26 September 2021
I was looking for a good spot for the 2021 Illinois QSO party and decided to try and do a POTA activation along side the QSO party. Looking at the POTA site I noticed that K-1029 Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park is on the boarder of Jefferson and Franklin counties. Pavilion 1 is even named County Line Picnic Area! I figured I should go check it out before committing to it, so I decided on a day trip POTA activation.
It’s an easy hour and a half drive from my house and absolutely perfect weather for it as well. I got there and parked at pavilion 1. There were two other people there, one was out with his metal detector and the other was early for a family picnic. I didn’t want to interrupt their picnic so I ate my lunch, walked around a bit, then headed off to find another spot. There were quite a few campers leaving, but still quite a few of the RV spots were full. I ended up setting up at pavilion 2 since it was empty and had decent trees nearby, which is something that pavilion 1 does not have.
I wanted to try out the new Buddistick Pro this weekend but it hasn’t shown up yet. Maybe next weekend! I went with my usual 41′ random wire and 17′ counterpoise connected to the AH-705. Radio as usual is the IC-705. Same key and clipboard as before but I used a mechanical pencil this time and I have to say I’m not going back. The pencil is the same one I use all day every day for note taking, and it works great in the field as well.
Somehow I completely forgot to take a good picture of the battery. You can just barely see it in the picture above. I used a Milwaukee M12 battery pack with their adapter. It has a 12v port and a USB port for charging. I tried it with the full 10w and it worked just fine. I turned the power back down to 5w and the battery lasted the whole time and indicated it was still half full.
I used the slingshot and fishing pole to get the line up in the tree and again misjudged the height so there was a little bit of a droopy antenna. Even with the antenna not being as high as possible and the tuner just sitting on the park bench it still worked quite well. It easily tuned 20/30/40 so away I went with CQ POTA de KK9U.
Band conditions have been all over the place lately so I wasn’t sure how well it would work out today. Turned out just fine and I managed to work 23. Best number yet and with only 5w. I started a second page and put only one contact down on it! I feel like I could of stayed longer, but the RTTY contest was still going strong and I was getting tired. Very happy with this activation as well. CW is getting easier, and I’m making less mistakes. This time I remembered to bring snacks and plenty to drink!
Another fun activation at a park I probably would of never been to otherwise. I look forward to returning for the IL QSO party on 17 October 2021.
72 – KK9U