POTA #17 at San Jacinto Park

Author: Jayant KG5LJZ

Saturday December 16, 2023

It was a cold dreary day when I got the call from John AB5SS that POTA was on. It had rained the previous night and the ground was wet. I quickly got up and headed to Park K-3511 San Jacinto Monument State Park. John had set up an antenna (JPC-12 vertical antenna) and demonstrated to me how to tune the same with a NanoVNA. By the time I got there he had whole bunch of contacts on 20M (14.246 MHz). 

I took over that frequency and started calling “CQ POTA” – In 30 minutes I had more than the required 10 QSOs. It was great fun and we decided to go QRT and change to another frequency. John went to 10M but there was little activity. He then went to 17M and got a few QSOs. We then decided that we would do the reverse operation and since we were at a park start going to frequencies where there were other operators in parks and call Park-2-Park. I also got my 1,5 mile walk in the warm sun. We started calling P-2-P and both of us were able to log contacts (we told the stations there was a second operator). John then experimented with some other frequencies while I watched him do his magic. At noon, we decided we had enough fun and dismantled the set up.

We had hoped for better participation – with rain all night and cloudy conditions it was just the two of us. I had a “field day” no pun intended learning the art of HF from John.

…  The only thing I might add is that I initially thought 17m was dead as there were only a couple spots on the pota.app website and didn’t find many stations when tuning across the band.  But I decided to spot myself and call CQ POTA anyway and 30 minutes later I had logged 25 QSO’s.  It appears park hunters are watching the POTA spots webpage and moving between bands to work activators.  Nice!  

John AB5SS

KG5LJZ and AB5SS operating at San Jacinto

AB5SS John’s Pac-12 portable vertical (foreground) while Jayant KG5LJZ working through a pileup.

Sunday December 17, 2023

I had an invite from W5LIC of BVARC to join them on a POTA at K-3056 Sheldon Lakes. I figured that it would be good to get back to back activations and headed there on Sunday morning. They had a DX commander set up with 4 radios and I got to call CQ on a 40m rig. It started really well and I got 3 QSOs – and then I hit a rough patch. Luckily my friends W5OC and AB5SS called in from the JSC ARC. I noticed that 40m was quiet (little noise) but most QSOs were from TX or LA or neighboring states. Though I d\saw station in CT and WI, I could not hear then on the radio.  So P-2-P was out of the question. I did find some operators in Waco and Dallas on nearby frequencies and they gave me the POTA contacts. It was a learning experience in patience. Next time I may opt for lower wavelengths and see how I fare.

A big thank you to Anthony (W5LIC) and Kori WX5KR and the club members for their hospitality and support.

Lake Sheldon 40m QSOs (above)

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