#POTA Activation of JD Mac Arthur SP in South Florida

This, my second POTA activation, was a much bigger su20180321_171323ccess (39 qso’s in an hour) than the first (a mere dozen), despite #2 being on a weekday afternoon vs. Sunday for #1.  I attribute this to my savvy scheduling to avoid ARRL’s DX Contest and at the same time, ARRL’s respectful consideration for a Big Gun like me in not trying to compete!  As the Borg said, “Resistance is Futile.”

The other big factor was getting a few hams to spot me on the clusters.  I was quite surprised, and thrilled actually, to be the subject of a pileup for a few minutes.  Imagine, lil’ ol’ me, being sought after; I hardly knew how to handle the fame!

Things started kinda slow, my first contact being a ham about two miles away; I’m thinking, oh boy, this’ll be a long afternoon.  Will I ever get the requisite ten qso’s to count a POTA activation?  I tried to spot myself but on Dxsummit.fi it is so awkward to do on your smartphone.  With ten thumbs like me, mistakes are made.  I did ask several hams to spot me and soon a few did, and then I was in demand, even at 4pm on a Tuesday afternoon.  I never knew there were so many retired or unemployed hams sitting around bored during the day.  From South Florida I worked hams in NY, CT, MI, PA, MN, AZ, CA, England and Spain!

I used my link dipole antenna up approx 24′ at the apex, set for 20m.  By closing a pair of links, it can be reset for 30 or 40 meters.  I built this antenna a while back, and tuned and trimmed it carefully for each of these bands, so no tuner necessary.  I’ve tried a PAR EndFedz and a homebrew Buddipole for HF and this is the best for me, thus far.


From left to right: the dipole (made of speaker wire) rolled up on custom deluxe wire winder; middle, the handsomely crafted center SO; and right, the links for 30m, left open so antenna resonates at the shorter 20m cut.  Note “stress relief” at the SO and use of safety pins to carry the tension of the dipole when hoisted.  Below is pic of my antenna launching tool; it was too heavy at first so I drank half the contents.  Also below is a pic of my tie down line, fluorescent builder’s twine.  I’ve decided to be stealthier in the future and will change that out for something that’ll blend better.


I want to be stealthier so I don’t draw attention to my station and my suspicious behaviors.  Even though I have a right to be there at a picnic table not all Park Rangers got the memo and some may think they should run me off.  Last week a Ranger did stop by and I thought “well, here we go,” but actually he just wanted to chat; his Dad had been a ham, so I tried to recruit him.  I had another visitor, too; note to self, don’t operate so close to garbage cans!


And finally, a note to the wise for operating out of doors in Florida; bring your bottle!


This is Wayne,  k4wk, http://www.hamdom.com.  Thanks for listening; you’re in the log.

Wayne Robertson, K4WK, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Georgia, USA.

5 Responses to “#POTA Activation of JD Mac Arthur SP in South Florida”

  • Dave, WD8CIV:

    Wait, you were operating from MacArthur Park? A place that famous ought to be worth three activations.

    But now I’ll have that song stuck in my head all day.

  • Newt N4EWT:

    FB OM on the successful NPOTA activation! Now I will have to make a similar antenna to carry with my end fedz. Thanks for the tip about insect control. I don’t think I could consume a whole bottle of Cutter’s but I am game to drink a half bottle to keep the blood suckers away!

  • Bill KB4KFT:

    I’ve been doing these sorts of things, we sometimes call them LxPedition, for several
    years. I have a pretty nice shack at home, probably do 80% or more of my operating
    from the back deck of the SUV, handy picnic tables, in January in South Carolina a
    rock wall around a very old cemetery.

    If you’ve never tried this sort of thing you are missing out on a fun activity. POTA is optional – there are all sorts of places to setup and operate for a while.

  • Wayne Robertson, k4wk:

    Newt, just so you know, you don’t have to drink Cutters or even, ick, water. Other beverages are possible.

    Bill, you’ve been my inspiration, yes really! I admire how much you operate outside. I will point out tho that with a POTA or SOTA-type activation, you get spotted and chasers start looking for you, leading to more qso’s. That’s why my LxPeditions are at parks and summits, and maybe beaches, lighthouses, and castles eventually.

    73, Wayne

    p.s., Don’t leave your cake out in the rain, IMHO.

  • Bert AG4BV:

    Congratulations Wayne!!
    You did great. Was that Rocky the raccoon looking for a handout? 😉

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