POTA Activation #29: A 4-fer on 7 bands with Gersohn in George Washington Memorial Parkway, Captain John Smith Chesapeake NHT, Star Spangled Banner NHT, and Potomac Heritage NST (VA) (10/30/2022)

As sunspot cycle 25 has been coming into its own recently the higher bands have been coming alive with the sound of Amateur Radio. On the day before Halloween, the DC area was having a particularly pleasant fall afternoon, so I decided to get out into Belle Haven Park inside the George Washington Memorial Parkway and meet up with my buddy Gersohn for some fun in the Autumn sun on the bands. As is frequently the case, I setup where several POTA park entities overlap, so I was also adjacent to the Captain John Smith Chesapeake NHT, the Star-Spangled Banner NHT, and the Potomac Heritage Trail NST. Four Parks for the price of one.

Since the bands were active, I decided to use my 40-10m EFHW teamed with my antenna tuner to keep things nice and frequency agile. I started out on 20m CW since I figured when Gerson arrived, he might want to use that band. I got my first response at 17:39Z from a station in Alabama and then in short order made contacts with South Carolina, Georgia, Michigan, Texas, Ontario (Canada), Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, and Texas. Then I was very pleased to hear my buddy and fellow Long Island CW Club member Ed, W4EMB, giving me a call from Tennessee. It was great to get him in the log. After Ed, I got calls from Texas, Florida, Wisconsin, Michigan, Tennessee, Illinois, and Indiana.

Gersohn arrived and we chatted for a bit and he setup some of his equipment. I decided to implement my plan to work a bunch of bands and gave 10m a go on CW. Right away I picked up New Mexico, Texas, Montana, France, another hunter from Texas who worked me a second time on this second band, and Northern Virginia. After things slowed down a bit, I moved down to 12m and didn't get any CW callers. I really wanted the band though to add to my N1CC award titles, so I pulled out FT8 on the laptop and contacted Minnesota, and Texas.

Next up it was time to get back on CW and move down to the 15m band. First to respond was an operator across the country in Washington State followed a couple minutes later by Arkansas. Things didn't seem to be as active on 15, so I moved down again to the 17m band where my first contact was with North Dakota, followed by Idaho, Texas, South Dakota, Alabama, and Florida. Hard to believe I got both Dakotas on a single band within a few minutes of each other!

After things slowed down a bit I moved to my 6th band, old reliable, the 40m band. My first response was from Tennessee, then Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, another Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Tennessee, Massachusetts, Ontario (Canada), Pennsylvania, Florida, Illinois, New Hampshire, and a second contact from a station in Michigan. As time was getting late and I had to prepare to go QRT, I decided to give one more band a try, 60m. In a few minutes I had replies from New York, Georgia, and a final contact with North Carolina.

What a fun activation! I'm really enjoying being able to activate on the higher bands. The different skip distances allow for some states and DX that I don't usually get in the logs. At the end of the day, my 10W and a wire netted me 59 contacts in about 2:30. I really enjoyed being out with Gersohn just a few feet from the Potomac at one of our favorite activation spots.

Activation QSO Map: Green Pins = CW, Blue Pins = FT8 / Black Lines = 60m, Green Lines = 40m, Blue Lines = 20m, Purple Lines = 17m, Pink Lines = 12m, Cyan Lines = 15m, Yellow Lines = 10m

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