POTA Activation #4 - Fort Washington Park (MD) (3/5/2022)

The POTA website is a lot of fun. You can slice and dice your hunting and activations with all kinds of statistics, they have tons of fun awards to pursue, and they make it really fun to explore and daydream about parks to activate. After seeing a second state pop-up on my activations list when I activated DC, I figured it was time to get a third one on the board, too.

Even though I have lived in the area for almost my entire life, it was only in December of 2021 that I visited Fort Washington Park. Part of the National Park Service, the park has the remnants of a series of fortifications along the Potomac in the town of the same name in Prince George's County, Maryland. The first visit was to meet up with some friends so that our kids could run around and have fun together while we caught-up. While I was there I was taken aback by the beautifully elevated views of the water. I had only seen the fort from the Virginia side in the past, but being on top of them highlighted the immense scale of the place. There are a lot of buildings strewn across a large campus from different eras.

On my return trip, this time with radio in tow, I explored a picnic area that was a bit off the beaten path from the main attraction. There were many picnic tables, locked restroom facilities, and a playground. I mostly had the place to myself, with the exception of a couple families with kids playing on the playground, the occasional dog walker, and a kid with a gas powered scooter that made me very glad I had headphones with reasonable sound isolation.

I decided to use the Buddistick Pro again to continue getting to know it better and to see what it could do. After spending the previous day on 20 m, I decided to give 40 m a try on this day. I set up camp on 7.223 MHz, spotted myself, and almost immediately was working a bit of a POTA pile-up. I was getting great signal reports across the board, and was loving the wonderfully low noise floor I was seeing on 40 while at the park. Operating outside is pure pleasure.
In short order I got QSOs from PA, NC, VA, MA, MD, CT, NY, VT, NH, NJ, and Ontario, Canada. I also made two Park to Park contacts as well. All told I made 34 contacts in 56 minutes and had a blast doing it.
Gear used in this activation
  • Icom IC-705
  • Buddipole Buddistick Pro
  • LDG Z100 Plus
  • RigExpert Stick Pro Antenna Analyzer
  • Icom LC-192
  • Jackery Explorer 500
  • Sony Headphones
  • Samsung Galaxy S6 Lite Tablet
  • Logitech K380 Bluetooth Keyboard
  • Rite in the Rain Notebook
  • Zebra DelGuard Mechanical Pencil