Horseshoe Lake

7 November 2022

K-0998 Horseshoe Lake State Park

New Radio New Park

Wow wow wow! Today really lined up to be a fun day in the park. I put in my order for a KX2 while deployed on the 4th of July and it finally came in today four months later. I pulled it out of the box and immediately hooked up the battery to the charger. I wasn’t sure if I was going to have time to hit a park before sunset, but the battery only took a couple of hours to charge the first time. That gave me just enough time to skim the manual and get some basic settings plugged in.

Horseshoe Lake

My wife had some errands to run and said I should probably get out to a park before I had a heart attack. One of the closest parks that I hadn’t been to before was only 20 minutes North of me. I didn’t really know what to expect but was happily surprised to find a clean and well kept state park. It’s really setup for fishing with lots of spots to spread out and picnic tables all along the lake shore. The park also connects with the local bike path and has some walking trails that I’ll have to come back and check out with the wife.


I had purchased just about every accessory that Elecraft offers for the KX2 including the AX1 antenna. Just the other day I had great success on 20M with my semi-homebrew 17′ vertical so I thought I would give the AX1 a shot to see how it compared. Not exactly apples to apples since this is a different park on a different day with a different radio, but it was worth a try. I setup on a nice table overlooking the lake with a view of downtown St. Louis and the arch. Just the AX1 propped up by it’s bipod and the included counterpoise draped across the table and then pinned under a rock.


I gave out a couple of CQ POTA’s and checked my spot on the page. I was there so I knew I was getting out. After just a couple more CQ’s I got a response… and then another… and then another. A solid stream of hunters came my way for 20 contacts in a row.

Wow, this little AX1 really performed better than I was expecting it to. The whip is only 45″ tall so it looks like something that came off of a cheap boom box, but wow did it work! My furthest contacts were in Oregon and Western Canada with plenty from other states.

The KX2 is a joy to operate. Everything works in a very logical way, the display is super easy to read, and the key mounted on the radio doesn’t move at all. I really liked having the built in clock, but it’s got some nice info that you can easily scroll through.

This is exactly what I was expecting and hoping for from Elecraft. Tiny size and big performance with great ergonomics.

QRT and Packing Up

It doesn’t get much easier to pack up than this. I had brought a lot of random stuff with me, but it was time for dinner and I had to get home so I only ended up using what I packed in the Elecraft ES60 and my clipboard.

The St. Louis Arch in the background of the lake.

Great weather for a fun day in the park with a new radio. Can’t wait to drag this little radio out on future adventures!

72 – KK9U

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