Wildcat Mountain, K-1480

Well I got lucky with the weather on Tuesday; though it was 26 degrees overnight the forecast called for a daytime high in the upper 40s. I decided to keep everything simple, so equipped with plenty of hot coffee, I headed for Wildcat Mountain State Park, K-1480. Setting up the Buddipole 20m vertical took about 30 minutes, with frequent breaks to warm up my fingers. For more simplicity I thought I would try operating from the driver’s seat instead of the back of the van.

minivan in parking lot with buddipole antenna in foreground

As I was extending the telescoping whip another joint came apart, requiring a quick application of duct tape, the 3rd in a series of similar repairs this year. Soon I will need to buy a new one; perhaps I will buy the MFJ-1979; 17 feet fully extended, so just right for 20 meters. I also added a pair of zip-ties to the splice at the base to try to limit the flexing at that repair.

Keeping the 3 guys attached to my homebrew ring, and rubber-banding the 3 spools together has helped to make deploying them simpler and easier. I didn’t use them; the wind was quite light and didn’t cause any trouble in operating.

A few minutes after 9 am I was ready to start operating!

After an autotune, (the repairs have changed the resonant frequency out-of-band) I started tuning upwards, answering random CQs and looking for other activators. W2A was a special event station for World Autism Awareness Week, and a three-fer! Several people I worked were thinking about buying an X6100 and wondered how I liked it; (“I like it a lot; it has become my main radio for portable operating; but the internal battery is not good for more than an hour or so, you need an external battery!) I found that the Bioenno 12 volt 3AH LiFePO4 battery is quite adequate for an activation of several hours duration and adds less than a pound to the pack, easily balanced out by leaving the improvised 18650 packs at home.

I never did set up on a frequency and try to get spotted, and I met some chatty operators, so I averaged about 5 QSOs an hour, with breaks to stretch out and walk around a bit. By noon it was comfortable enough to exchange the winter coat for a windbreaker!

A nice, even distribution of contacts across the map.

It was good to get in a few QSOs that went beyond the quick contest-style exchanges; I am going to try for more of that this year.

This post has been sitting in draft for 4 days, so I am just adding the QSO map and hitting Publish; I will take up the other bits later, in a new post. Hoping to get out tomorrow or Monday for another activation!

Thanks for visiting driftlessqrp!





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