Staying in that rut

After the last post I resolved to go to a different park next time; alas, that resolution evaporated last Saturday morning just after I got my coffee (big cup and full vacuum bottle) at the local Kwik Trip!

Onward to Wildcat Mountain!

The moon was setting, near the horizon, as I drove westward, and soon I was in my familiar spot in the otherwise empty upper parking lot. Running up the 17 foot whip on the Buddipole has become a practiced routine that took just minutes. I tried to make a short video of the antenna setup process, but that resulted in about 8 minutes of poorly aimed jumble and some inaudible mumble. I am going to keep trying and I will probably get better at it with practice, but right now I am in awe of people like K4SWL who do such beautiful work! I feel like I would need a production crew following me around to achieve the same results.

It all fits in one hand. I wonder how much the 3 pieces weigh; I might be carrying them in the field this year.
I finally remembered to tie a length of flag tape onto the tip of the whip so that it shows up in pictures. I have a POTA flag that I got as a spontaneous gift at Sandwich (IL) hamfest last year, but its negligible-seeming weight is still too much for the thin top sections; they bent about 90 degrees when I tried it. Scary!

I tried a slightly different arrangement of my gear in the car this time, the radio sitting on top of the dashboard is kind of unstable at best and reaching over the steering wheel to tune or press buttons is not very convenient. I tried using my knee board (without the strap) and found it easier and more secure.

The 2 slots that engage the 6100’s folding legs held it in place perfectly. There wasn’t much room for the logbook, but … it all worked okay.

Wildcat Mountain State Park has many advantages; not too far from home, plenty of natural beauty, excellent hiking trails, clean toilet facilities open year-round, and the high ground is excellent for radio, including the gigahertz line-of-sight stuff that is used by phones. Using that handy device I self-spotted and started calling CQ.

One hunter, another, another; then the magic of radio kicked in: a faint, but clear voice saying “Italy four romeo hotel papa”!

“Italy four romeo hotel papa, did I get that right?”

Yes, I did. Park number and signal reports were exchanged, and with many thanks I bid Rodolfo in Bologna a hearty 73! I’ll have the card in the mail soon!

After about half an hour it seemed as though all the available hunters had worked me. After maybe 10 minutes of CQ with no replies I did “last call” a few times and spotted myself as QRT. I always like to include a few words of thanks to the hunters in my QRT spots, and I want to repeat them here, today:

Thank you, hunters!

I think I was feeling a little dark and definitely under the weather in my previous post. What, really, is wrong with doing something that combines fun and easy and convenient? I try to include site scouting in my traveling around the area, and over the last several weeks I have encountered deep mud, ice, park roads blocked by snow … before I try something new I’m going to wait for the weather to moderate a bit, because I can.

The scale of this QSO map is somewhat altered by that lucky DX contact !

Thanks to all of my loyal readers! More activations coming soon, also hikes around the area, and some of my thoughts about emcomm, too.





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