Oak Island, W9/WI-041 ATNO and K-0764, Apostle Islands National Lakeshore

Well, I’ve been hinting around it for long enough. The big activation that I have been planning is coming up rapidly, (maybe, even after all my planning, a little too rapidly)! It will be Oak Island; K-0764 and W9/WI-041, June 2nd and 3rd.

I will be preparing this post over the next few days, to go up on Thursday the 1st, with corresponding notices on the POTA and SOTA boards. I will try to self spot and maybe live-blog a bit, but the remote and isolated nature of the site might have no connection or only a spotty one. We’ll just have to see what is feasible when I am on the ground.

For SOTA chasers this will be an all-time new one, (if only a 1-point summit), and a first for me, too. Apostle Islands National Lakeshore was last activated in July 2022.

The idea came to me back in the wintry doldrums of mid-January sometime, and in February and March I got sort of a plan going and picking Campsite #1 and this weekend; early in the season for cooler (but not too cool!) weather and less-than-full campsites , plus a full moon for plenty of light. April and May firmed it up with actual reservations, leading up to today’s muted frenzy of finding things and building little piles all over the house for final selection and packing in the very near future. Long-term weather forecasts have been uniformly good. Solar “weather” is about the only thing I have to worry about at this point, and that is about impossible to forecast beyond what, 24 hours? 48?

Sea kayak vs. water taxi to get to the island seesawed back and forth for months, but in the end, my zero experience with kayaking on Lake Superior tipped the balance to a charter out of Bayfield which brought near 100% certainty of getting there, at about triple the cost.


My radios will be the Xiegu X6100, the Penntek TR-35, and a Baofeng UV-5R.

I am carrying a variety of antennas; the QRPguys EFHW with 20 and 40 meter wires, a 20m wire dipole, a random wire TBD, the short base-loaded whip I made last month, and some wire in the fix-it-kit just in case improvisation is called for.

Oak Island has no electrical service so two Bioenno 12 volt LiFePO4 batteries, 3 and 15 amp/hours will have to supply all of my needs; radios and phone mainly. I also have an Mpowerd Luci Pro Lux inflatable solar lantern for lighting after dark and maybe incidental USB charging; brand new, barely even tested, we’ll see how it works out in service!

Oak Island also has no potable water, so I have collected All Of The Nalgene Bottles in the house to transport a little more than 2 gallons from our local spring. I also have a Membrane Solutions water filter as backup, which should be able to make lake water safely drinkable if there is any pinch.

The irreducible minimum of food comes to 8 or 9 pounds – freezedried meals would weigh less, but then I would have to carry more water!

Update, Thursday morning: leaving in a couple of hours, drive all day to Bayfield and stay overnight, off to Oak Island with all of my gear on Friday morning. Weather forecast has gotten iffier, possible rain on both Friday and Saturday. Propagation (per N0NBH) is “poor”, 65% chance of solar flare? Ouch. I am wrapping up this post in haste, interleaving writing, eating breakfast, and going off to find small items and stuffing them into a corner of a pack. I expect the final load will be 60 – 70 pounds, which (like this whole trip, really) is real unexplored territory for me! No time to proofread, just hit “Publish” and move on!

Hope some of you get in the log soon, and thanks for visiting driftlessqrp!



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