For a while now, I have been wanting to activate a new park, and last Tuesday offered the opportunity to do so. An overcast day in the low 40s with a chance of some rain in the afternoon was the forecast, and that’s good enough for operating from the car. My last try for a new park was to the north, so I figured to go in the opposite direction this time, and chose the Kickapoo River State Wildlife Area at Bell Center, K-4296. Driving down Hwy. 131 as it winds along the valley of the also-winding Kickapoo, it was hard to count the number of times one crossed the other, and one by one the little villages went by until I found myself at a patch of gravel by the side of the highway; one of the access points to the area.
As I was setting up, careless handling (?) of the telescoping whip resulted in a split at one of the joints. Nothing was bent, one end still fit into the other, so this was quickly remedied with a few inches of duct tape.
The repair was good enough and I was on the air in a few minutes.
The magic of radio strikes without warning!
I was operating much as usual, looking for other POTA activations to work, getting a few here and there when a station I was calling announced he was QRT. After a decent interval I began calling CQ! One response, almost immediately. A few more CQs, and another. One or two more. Someone must have spotted me around this point, because suddenly I was working a pileup! I was the DX! I have been on the other end of pileups before, so I had some idea of how to proceed, and it was So Much Fun! My paper log tells me that I made 27 QSOs in 25 minutes; there’s no telling how long that it could have gone on, but the rising wind accompanying the rain brought my antenna down and that was the end!
This time the whip got into the scrubby trees and snapped off a few inches from the butt, so this time it was a matter of overlapping the two ends and more duct tape; I was back on the air in about 15 minutes, but the frequency was in use, and I went back to hunting for other parks. This antenna is starting to look a bit beat up!
I worked a few more stations just to test the repair, then closed up and went home. It was an inspired choice, because a few minutes later as I was driving away, it began to rain in earnest. I only really began to appreciate what I had done as I transferred my log from paper to digital; there were twenty park-to-park QSOs, including two contacts with dual operator stations in two-fer locations, plus my amazing run of contacts for a total of 47, a personal record.
Tomorrow holds the nicest weather forecast in the next few days, so I am thinking about doing another activation; but where will I go?
Thanks for visiting driftlessqrp, stop by again soon!
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