Monday, May 28, 2018

Peabody River King State Fish Wildlife Area KFF- 4148

After a poor outing yesterday I decided to try my luck again this morning since the truck was still loaded. I headed out to the Peabody River King State Fish & Wildlife Area located about 50 minutes south of home in a town called New Athens IL. This area of southern IL saw a lot of strip mining and this park was created from reclaimed coal mining operations. Looks like a great area for bird watching and fishing. Plenty of folks were fishing today. 

I setup on the end of a road to stay away from folks trying to park their boat trailers. Had a few curious folks but once I put up the amateur radio sign in the window they steered clear of me. I started at 15:20 UTC by working W8MSC at KFF-3322 and then worked the dynamic duo of K8VOX/W8TAM at KFF-1491. Then I found a spot on 40 meters, put out one spot on Facebook and then it was self feeding from there! I had a good run with 63 contacts on 40 meters and then I moved to 20 meters. There on 20 meters I had another good run making 73 contacts with an ending time of 17:16 UTC.

So today's activation was as good as yesterday's was bad. Just play the hand you are dealt. Luckily I had put a first aid kit in the truck about a month ago. As I was deploying my tape measure radials somehow I was running the tape across one of my knuckles and received a cut that made me look like I was bleeding out. I had blood everywhere on my arm and both hands. I was able to clean it up and put a bandage on it. Stuff happens!

136 contacts
116 minutes operating time
3 Park to Park contacts
2 DX contacts
1 wound

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Pere Marquette State Park KFF-1015

I decided that sometime during the Memorial Day holiday weekend I would go north about an hour from home to activate the Pere Marquette State Park. I did my usual scouting via Google Earth and picked a spot on top of the bluff and about as high as you can get in that park. The low end of the park is at the Mississippi River level which is around 400 feet with my operating location at around 850 feet. I headed up on Sunday afternoon with thunderstorms being way to the south of St. Louis which I figured would be OK. We also set a record high temperature of 96 degrees. I should have known there would be weather problems but I went anyway.

I started on 20 meters so the static crashes would not be as bad. 20 must have been very long because I self spotted, called CQ for 30 minutes and could only get 3 California stations. After that I switched to 40 meters and the static crashes were horrific. I managed to grab 27 more contacts before the clouds started to darken and weather alerts were going nuts on my phone. I was planning a nice long activation and I probably could have taken an hour break and checked conditions again but I decided to head back home. Still a good day hamming!

I did have a park to park contact with Kent K7CAR. He was at KFF-4428 in AZ.

I will get back to this park again maybe in the fall.

Next day revelation: I now realize that I had my noise blanker turned off. I always have to run it while the engine is running. The static crashes were still worse than the engine noise so it probably didn't matter.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Arkansas QSO Party

This was the first time participating in the Arkansas QSO Party. I did not get to spend as much time as I had hoped but it worked out since 40 meters was not that great until the last 2 hours of the contest. Being located in southern IL 40 and 80 meters were my only choices. My plan was to put up a NVIS 80 meter doublet but some stuff came up at work so I ran just on my 31 foot vertical.

I enjoyed working W5Z throughout the contest as he was mobile through a bunch of counties. Vern's callsign is AE0TT and he has been very active as a mobile in the state QSO parties that border Missouri. Great work Vern! I really like their rule where a mobile gets points for working from a county with a minimum number of contacts. I wish IL and MO QSO Parties would adopt that rule.

I also tried though the day to stir up interest on PSK31 but only made 3 digital contacts the entire contest.

Summary below is from N3FJP. Claimed score with bonus station was 2024.

Arkansas QSO Party, see you next year!

ARQP webpage

This shows that you need to send in your log no matter how small!