POTA Activation #18 - Myrtle Beach State Park (SC) (7/6/2022)

Just one day after my successful activation of Huntington Beach State Park we took a trip just up the road to Myrtle Beach State Park for some time at the beach and fun on the air. As soon as you pull off of US-17 Business at the park entrance you're taken through a dense forested drive that winds around until you emerge in a parking lot just behind the dunes that protect the beach. It was a bit busier than it was over at Huntington Beach State Park, so we went South along the drive that parallels the beach until we found a parking spot near the beach access. Conveniently, a sizable covered pavilion was near where we had parked our car, so we had a great spot to eat the picnic lunch we had brought with us. It was also a great spot to be able to activate the park in the shade. A short walk from the pavilion was a bathroom facility with changing rooms.

The area around the pavilion was fenced off, so getting a line up into the trees was not going to be an easy proposition. Thankfully, I brought my Buddistick Pro with me, so I was able to set it up just outside the pavilion with the vertical and radials out of the way of passers-by. I was able to get everything up and running pretty quickly on 20m and my daughter helped me call CQ for a few contacts.

The first contact on SSB was from Florida, followed by Indiana, Arkansas, and Kentucky. After some initial success things slowed on SSB, so my family headed to the beach for some time in the sun and sand and I shifted down to the CW portion of the band to see what I could do with my paddle.

Conditions may not have been fantastic this day, but I made up for it with persistence. I made contacts via CW with North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Tennessee, Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin, Texas (a Park to Park contact), Iowa, two more Texas contacts, Illinois, West Virginia, and a Park to Park with Colorado. Finally, I looked at the spots and decided to hunt for whatever Park to Park stations I could find and ended up getting one on SSB in Ohio.

With 16 CW contacts, 5 SSB, and 3 Park to Parks for a total of 21, I decided to call it an activation and join the family on the beach. Not the highest QSO count, but still a lot of fun. After breaking down the station and changing into my swim trunks, I went into the water with my daughter. Although the surf was a bit rough, we had a lot of fun cooling off in the cool waters of the Atlantic.

One thing of note: this park, like Huntington Beach to the South can be closed if the parking lots fill up (we experienced that on a weekend day going to Huntington), so if you're going to activate on a weekend, you may want to get in early. That said, with the shelter and facilities, this is a fun place for an activation and a swim.

Activation QSO Map: Red Pins = SSB, Green Pins = CW / Blue Lines = 20m

Gear used in this activation
  • Icom IC-705
  • Buddipole Buddistick Pro Antenna
  • LDG Z100 Plus
  • RigExpert Stick Pro Antenna Analyzer
  • CW Morse Pocket Double Paddle Morse Code Key with Magnets
  • CW Morse Steel Base for Pocket Paddles
  • Icom LC-192
  • Bioenno 12V 6Ah LiFePO4 Battery
  • Sony Headphones
  • Dell XPS 13 Laptop
  • Rite in the Rain Notebook
  • Zebra DelGuard Mechanical Pencil