Sunday March 4th was a beautiful and slightly cool (mid-seventies) day in Jupiter, Florida and was the day I selected for my first #POTA activation (parksontheair.com).
I picked the 11,000 acre Jonathan Dickinson State Park, KFF-1887, just six miles from my Florida QTH. I had scouted out locations a few days earlier and chose the picnic area near the river, with cooperating pine trees and handy limbs.
Using my unique antenna launch tool (see pic) on the second try I hit my target limb and hoisted the “high” end of an EndFedz antenna cut for 20 meters. My battery was charged, I had a sandwich, I even had a cushion for the hard picnic table bench seat. Right on time I was ready to spot myself, all settled and happy. Do you hear a “but” coming?
This was also the weekend ARRL chose, without checking with me, for their hugely popular annual DX Contest. There were a few thousand hams on 20m, most, it seemed, with a kilowatt and a pretty good beam competing with me barefoot with a dipole up all of fifteen feet.
I spotted myself on DXSummit.fi but apparently nobody cared. I raised my friend Rick on the local repeater and got him to listen for me at 14.244 a few miles away and we could barely hear one another on ground wave. We were in a wall of sound (and I was learning the value of a filter for sideband.)
So there’s my POTA Pickle; I’m in the right place and all set to operate POTA but cannot compete with a thousand big gun stations. Well golly, let’s join in on the fun then.
First I took down the End Fedz that just doesn’t work that well for me and put up my link dipole made from lamp cord and began to hunt and pounce. Worked a dozen international stations in an hour and called it, after all, a good non-POTA day.
This is Wayne, k4wk, http://www.hamdom.com. Thanks for listening; you’re in the log.