POTA Activation #34: Just Passing Through POTA at St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park (FL) (12/23/2022)

The trip to St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park took us on a bit of a detour from the direct route to our destination after we had to take a pit stop along the way. We ended up winding our way through suburban Palm Bay until we got to the visitor center. The center was quite nice with helpful staff and a nice parking lot for the activation as well as rest room facilities. Interstate 95 runs through the middle of the park, so we could have conceivably activated from the side of the road, but that would have been significantly less pleasant.

My mom decided to go and check out the visitor center while I got the third and final activation of the day underway. 20m had been good to me, so I decided to give it another go, once again on CW.

I pulled out the phone, spotted myself on 14.042 MHz, and started calling CQ on my CW Morse SP4 paddle. Now safely away from power transmission lines, the sweet sounds of an S0 noise floor allowed me to hear every signal as Yaesu intended. My first call back was from North Carolina, followed by Maine , and Maryland. A good start from my location in Florida. Next I heard from Wisconsin, Texas (a station who also worked me in the previous park), North Carolina, Alabama, West Virginia, a pair of Pennsylvania stations, and Ohio.

Then I was treated to a very familiar call, K4SWL. I was very happy to hear Thomas and to get him in the log. I slowed down the pace a bit to say hello and thank him before getting back to the pile-up that the activation had attracted. Next up was a station from Maryland, one from Minnesota, a pair from Tennessee, one from Massachusetts, a Virginia station with a great CW call sign (W5FB -- FB is used in CW to mean "Fine Business" when you're positively acknowledging something someone had sent you), Texas (this time from another repeat hunter), Kentucky, Texas, Louisiana, Virginia, Florida, New Jersey, Illinois, Tennessee, and finally one last caller from Texas. I had a pause in the pile-up for the first time, so I let the silence hang there for a few moments and finally called QRT DE N2EC and the activation was complete.

All told, in 37 minutes on the air I made 31 contacts and had a whole lot of fun in the process. It would have been nice to explore this park a bit more as it looks like it has a lot to offer, but I was expected down in Stuart, so I put away my key and left the park with another activation in the books. While I've technically activated more parks in a single day when doing my 4-fer activations, this was my first time doing multiple parks in multiple locations in a single day. I did do two locations in Shenandoah National Park in one calendar day, but it was two different Zulu days. The new Yaesu FT-891 paired with the ATAS 120A is really showing itself to be a solid performer and I'm excited to have it as part of my park activating toolkit.

I hope to get a proper rove in sometime soon. POTA has awards for activating 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 parks in a single Zulu day. There used to be distance requirements depending on the mode of transportation, but now it is just individual references. It would be fun to see just how many I can activate when I get back home, and if multi-park activations count, there are some good places to help raise the number of parks a bit in the DC area.

For now, I hope to be able to activate more while on my trip to Florida, and if the scheduling works out, I'll post it here.
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