POTA K-7872 Stemler Cave Woods State Nature Preserve

12 September 2021

The weather here is finally starting to cool off so I decided to see how my pack does on something longer than a 50 foot walk from the parking lot. The parking area is pretty easy to miss, and only big enough for 4 cars max. The trail head is fairly overgrown as well but opens up nicely a few hundred feet in. Once inside you’re treated to a nice open wooded area with good shade and rolling hills. I didn’t see a cave entrance, but I could imagine there being quite the cave complex in there somewhere.

I looked at the map before heading out and the high point was probably about half way around the trail loop. The entire loop was just over 2 miles, so about half way in I found a nice flat high spot off the path and started setting up.


I figured there wouldn’t be a park table this time so I packed a 5’x5′ painters tarp. This worked out great, the bottom side has a trippy plastic coating that keeps you dry and prevents the tarp from moving around. This park did have a fair amount of bugs though so I started up the Thermacell and it did a good job of keeping the bugs to a minimum.

I used the slingshot and fishing line to set an initial line, then used the small reel again to pull the antenna up. I always under estimate and end up with the antenna a bit too low. Again I used a 41′ random wire with a 17′ counterpoise connected to the AH-705. This time the tuner was just laying on the ground.

I used this 3D printed wire winder that I found on Thingiverse to wind both wires, then I used it to pull the wire up into the tree as well. I printed a few designs out but I’ve liked this one the most so far.

You can see here that I just propped the fishing reel up in my backpack and it worked just fine.


I decided to try and use the key the way N0SA intended and used some velcro to stick it to my clipboard. I also used a smaller notebook this time. The combo worked great on a standard letter sized clipboard.

I felt about a thousand times more confident and less nervous getting on the air with CW this time. Much easier to copy calls and hydrating early and often made it easier to send. Having the key attached to the clipboard helped me stay consistent with sending as well.

I stayed on the air about an hour and wrapped it up with 16 in the log including two P2Ps. Mostly on 20M and 40M with one on 30M. I lugged the battery in so I decided to use the full 10W.

The sun was starting to get low so I decided to pack it up and hike out to the truck. It was a quick tear down and a nice hike back even if it was only a mile. So far I’m two for two with the CW activations, and it’s getting easier and more fun with each trip!

I never did find that endangered state-listed snail…

73 DE KK9U

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