August 18, 2022 - Spallumcheen, BC

Mike VE7KPZ and Jane VE7WWJ finally got a chance to activate Thomas Hayes Ecological Reserve, park VE-5547 in the Parks On The Air programme. And what a lovely park to operate from on an especially hot 33 Celsius/92 Fahrenheit summer morning.

Aside from the open farm field easement to get access to the main park land, Thomas Hayes is a wonderfully forested (and thus shaded) nature reserve.

Mike and Jane hiked in about a km to get to the “lookout” which had a lovely park bench.

Mike’s 12m long wire antenna was suspended via some tree branches and coax was run down to the operating position at the bench.

Band conditions were, however, quite challenging. While the QRM was low, the band was very up and down, and mostly down. A total of 2 phone contacts were achieved on 20m in the first hour. These two hard-earned phone contacts required a bit of search and pounce (Byron KI5GNH in Iowa) a lot of calling (Paul NL7V in North Pole Alaska). Thankfully the keyer on the Icom IC-705 did all the work (automatically repeating at a set interval) and the DIY599 PA500 amp could take a beating (never getting too hot even with a drive power of 3.5 watts).

When conditions are this bad there’s only one thing to do to get the activation done: switch to FT8! Over the next hour another 9 contacts were made on FT8, bringing the total for the activation to 11. Ten contacts are required to have a successful activation, so we just made it.

Takedown was quick followed by a warm hike back to the car.

Reflecting on the event, perhaps next time out we’ll go a little earlier. A 9 AM Okanagan local time start is far too late in the day to be playing radio outside in the summer. This was also hinted by the fact that the parking lot was nearly full at 9 AM and we were the last car there at our 1 PM departure.

Here's a map of our contacts (missing Kazu JA8ECS from Sapporo Japan who is outside of the NA continent):

Big thanks to the hunters and Jane for her assistance with setup, logging and photos,
Mike VE7KPZ and Jane VE7WWJ

Ps: gear used for this activation: