Sunday March 4th was a beautiful and slightly cool (mid-seventies) day in Jupiter, Florida and was the day I selected for my first #POTA activation (parksontheair.com). I picked the 11,000 acre Jonathan Dickinson State Park, KFF-1887, just six miles from my Florida QTH. I scouted out locations a few days earlier and chose the picnic area near the river, with cooperating pine trees with handy limbs. Using my unique antenna launch tool (see pic) on only the second try I hit my target limb and hoisted the “high” end of an EndFedz antenna cut for 20 meters. My battery was charged, I had my sandwich, I even had a cushion for the hard picnic table bench seat. Right on time I was ready to spot myself, all settled and happy. Do you hear a “but” coming?
This was also the weekend ARRL chose, without checking with me, for their hugely popular annual DX Contest. There were a few thousand hams on 20m, most, it seemed, with a kilowatt and a pretty good beam competing with me barefoot with a dipole up all of fifteen feet. I spotted myself on DXSummit.fi but apparently nobody cared. I raised my friend Rick on the local repeater and got him to listen for me at 14.244 a few miles away and we could barely hear one another on ground wave. We were in a wall of sound (and I was learning the value of a filter for sideband.)
So there’s my POTA Pickle; I’m in the right place and all set to operate POTA but cannot compete with a thousand big gun stations. Well golly, let’s join in on the fun then.
First I took down the End Fedz that just doesn’t work that well for me and put up my link dipole made from lamp cord and began to hunt and pounce. Worked a dozen international stations in an hour and called it, after all, a good non-POTA day.
This is Wayne, K4WK, http://www.hamdom.com. Thanks for listening; you’re in the log.