meters, and 17 meters. 41 contacts were CW and 120 were SSB. I had 20 DX contacts (mostly Europe) and 9 park-to-parks. The noise level on 17 was much better than 20. Here is a clip from a few 17 meter CW QSOs:

CW QSOs on 17 meters at K-1848 on 28-NOV-2020

I have been asked about the equipment I use when operating portable. I have a few different rigs and antenna options but here is what I set up today:

K4NYM’s portable set up at K-1848 on 28-Nov-2020

The only thing I forgot to bring as enough water. Staying hydrated when doing portable ops is very important. I had to fill my water bottle from the restroom sink. Yuck! I am going to make a checklist for future activations to make sure I have everything that I need.

Published by Bill Brown

Reformed and reforming Baptist. Husband and father. Salesman by trade. Amateur radio operator Mets, Giants, Nets, Devils and Rutgers fan.

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