Last Labor Day weekend, I headed out with my portable radio gear to Shabbona Lake State Park, designation (POTA K-4103) with the intent to do a POTA (Parks On The Air) activation. For those that know me, they know how much I enjoy the outdoors, and combining it with ham radio is an added bonus.
Everything went to plan, and after a little over an hour of driving, I found a nice shaded spot inside the state park where I could setup my radio. I decided to keep things simple, so I setup my 20m telescopic dipole mounted on a tripod based telescopic pole.
Using my FT-891 at 70 watts output, and a Bioenno 12Ah battery, I racked up around 25 contacts. Only 10 are needed to make this an official activation, per the POTA rules. Included in these contacts were stations in California, Wyoming, Utah and several on the east coast.
The highlight was working a station in the Canary Islands. Although a little annoyed at first, a strong station started up 1 kHz above where I had been calling CQ. So, I checked to see where the QRM was coming from and lo and behold, it was EA8AM. Luckily for me, because he was just firing up, there wasn’t time yet for a pileup, so I managed to contact him on my first attempt. Right place, right time!
Here is a video that I posted on YouTube, that documents my trip to the park.