Friday evening, Mary K4SEZ and I traveled to FD Roosevelt State Park for a weekend in a very nice cabin. The cabin is located on Pine Mountain with some exceptional views. As you can guess, I brought some radios with me. I went QRV right before 1800 hrs. local to make sure all my equipment worked prior to the contest. Besides, the contest I had a regional HF net that I needed to check into Saturday morning. The contest starts at 0800 hrs local Saturday and the net was also at 0800 and lasted about 20 minutes.
Friday night was amazing! Twenty and forty meters was wide open. Using FT8, I made 223 contacts between 1800 hrs Friday and 0300 hrs Saturday morning. I worked stations as far west as Japan and Australia and as far east as Rwanda, Ukraine, and European Russia. Unfortunately, the rest of the weekend was not near as exciting. Between 0800 hrs Saturday morning and 1230 hrs Sunday, I made an additional 477 contacts. The bands were up and down and the pace was a little slower. I worked 48 States and 34 countries when it was all said and done. Sunday morning had an opening on 10 meters and I made 19 contacts many into Europe. In total, I had 700 contacts.
My antenna was my tried and true homebrew 28.5-foot random wire antenna which I named my K4SWL antenna as the original idea from Tom. It uses one 17-foot counterpoise. On this trip, the wire I used was 14 ga (I think), coated Flexweave I got from The Wireman many years ago. I was using some 20-something gauge I got from SOTABeams but because I use this antenna a lot, I worried about the thin wire breaking. I use a 9:1 UnUn with a 1:1 current BalUn to help with matching. The antenna is matched by an LDG RT/RC 100 matching unit. This is fairly new to and so far I like it. The tuning circuit out by the antenna helps keep stray RF out of the shack. It was also quite windy here Friday night and Saturday. The antenna held up well. The only issues I had were some of the sections on my MFJ push-up pole would collapse affecting the tuning. This pole is probably nearly 20 years old and should be replaced.
The radio was “The Rock” my IC-7300. I ran FT8 the whole time at 35-45 watts and the temperature gauge on the radio never moved past cool. Now that the FTDX10 has found a home in the shack, it’s nice to have my old friend back in the field with me.
The cabin is located on the ridge line of Pine Mountain, elevation ~1250′ ASL. Besides great views, it also gave my antenna a large aperture which may account for the many DX contacts I made.
I mainly worked FT8 as I also had to listen to a couple of conferences on the Internet and didn’t want to disturb my wife when she was doing things other than radio. We had a nice weekend away and of course, being able to bring radios is a huge bonus. When I get back home and settled, I may send the log to the GA POTA people. I don’t really contest anymore but they might find it useful for cross-checking.
Here is a YouTube Video of the activation.
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