Saturday, January 2, 2016

NPOTA activation at NS73

Activation day finally arrived. I arrived at the Ulysses S Grant Historic Site located in St. Louis MO. around 1830z and promptly checked in with the front desk. They had no idea what I was there for but the special use permit took care of their questions. I spent some time explaining my operation and handed them some more of the tri-fold pamphlets from the ARRL.

The first mistake of the day was forgetting my tablet that I was all setup to log with using HamLog so back to the trusty fallback of paper. Things should go better now. As I was setting up I realized that I had borrowed a PL258 connector for another project. I am trying to travel without taking the entire shack with me now but I started looking at my spare cables with no luck. I had thrown my IC-706 in the truck as a spare and remembered that I used to have some spare stuff in that bag. Luckily I found the connector and learned another lesson.

I logged my first contact at 1927z and did not get a break in the action until 2140z. I have been on the receiving end of a pile up for a state QSO party but nothing as relentless as this one. I am glad I asked my second eldest son to come take some pictures as I would not have had time to do it myself.

The break at 2140z was because all of the sudden 20m got very quiet and I was thinking that another stinking solar flare had hit. I looked in my rear view mirror and saw the top of my antenna, Took a couple of seconds to realize that the telescoping S9-31 mast had lowered itself. I guess once one section dropped suddenly they all started collapsing. The mast must of known I needed a break! Thanks mast!

I could have called it quits at this point but I wanted to spend some time on 40m so I raised the mast and started calling CQ at 2155z and by 2159z the pile up was back. I was fighting a S9 noise even with the noise blanker on but we squeaked out another 48 contacts before I had to go QRT so I could tear down, pack up and go inside the visitor's center to get my Passport book stamped.

It was a great day to be on the air! Thanks ARRL for getting this setup up!

45 states worked
6 provinces
219 total contacts
287 minutes

Now for some pictures. (looks like a Chevy commercial)

 S9-31 mast

 Love the IC-7100 radio!

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