5 January 2022
K-3841 Falls Lake State Recreation Area NC
Rounding Out the Family Visit
This has been a reasonably long road trip. First a night at Dillon State Park in Ohio, then staying with some family near the DC metro in Virginia and last but not least it’s time to visit family near Raleigh, NC. This gave me an opportunity to activate a park one day. I chose Falls Lake just north of Raleigh (pronounced rally or ral-ee). This allowed me to get some coffee and snacks on the way.
Choosing a spot was the hardest part of the setup. Falls lake is huge but I stopped at one of the park pavilions to make it a bit easier.
I was instantly jealous of how nice the pavilions were. They all had trash cans with holders that were made as Eagle Scout projects. The one I stopped at even had a fireplace!
It was a chilly day for NC, but still plenty warm for what I’m used to. If I had known that there would be a fireplace I would of totally brought some wood and made a fire!
I used the normal 84′ random wire connected to the AH-705. I used the arborist throw line with great success. I accidently threw it to a branch above my target so I just went with it. It turned out to still be too low and the wire was vertical with a few feet extended down in at an angle.
Every time I deploy like this and think that it shouldn’t work… it works better than I would imagine. I know non resonant antenna shouldn’t work this well with QRP, but so far… more wire = more better.
On The Air
I quickly worked through 40ish stations making a few breaks to eat and enjoy the park. Even though it was chilly, I had the sun on my back and that kept me warm enough.
A Bug In The Machine
It might be hard to tell from the picture, but I had a visitor this day. Normally the N0SA portable paddles work great every time. This time however I was having some problems sending dits without smashing the paddle. Little did I know, but there were tiny bugs that were very interested in my paddles and one had gotten stuck between the contacts. Some quick field maintenance cleaning and I was back in business!
I’m currently in CWOPS CW Academy Advanced class. Part of the class is getting on the air for their CWT’s (CWops Test) and making as many contacts as possible. If you have tried out a CWT you know that these fists can move. I’ve tried them in the past using N1MM and the fill file that saves time and ensures you got the right info, but this was a park with spotty internet so that wasn’t an option. Also the instructor wanted us to do our CWT’s by hand 25wpm or higher. So why not bump that up a notch and do it in the field, cold, and QRP?! Hard mode selected! I managed to work four before considering it a success and packing up.
CW is challenging but rewarding. POTA activation is challenging but rewarding. CWT’s are challenging and rewarding. Doing them all together gave me a happy buzz to drive home to. It’s hard for me to think that in April 2021 I didn’t know a dit from a dah and now I’m working a high speed CWT portable QRP. Having a bit of perspective helps on the days that I feel like I can’t copy for snot or that my sending is all left feet QLF!
It would of been nice to have that fire going, but this will probably be one of my favorite activations for a while. North Carolina is beautiful and has some great parks. Propagation was good, but not great. I would of loved to work some DX, but maybe next time. Working the CWT portable was an experience and I can’t wait to try it again! Until then…
72 – KK9U