March 22, 2022 - Vernon, BC

David VA7SZ and Mike VE7KPZ got out of the shack for a little bit of Parks On The Air action this Tuesday afternoon. The plan was to activate Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park VE-0728. For David this would be his fourth POTA activation of this park. For Mike, this would be his first activation and he would attempt to catch up to David's many previous QSOs at this location.

It had just finished raining and temperatures were around 8 C (46 F). Mike somehow happened to be early and went ahead to start setting up at the chosen spot for activation: the Juniper Bay picnic area. David arrived shortly after and set up close by.

Mike ran horizontally polarized on 20m while David ran vertically polarized on 17m. Noise floor on both bands at this site was S0 - awesome!

Mike found 20m a little slow to start with 10 watts QRP SSB operation so he chose to kick it up a notch and run approximately 30 watts with his external amplifier. The band was up and down but QSOs were made with stations from Alaska to Nova Scotia, New York to California and everything in between. A bit of European DX was added to the log as well.

David’s first QSO was a QRP, SSB park to park, but otherwise there was little phone activity on the 17m band. A switch to FT8 captured four Japanese stations as well as many from the lower forty eight. By mid afternoon, phone activity picked up on 17m allowing a 5/7 report from a Tokyo station – not bad for 10 watts! David also snagged a weak Puerto Rican station. David finished up with a CW contact as the band started to fade.

A highlight of the afternoon was this furry marmot running around between the two stations.

Big kudos to Mike AL7KC who once again made Mike's POTA activation log. And greetings to David EA1AF from Spain, another accomplished POTA hunter. It's exciting to work Europe on just 30 watts of RF power.

Mike's gear used:

The antenna was Mike's HyEndFed Portable Mini 10/20/40m EFHW between a tree branch (far end) at around 6m/20' and a SOTABEAMS Tactical Mini pole (match end) at around 5m/17' for a slight sloper. The far end pointed due West. A 2.1m (7') length of counterpoise coax, 1:1 un:un common mode choke and then another 4.2m (14') of coax tied in to the radio.

DC power was supplied by Mike's DIY 10 Ah LiFePO4 battery pack, charged via solar - a Powerfilm R14 and a Genasun GV-5 MPPT solar controller.

Mike's IC-705 was utilized and the DIY599 PA500 HF amplifier from Oliver DL4KA was also added to the RF chain. 1.5 watts RF drive power with ~13 V DC powering produced an estimated 30 or so watts of RF output for the antenna. The amp was run in full auto mode using RF VOX where it auto selected the correct band and auto keyed. Good reports from all.

David's gear used:

David’s antenna was an end fed, half wave, (EFHW) supported by a SOTA Beams compact 10m “Travel Mast". The radiating piece of speaker wire was cut to the appropriate length and held in place by a few turns around the mast. It was matched by a home-brew 49:1 un:un, capable of handling 100 watts of RF power. A bit of coax with an air-wound common-mode choke fed the radio.

DC power was supplied by a 10 Ah LiFePO4 battery.

David's Lab599 Discovery TX-500 was utilized along with a Digirig mobile and a Microsoft Surface Go 3 running WSJT-X.

Here is Mike's contact map from HAMRS:

In summary, Mike made 35 QSOs on the easy 20m band. David made 17 QSOs on the more challenging 17m band. Not bad for an hour in the park.

Fun and 73s,
David VA7SZ and Mike VE7KPZ