POTA Activation #2 - George Washington Memorial Parkway (VA) (2/27/2022)

For my second activation I decided to try something closer to home and went to Riverside Park in the George Washington Memorial Parkway (K-0670VA). I was a bit ambitious in my plans, as I was determined to try using a new antenna that I had not setup before, the Buddipole Buddistick Pro. The antenna is an engineering marvel, but is a bit more challenging to get going. I was able to get it assembled quickly, but was having a hard time getting it to tune to the right SWR where I wanted to operate. After about a half hour, I decided to bring out my MFJ 1984 MP end-fed half wave antenna, and was able to get quickly on the air.

In hindsight, I now know what the problem was: the Buddistick Pro requires an elevated radial (provided). I was using a hiking pole for this task, but it was aluminum. I think that there was some capacitive coupling going on there that was making a good match all but impossible. I was able to fix it later after acquiring a $3 electric fence post, but more on that another day.
After getting the EFHW into the trees I was off and running. Below is a picture of part of the Buddistick Pro which would share in the adventures of the next activation. In the background you can see how beautiful the park is. It is nestled between the George Washington Parkway and the Mount Vernon Trail alongside the Potomac River. On the other side of the bench in the distance is the pier at George Washington's Mount Vernon. Everywhere you turn there are heritage trees and gorgeous views. Right at the crest of a small hill sit a few picnic tables under the shade of those trees, and that's where I set up.
This activation had another first -- I used HAMRS for logging alongside my paper log. This made the submissions much easier, and paired with a bluetooth keyboard I was able to quickly get things into the log. Thankfully, I didn't forget any equipment this time, and I was able to set up a very comfortable operating position with a gorgeous view. I still default to paper logs (they tend not to crash -- although HAMRS has not failed me thus far), but I try to get things in the logs straightaway. If I have internet access on my phone I can even send off my logs to Parks on the Air before I even leave the park.
Learning from my last activation, I decided to get things started on 40m and set up on 7.290 MHz and gave myself a spot. Right away people found me, and the first call was N4D, a 1x1 special event station for the NC QSO Party. From there the calls kept coming from NC, SC, MD, PA, VA NY, KY, Ontario Canada, MI, and WV. After things slowed down a bit, I decided to go for redemption on 20m and made several more contacts with operators in AL, WI, GA, MI, LA, and FL. I also picked-up 6 Park to Park contacts, for a grand total of 43 contacts in 2:01 on the air. Amazing what 10W and a bit of wire can do.
I heard a station operating out of DC, but unfortunately, he could not hear me. That missed contact inspired the next activation to come. More on that soon.

This was a great activation, even if it started out a bit rocky with the antenna issues -- and spoiler alert: those get resolved in our next episode.

Gear used in this activation
  • Icom IC-705
  • MFJ 1984 MP
  • LDG Z100 Plus
  • RigExpert Stick Pro Antenna Analyzer
  • Icom LC-192
  • Jackery Explorer 500
  • Sony Headphones
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 Lite Tablet
  • Logitech K380 Bluetooth Keyboard
  • Rite in the Rain Notebook
  • Zebra DelGuard Mechanical Pencil