POTA Activation #36: New Year's Eve with 4 Bands and 4 Parks-in-one with the XYL at George Washington Memorial Parkway, Potomac Heritage Trail NST, Captain John Smith Chesapeake NHT, and Star-Spangled Banner NHT (VA) (12/31/2022)

We were having an easy day at home for New Year's Eve and I asked my wife if she would like to go for a quick jaunt over to the park to do an activation with me. Much to my pleasant surprise, she said yes, and we were off in the car to one of the 4-fer spots near my house. The weather was pretty dreary with rain and fog enveloping the Potomac, but since we were using my new mobile setup, we were cozy and dry in an almost empty park. Normally we can see the dock for Mount Vernon, but today, the fog over the Potomac was thick enough that our visibility did not include the dock.

Before leaving the house, I had a look at the MUF map, and saw that all the bands from 10m down should be open, so I decided to get started on 10m SSB and work my way down from there. I offered to let my XYL run the mic in a control operating situation under my call, but she opted to just soak in the fog laden scenery and listen in. Unfortunately, I only thought about pictures after we had headed home, so I don't have any pictures to share of this activation, save the activation map below.

I got my FT-891 set-up on a blank patch of spectrum in the technician portion of the 10m band, tuned up the ATAS 120A, spotted myself on POTA and started calling CQ on SSB (I thought my XYL would appreciate to hear the voices from far off places instead of the incessant beeping that only an amateur radio operator can love). Pretty quickly I heard back from a station in Arizona, and after a few more minutes I got a call back from Saskatchewan (Canada), Idaho, Minnesota, Saskatchewan (Canada) again, and finally Venezuela. My signal was getting out, but there weren't too many people on, so after giving another try for about 10 minutes, I moved on down to the 12m band.

On 12m, things started slowly, but I got a booming signal from Puerto Rico coming in, and had a nice quick QSO thanking him for his call and wishing him a very Happy New Year. After a few more minutes I got a response from Wyoming and then there was much calling of CQ, but not much in the way of a response. So I moved the VFO down to 15m, gave the ATAS a tune, and tried yet another band.

The first call was from Texas, then Minnesota, Kansas, Illinois, Wyoming, Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, Florida, Missouri, Arkansas, Minnesota, and Missouri. Then I heard a station from Panama and had a nice chat thanking him for his call and wishing him a very Happy New Year. He was followed by Florida, California, Missouri, Texas, Missouri, Idaho, Florida,and one last call from Idaho.

All-in-all I had 32 contacts in 50 minutes, all on SSB. Pretty respectable considering the higher bands were slower going than the lower ones. I would have kept on going, but we were getting close to dinner time, so it was time to call QRT and head on home. It was fun having my wife along with me and being able to activate when the weather outside was dreary.

Activation QSO Map: Green Pins = CW, Red Pins = SSB / Purple Lines = 17m, Cyan Lines = 15m, Pink Lines = 12m, Yellow Lines = 10m

Gear used in this activation
  • Yaesu FT-891
  • Yaesu ATAS 120A Antenna
  • 2006 Honda Accord EX V6
  • Samsung Galaxy S10+
  • HAMRS Logging App