POTA 16 @ Sheldon Lake

Sheldon Lake State Park is only 33 minutes from JSC. It’s a beautiful park with plenty of mini-camp sites to spread out multiple ops on the same band.

The park entrance is FREE

For our last JSCARC POTA outing for 2023, Sheldon Lake was a perfect outing with weather that would have made all the north easterners drool. Mid 60s and clear skies!

Terry N5LOW arrived at the crack of dawn before 0800 and brought his well known Casita travel camper towed by his 4×4 truck. He spied the park before I arrived, and decided to park his elongated setup along the gravel bedded shoulder just before entering the parking lot. He setup alone while I started setting up my station at the camp group.

Dan KG5PVP arrived shortly thereafter. He and I were dedicated to QRP.  He had a Xiegu x6100 and I had an Elecraft KX2, both running around 5W.  Dan ventured to SSB because I was already on 20m CW and also there was a big CW contest going on which made CW tough.  Dan successfully made some SSB QSO’s with his 5W and end fed random wire which was strung with his portable mast and a tree limb hangin on the other side of the facing trail. SSB QRP is *not* an easy activity. I made my 10+ QSOs on CW on 20m and a few on 17m.

Propagation was mostly excellent.  There was a brief poor period around 0930 AM, here QSOs seemed hard to come by– but the band picked right back up on 10/15/20m.  Terry had the biggest signal on the park with his 100W and an excellent 20m dipole system strung up by masts on both ends of his trailer back and truck front end.  I casually went to visit him mid morning, and he had a pileup on his signal.  I unexpectedly ended up helping him log for about an hour until the pileup somewhat settled down.  It was obvious his signal was radiating well and his IC7300 was doing a great job on CW.

Jayant KG5LJZ joined us around shortly after 10:00 and setup his TS440.  John AB5SS’ lithium ion power supply worked perfectly with Jayant’s rig.  Jayant flung up his POTA reel antenna into a nearby tree and immediately began his QSO contacts for POTA.  The height of his antenna was barely 15′ above ground which shows you that it doesn’t take much to have a good signal.

After all of of us obtained our 10+ QSOs to qualify for an activation credit, we picked up and packed up. The then headed up to the 82 foot John Jacob Observation Tower to see what ham ops we could undertake.

On the 2nd level platform (the top level had too many visitors), we dangled a random length end fed wire from a 20′ fiberglass pole hanging from the platform using an Elecraft KX2 running 10W SSB.

We made a few QSOs and called it a success without getting kicked out by the park ranger

As we headed back to the parking lot, we bumped into BVARC Anthony W5LIC and Christy KI5RLZ, and had a fun chat about clubs and activities.

This park scored a 100 in ease of use and opportunities to setup.

And for some unbeknownst reason, there were ZERO mosquitos!!!

From Terry

This park. K-3056 Seldon Lake is a great  find.  

Truck with 20 meter folded dipole, and tower in background,

comforts of home CW operation, 

The tower with a man fishing or was he operating ?

Dave and Dan, having a great time with the QRP rigs.

I had a grand time, everything was working for me and

I was able to get call signs and stats mostly by ear. This time. Buy very slow. 

Dave came in to save from pileups and we logged quite a few in a few minutes.

I used N1MM logger and it was a snap to upload the contacts into pota. 

38 contacts today, it was a good challenge due to a large scale contest going on in the lower

part of 20 Meters. It was good to get out, I have not done anything since Field Day. 

I must say a 65 F day is perfect for pota exercises.   THIS Park is free, and has great hike and bike trails.  Thanks for Great Day 


From Jayant


Many thanks to David Lee W5OC and the W5RRR club for another successful and enjoyable POTA this weekend at K-3056 – Sheldon Lakes Park near Houston, TX. I was able to set up most of the rig with a little help from David Lee W5OC and Dan Nagala. Thanks to John Maca AB5SS for some resources.

It was a beautiful day and I quickly got my required 10 SSB contacts on 20M. I used the new endfed antenna that I purchased on the last POTA (reel antenna) and it worked great without an external tuner.

I was able to get a QSO with Cuba as well. QSO map attached !!!

For more details on the antenna please contact Ron – aa5rx@yahoo.com.

A big shout out to BVARC W5LIC Antony who activated later at the same park. Sorry we could not tag up at the same time.

In the photo Dan Nagala is using a QRP rig on top of the watch tower with a random wire antenna.

Again thanks to W5RRR and W5OC for making this POTA activity so much fun for the club.





Dave W5OC

4 thoughts on “POTA 16 @ Sheldon Lake”

  1. Wonderful Article and great time at the park – Also got a nice 1 mile walk. Thanks friends for making my Birthday so enjoyable.

    • Thanks for visiting our POTA post, Mike. The best part of this POTA was we were having Southern California-like weather in the middle of our Texas winter. Ah, the good life for hamming! 73 and happiest of holidays -dave W5OC


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