September 30, 2023 - Central Okanagan, BC

At the Western edge of the 1400m ASL Aberdeen plateau, facing Lake Country and the Kelowna International airport, sits Wrinkly Face Provincial Park.

Howard VA7PWF had been recently thinking of activating this not-yet-activated park for the Parks On The Air programme. This Saturday he invited Mike VE7KPZ and Michal VE7MHX to join him and finally get some QSOs done from this remote park.

The plan was to meet up where the High Rim Trail (HRT) crosses Beaver Lake road and hike just under 2 km into the park. However, with gear aplenty and an intimate knowledge of the area, Michal figured it would be possible to drive a lot closer to the park. And he was correct - the group was able to make their way over old logging roads to within 100m of the park boundary and another intersection with the HRT.

It took literally two-minutes of hiking along the HRT to get to the park.

The group discovered a lovely meadow to operate from. Care was taken, however, to stay close to the trail in order to tread very lightly on the park's flora (if at all).

Howard was setup first, with his SOTAbeams Travel Mast supported by two large rocks and his 20m monoband VA7SZ EFHW run vertically.

Howard's Yaesu FT-891 radio was hooked up but transmit SWR was too high. An inspection revealed a little bit of corrosion on the EFHW match's BNC but that was quickly cleaned up to start transmissions at an effective 100 watts PEP RF output.

Meanwhile Michal setup his fishing pole mast and 20m monoband VA7SZ EFHW as a sloper and hooked up to his Xeigu X108G radio. As soon as Howard had made his activation (with 13 QSOs), Michal took over and started his calling.

While the 20m band was S0-quiet (with the preamp on), the band also wasn't as performant as usual, so Michal had a bit of hard time running at just 20 watts PEP RF output. A handful of QSOs were made at this power level, but as it was just 6 degrees celcius (42 farenheit) with traces of snow in the nearby bushes, the group was getting cold so time was of the essence. Michal reluctantly switched over to Howard's setup and completed his activation in good time. Today was the day for QRO operation.

Mike, ironically, opted not to set his own gear up at all and instead operated as "second operator" with both Howard and Michal. There's something nicely social about passing a mic back and forth, seeing if each operator heard the same thing, sharing calling responsibilities, etc.

Once everyone had their required QSOs the group quickly tore down the stations and ran back to Howard's warm truck for the ride home. It was a great day with this POTA park's first activation credit going to Howard.

Howard VA7PWF, Michal VE7MHX, Mike VE7KPZ

Ps: here's the view towards the airport in the valley far below:



Routers Breaking News - September 19, 2023 - Michal VE7MHX reporting


On the weekend of September 8th, 2023, three intrepid Ham radio operators braved poor band conditions, high/low/just right temperatures, smoke, huge grizblackmurder bears, deathskitos, youths and their motor cross bikes, aggressive chipmunks, and lack of fish at the edge of the world Grizzly Lake Recreational site.

Their objective was to set up their radios and antennas, eat beans and hot dogs and chips, and get as many QSOs as possible.

First to show up were Sirs Howard "Christopher Columbus" Sisson (VA7PWF) and Cary "Leif Ericsson" Benson (VA7MXY) along with his friend Beau who established their presence and camp.  Next to show up was Michal "Yuri Gagarin" Hoppe (VE7MHX/VE7TMZ).  Last (but certainly not least) was Colin "Captain James Cook" Parkes (VA7EEH).  Shanta (VE7TIT) also stopped by for a visit with his pedal bike.

The team, while fearing for their wives, setup the following:


  • Yaesu FT-891 + tuner
  • recently brought back from the dead Xiegu X108G + tuner
  • NESDR smart
  • Chinesium 2m/70cm mobile radio


  • Dave S. antenna workshop unun + 10m of electrical fencing wire EFHW attached to a fishing pole
  • homemade 2m/70cm ground plane antenna
  • Palomar 71' EFHW 
  • Chameleon 17' whip with "magic carpets" (aka two Canadian Tire aluminum windows screens) radials
  • Wolf River Coils TIA1000+ vertical with a small “magic carpet” (aka one small Home Depot aluminum window screen) radial

When Colin "Captain James Cook" Parkes showed up on Sunday, the ante went up, as he set up his what might as well have been a 1000m tall "Princess Auto Surplus" antenna mast, HMS Parkes, with 3 Guy's wires and 2 antennas.  Not having enough time to test the antennas with an actual radio did not deter as the RST reports came back <1 (sometimes even on Ham bands) from the fancy antenna analyzer on the following:

  • fan dipole 40-20-15 in inverted V configuration
  • PAC-12 portable vertical

Much fun was had, there might have been a few drinks, a lot of laughs, and Eddie Van "Hoppe" might have played his guitar at the propane camp fire (as an actual fire was banned).  SSB interpretive dances were discussed.  Of the 100 Tim Horton's Timbits that were brought, the team had 7, as the rest were stolen by the brazen Chipmunks.  Other campers were met and our wonderful hobby was showcased.

The weekend wrapped up with many phone only QSOs made (as no one could get their laptops working), the Sunday NORAC net joined, a definitive win for Colin "Captain James Cook" Parkes in the my antenna is bigger than yours category, and great memories for all.

Here's to next time!


Michal, Cary, Howard, and Colin


Grizzly Lake


Camp and radios


Brazen Chipmunk with a stolen Timbit (who obviously does not care about getting fat or Diabetes)


Fishing pole EFHW and Chameleon 17' whip with "magic carpets"