This, my second POTA activation, was a much bigger success (39 qso’s in an hour) than the first (a mere dozen), despite #2 being on a weekday afternoon vs. Sunday for #1. I attribute this to my savvy scheduling to avoid ARRL’s DX Contest and at the same time, ARRL’s respectful consideration for a Big Gun like me in not trying to compete! As the Borg said, “Resistance is Futile.”
The other big factor was getting a few hams to spot me on the clusters. I was quite surprised, and thrilled actually, to be the subject of a pileup for a few minutes. Imagine, lil’ ol’ me, being sought after; I hardly knew how to handle the fame!
Things started kinda slow, my first contact being a ham about two miles away; I’m thinking, oh boy, this’ll be a long afternoon. Will I ever get the requisite ten qso’s to count a POTA activation? I tried to spot myself but on Dxsummit.fi it is so awkward to do on your smartphone. With ten thumbs like me, mistakes are made. I did ask several hams to spot me and soon a few did, and then I was in demand, even at 4pm on a Tuesday afternoon. I never knew there were so many retired or unemployed hams sitting around bored during the day. From South Florida I worked hams in NY, CT, MI, PA, MN, AZ, CA, England and Spain!
I used my link dipole antenna up approx 24′ at the apex, set for 20m. By closing a pair of links, it can be reset for 30 or 40 meters. I built this antenna a while back, and tuned and trimmed it carefully for each of these bands, so no tuner necessary. I’ve tried a PAR EndFedz and a homebrew Buddipole for HF and this is the best for me, thus far.
From left to right: the dipole (made of speaker wire) rolled up on custom deluxe wire winder; middle, the handsomely crafted center SO; and right, the links for 30m, left open so antenna resonates at the shorter 20m cut. Note “stress relief” at the SO and use of safety pins to carry the tension of the dipole when hoisted. Below is pic of my antenna launching tool; it was too heavy at first so I drank half the contents. Also below is a pic of my tie down line, fluorescent builder’s twine. I’ve decided to be stealthier in the future and will change that out for something that’ll blend better.
I want to be stealthier so I don’t draw attention to my station and my suspicious behaviors. Even though I have a right to be there at a picnic table not all Park Rangers got the memo and some may think they should run me off. Last week a Ranger did stop by and I thought “well, here we go,” but actually he just wanted to chat; his Dad had been a ham, so I tried to recruit him. I had another visitor, too; note to self, don’t operate so close to garbage cans!
And finally, a note to the wise for operating out of doors in Florida; bring your bottle!
This is Wayne, k4wk, http://www.hamdom.com. Thanks for listening; you’re in the log.