POTA Activation #32: Just Passing Through POTA at Lake Monroe State Conservation Area (FL) (12/23/2022)

Our family went to Florida for the holiday season to visit family and decided to take the Auto Train from our QTH near DC down to Sanford, Florida just outside Orlando. We have taken it several times and it is a more pleasant way to get down to Florida then the marathon drive. We brought two cars with us this time, so I was driving my car along with my mother to make our way down to the Treasure Coast of Florida. Looking at the POTA map, as I frequently do, I realized that we would be very close to three different POTA references on our trip to Stuart. So I did a bit of research, planned a route, and decided to use the new mobile HF setup to see what kind of contacts we could get with a Yaesu FT-891, 100 W, and an ATAS 120A in a short period of time. I didn't want to take all day, just have a few pit stops along the way, so I was a bit worried that either band conditions or a scarcity of hunters would make getting 10 difficult.

The park itself was quite easy to get to, just off a main road with lots of parking. I set up in an empty parking lot for the trailhead in the park. In terms of making contacts -- I should not have worried. At all. I spotted myself and started calling CQ on 20m and my first caller was Maryland at 529 both ways. Thankfully this park was low in noise, so that was workable, but then the pileup came with many strong signals. There were so many callers it was hard even getting a single character out of the warbling tone to limit the callers. In rapid succession I got North Carolina, Texas, Missouri, Virginia, Texas, North Carolina, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Tennessee, Arizona, Arkansas, Kentucky, Kansas, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Kentucky, Idaho, and Delaware.

This mini-rove was off to an auspicious start. 24 QSOS on CW in 27 minutes, not bad. I was originally thinking of sticking to a lower number, but there were so many callers I felt bad calling QRT right away. Eventually, I had to do it, and we made our way off to the next park.

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

Gear used in this activation
  • Yaesu FT-891
  • Yaesu ATAS 120A Antenna
  • CW Morse SP4 POTA/SOTA Mini Morse Code Magnetic Paddle (N0SA Designed)
  • 2006 Honda Accord EX V6
  • Samsung Galaxy S10+
  • HAMRS Logging App