POTA Activation #63: A Support Your Parks Weekend 4-fer (VA) (7/16/2023)

Four times a year, Parks on the Air has a special weekend where activators are encouraged to get out into the parks for what they call "Support Your Parks Weekend". I always try to get out at least once to activate during those weekends if I am able to do so. I had just gotten back home on Saturday from a two week vacation to Greece, so I was still recovering a bit from the jet lag, but I had some time in the afternoon and I had the itch to get out into a park and make some contacts. So I went to one of my favorite 4-fers along the banks of the Potomac River inside the George Washington Memorial Parkway to activate GWMP, the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail, and the Potomac Heritage Trail National Scenic Trail. In the interest of keeping things simple and being time efficient, I decided to make this one a mobile activation.

I decided to start on 20m and began hunting a Park to Park in Missouri. After making the contact I set up camp just above his frequency and started calling CQ. My first response was from KJ7DT in Idaho who always is good at making hunting magic, it would not be the last time today that he would be on my log. Then I heard from Wisconsin, Tennessee, Arkansas, Texas (3 stations in a row), Florida, Illinois, Florida, Colorado, Illinois, and Florida again. Then I heard a weak signal that I could hardly believe. It was KL7AC in Alaska giving me a call, 539 both ways, but man I'll take that any day. Some fantastic DX. Then I heard from Ohio and Tennessee and then things slowed down for a bit. After a few minutes I heard from DL2COM in Germany who came in at a 529, but we made the contact, more DX magic. After some more quiet, I switched to the 17m band and called CQ for a while but heard nothing but noise for a while until KJ7DT in Idaho broke the silence just above my noise floor at 529, he heard me a bit louder at 559, and he was in the log again. Next I heard from California after a few more CQs, and then crickets. It was time for another band, so I moved down to the 30m band and right off the bat I heard from Maine, Arkansas, Illinois, Florida, Wisconsin, and Georgia.

Next I heard a solid loud signal from a familiar call, KK4WDP, my friend Josh who was just a few miles away in Alexandria. I told him it was great to get him in the log, and then heard from Tennessee, Florida, Arkansas, Florida, and Tennessee. The contacts started to slow down a bit, and I hadn't been heard by some of my LICW friends who I knew were looking for me, so I decided to hop down to the 40m band to see if I could make it up to New York. In a word, yes. Contact number one on 40 was Ed, N2GSL, coming in a solid 559 and sounding great from NY. Always puts a smile on my face to get Ed in the log. Next up was Wisconsin, Michigan, and South Carolina. Then I heard from Karl K5KHK up in Rochester, NY who I got to meet at FDIM this year, and another station in New Jersey. That was followed by another LICW buddy Mike, N2PPI on Long Island, NY who I was excited to get into the log again. I had the good fortune to work him when I was on vacation in Greece while operating patio portable on battery power. Next up was South Carolina and another New York station followed by yet another LICW buddy, Chris N8PEM who had been activating a few SOTA summits earlier in the day and was doing his first POTA activation of the day. He came in like he was sitting next to me from Ohio and I was glad we were able to make it happen. I would try to hunt him later on 20, but would only hear the Spanish DX he was working at the time, and not him. Very glad to get him in the log on 40.

Next I heard from Georgia, New York, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Ontario (Canada), a Virginia station just down the road in Woodbridge, and then I heard Josh again, KK4WDP, for a second band just down the street in Alexandria. I thanked him for another one and then heard from another Virginia station, then Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina, and then finally a pair of Virginia stations before things got quiet again. I looked at my clock and saw it was getting late and I had been out for 90 minutes already, so I called QRT and called it an activation. By the end I had made 55 CW QSOS ranging from Alaska to Germany. So much fun. With a 4-fer, that was another 220 in the log and another Support Your Parks Weekend in the books.

International Activation QSO Map: Green Pins = CW / Green Lines = 40m, Orange Lines = 30m, Blue Lines = 20m, Purple Lines = 17m

Domestic Activation QSO Map: Green Pins = CW / Green Lines = 40m, Orange Lines = 30m, Blue Lines = 20m, Purple Lines = 17m

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