September 30, 2023 - Central Okanagan, BC

At the Western edge of the 1400m ASL Aberdeen plateau, overlooking 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 chose not to setup his own gear 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 and Mike VE7KPZ

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