August 13, 2023 - Wap Lake, British Columbia

In British Columbia it is rare to find two parks overlapping or bordering on each other, but this weekend we found a pair: Mount Griffin Provincial Park VE-3839 and Mount Griffin Ecological Reserve VE-3838 share a number of relatively easy-to-access border points. Mike VE7KPZ and YL Jane VE7WWJ decided to try for a POTA activation at the southern intersection of these two entities.

We were already in the area doing a kayak activation of Wap Creek Provincial Park VE-4270 the day before. So why not do a little exploring further north and see if it might be possible to activate two parks at the same time. What we found, while an easy-to-access location with the antenna literally at the intersection of the two parks, was a location absolutely terrible for radio. Right beside the parks' southern intersection was a set of six, yes six, high-voltage power lines!

The usual EFHW for 20m was affixed to a 6 meter pole velocroed to the truck's camper and strung out to a tree for a bit of a reverse sloper. The Icom IC-705 was hooked up to the DIY599 PA500 amplifier with KN6STX amp cooling solution. The amp cooling solution was critical as tx/rx ratio was around 80/20 for this activation - the amplifier worked really hard and fortunately did not overheat thanks to the two big fans affixed to it's back. Powering was via the camper's 5 kWh LiFePO4 battery bank, solar-charged (of course) and reduced from approximately 26 volts DC to 14.5 volts DC for the radio gear (via a Victron Orion-Tr isolated DC-DC converter).

The IC-705's auto notch, noise blanker and digital noise reduction were utilized to somewhat eliminate the QRM caused by the power lines. Many different types of QRM needed to be suppressed.

Again without spotting, this activation had a very slow start. A bit of search and pounce just to see if the system was working turned up one other activator, Michael KB9VBR, who some of you might know from YouTube. The P2P QSO with Michael was made and then back to calling 3k up from Michael. Things were still slow, so a ZOLEO satellite SMS to Austin VE7QH to request a spot was in order. Austin was just about to leave cellular service himself (he was working on the weekend) but we caught him just in time. Austin's spot worked and within 70 minutes another 14 QSOs were in the log to bring the total to 15.

Notable QSOs were of course with Michael KB9VBR in Lake Wissota State Park K-1460 in Wisconsin (Mike's first completed celebrity QSO) as well as others in Wisconsin, Georgia, Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania.

This was one of the slowest activations we have ever done. No, we did not have to resort to digital modes but it was a bit of work, especially for the amp and voice keyer, to get the activation done - LOL! We have a feeling that in the summer most folks are spending time with their families versus sitting in their shacks hunting POTA. So, we look forward to the fall when more hunters will be at their stations. And we now know to scope out POTA locations without massive arrays of high-voltage power lines nearby. ;)

Nice to get these two parks in the bag,

Ps: here are some pics from the event:

Here's Gaia GPS showing our location, right at the southern junction of the two park boundaries (orange arrowhead). If this location had not worked out, we had planned to drive and hike all the way around to the other red location.

Our station location with antenna across the image. Mount Griffin Ecological Reserve sign on dead tree on far right. Open this image in a new tab to see it in higher resolution.

Austin's POTA spot for VE7KPZ. Thanks again Austin - much appreciated!

Mike, truck and antenna.