On January 26th 2019, aka Winter Field Day, I decided to deploy a portable station at the Moraine Hills State Park, in Illinois (map).
I chose this location because, as a bonus, it is also a Parks On The Air (POTA) recognized location, so I would be able to take part in WFD as well as activate this park for POTA ‘hunters’. The reference for this park is K1012 and more details about POTA can be found here.
I ran a QRP station for portable work, using an Icom IC-703+ HF/6m transceiver. On this day, and because of the cold temperatures (10 degrees), I chose to just run with one antenna on 20m.
First, I needed to make sure my 20m dipole was resonant for the SSB portion of 20m. Check (good enough!).
Next, getting the antenna deployed at a reasonable height. Check.
Despite making the antenna as stealthy as possible (can you see it below?), the park ranger was interested and asked a few questions. After being told the reason for this setup, he wanted to know the furthest contact. Very nice chap.
In order to officially ‘activate’ a POTA park, a minimum of 10 contacts must be made. Logs are then submitted to the POTA coordinators who upload to their database and all the statistics, awards, etc., are updated for all to see.
Operating as both WFD (1 Oscar IL), and POTA K-1012, I made 12 QRP contacts beating my previous POTA record of 11. Conditions (both band and weather) were not favorable, and as the snow was coming down, after operating for around 2 hours, I decided to call it a day and find a place to warm up.
This was my first WFD portable deployment, and just my second POTA activation.