POTA Activation #28: A Support Your Parks Weekend 4-fer CW Activation at Riverside Park in George Washington Memorial Parkway, Captain John Smith Chesapeake NHT, Star Spangled Banner NHT, and Potomac Heritage NST (VA) (10/15/2022)

Sometimes life comes at you fast and you don't have the time to get out. That definitely was my last month an a half. Thankfully, on October 15, I had a bit of time for an activation on the POTA Fall Support Your Parks Weekend. It was a beautiful day, so I brought my daughter along with me to enjoy some fresh air at one of our local parks that is one of my favorite activating locations. We lucked out and got one of the prime picnic tables nestled between the Potomac River and the Mount Vernon Trail, easily within the activation zone for 4 parks. There were no shortage of beautiful trees to assist with the use of my MFJ 1984 MP End Fed Half Wave, so with a quick throw of my arborist line, my antenna was lifted skyward and I was quickly on the air.

had been hearing reports of how the higher bands had been "on fire" of late, so I decided to start at the top with 10m and see what I could get. After several calls on 10 without any takers, I hopped down to 12, and similarly had no luck. Next was 15m, and there I did get two contacts with Louisiana and Florida and then the contacts dried up. So I decided to move down to 20m, and boy was that band "on fire". The first contact came from Maine, followed by some nice DX with Belgium.

Michigan, Florida, and Tennessee came next. Another hit of DX was in the cards with a contact in Finland, followed by Missouri, Georgia, Florida. DX came again with the Dominican Republic, followed by Georgia, Florida, Michigan, Colorado, Maine. Then more DX, with a call from France, followed by Minnesota, Kansas, Montreal (Canada), Illinois, Texas, Oregon, Missouri, Indiana, Iowa, and Michigan. More DX was in store from Germany followed by Missouri, Indiana, Illinois, another contact with Germany, Texas, Georgia, Florida, and finally Utah.

Usually when I activate, I don't get a lot of attention from passers-by, but this day I had a friendly woman who had a lot of questions and seemed excited by the calls from far away stations around the globe. I tried to be a good ambassador for the hobby, answering questions and trying to do some real-time decoding of the calls coming in. I have to admit, it was quite a challenge to manage to answer her questions while still making the contacts on CW. My daughter helped with answering many of the questions and chatted with her while I was making contacts in rapid fire. The 20m part of the activation was pretty much non-stop.

I had to cut things short as my daughter was hungry and anxious to head home. In an hour and two minutes I made 42 contacts in 7 countries -- a quick but decidedly effective activation. Although I didn't have time to hunt, I did get 2 park to park contacts who hunted me, ending up counting as 8 when the 4-fer was counted. Sunspot Cycle 25 is starting to get really exciting -- getting these kind of results with 10 Watts and a wire is exhilarating. So much fun.

Activation QSO Map: Green Pins = CW / Blue Lines = 20m, Cyan Lines = 15m

Gear used in this activation
  • Icom IC-705
  • MFJ 1984 MP End-Fed Half Wave Antenna
  • LDG Z100 Plus
  • CW Morse Pocket Double Paddle Morse Code Key with Magnets
  • CW Morse Steel Base for Pocket Paddles
  • RigExpert Stick Pro Antenna Analyzer
  • Icom LC-192
  • Bioenno 12V 6Ah LiFePO4 Battery
  • Sony Headphones
  • Dell XPS 13 Laptop
  • Rite in the Rain Notebook
  • Zebra DelGuard Mechanical Pencil