POTA Activation #50: A 2-Band 2-fer on the Commute to Work in Captain John Smith Chesapeake NHT and Potomac Heritage Trail NST

You would think that having hit up 10 parks on the rove I did over the weekend, I'd be wanting a break from activating. Nope. I just can't get enough lately. I had to come into the office today, so I decided to set the alarm for super early and get out into the parks for a morning CW activation. I had some errands to run, so I didn't get the early shift time in as I would have liked, but alas the car needs gas and I needed coffee (both brewed and in bean form), so I had to make some stops on the way into the District.

I was going to do another activation at Hains Point, but when I arrived, the gate was locked, so that was not to be. Thankfully, about a mile from there is another location that is also a 2-fer that I have activated before. You do have to pay for the street parking, but that's a small fee for 2 parks and a lot of fun. The DC area had a dusting of snow overnight, so at home I had clear the windshield. By the time I got into DC there was still a little snow on the grass (as you can see above) but thankfully nothing was sticking on the roads. It was a beautiful morning to activate in the shadow of the Washington Monument and on the banks of the mighty Potomac river.

I had mentioned to some Long Island CW Club members the previous evening that I might do a before-work activation, so as I tuned up my radio to the 30m band I sent a note out to our text group that I would soon be QRV on 10.111 MHz. After calling QRL and spotting myself on the POTA page, I was off to the races. My first contact was at 13:00:03 ... so not an Early Shift, but that's okay, I had coffee and life was good. That first contact hailed from Georgia, and the getting was good on 30m. Next came Florida, Michigan, Massachusetts, Ontario (Canada), Illinois, Texas, Connecticut, Florida, Virginia, Maryland, Florida, Indiana, Michigan, New York, Arkansas, Dan from Georgia (for the first of 2 bands for the day), Texas, and Massachusetts.

Then I got a very pleasant surprise and got a call from Chris, N8PEM from the Long Island CW Club out of Ohio. He teaches one of my favorite intermediate CW classes and is an all-around great guy. I was very happy to get him in the log and have our first on-air QSO. Next up I got a pair of calls from Georgia, including one that would work me on the next band, and finally one last contact on 30m with a station in Michigan. Things slowed down a bit, and I noticed several of the folks on the LICW text group mentioned they could not hear me up in the NY area. So I decided to fix that and QSY down to 40m.

The band was busy -- there must have been a contest or something. At first I started calling around 7.053, but shortly I had someone sending a wall of code over top of me, so I moved up to 7.062 and started calling there and updated the LICW crew. Very quickly I got a call from Virginia and then the pileup came! Wow there were a lot of people on top of each other. I was able to pull out a LICW member, Rin, W4RIN, out of the pileup with a solid signal out of Georgia. It was nice to get him in the log, next up was a station in Michigan, also booming. Then I heard Mike, N2PPI, also of LICW in NY with a solid signal, followed by super-hunter N3XLS in PA. After that I heard a quieter signal just off frequency with an N2 ... I had a hunch that might be Ed, N2GSL of LICW working QRP, so I sent out an N2? and sure enough it was Ed! He had a nice 559 signal on a Heathkit HW-9 and showed how it is done working QRP, making his signal stand out by not zero-beating me. Good to get Ed in the log too, with a 72. Next up the pile-up kept coming with calls from Virginia and Georgia. Then I got Dan, WD4DAN on a second band out o NC, and another big hunter, NE4TN with a big signal out of Tennessee. Then I got calls from West Virginia, Tennessee, a repeat caller from Georgia on a second band, North Carolina, Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and finally New Hampshire.

I looked at the clock and was faced with the reality that I had to end my activation and get to work. So after 43 contacts in 2 parks on 2 bands, I called QRT and called it an activation. It was great to be able to work so many friends early in the morning. What a great way to start the day.

Activation QSO Map: Green Pins = CW / Green Lines = 40m, Orange Lines = 30m

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