POTA #18 at San Jacinto Park

Mission Success:  JSCARC’s 1st activation for 2024 @ San Jacinto Battle Ground Park.

With Houston’s crazy weather cycles, we were graced with awesome weather for Saturday Feb 16.  Participants were: David KG5URA, John AB5SS, Jayant KG5LJZ, Dale KG5U, and myself Dave W5OC.

I arrived a bit later, since I was supporting an 0900 adhoc on-line VE licensing exam for our first JSC student intern this spring semester, Zane.  This exam was generously hosted by Tanner W9TWJ with VE support from Jeff AB4ME, and Kelvin K5KGH.  (spoiler alert, Zane got his GENERAL ticket; welcome KQ4PDC)

Upon arrival to San Jac, David KG5URA was in the parking lot with his new ginormous Eagle One vertical towering from his truck talgate hitch mount.  John AB5SS was setting up under the covered picnic enclave.  Soon Jayant KG5LJZ arrived, too, and  began setting up his station, with Dale KG5U arriving a bit afterwards.



Icom IC-705,

Hardrock-50 amp,

Eagle One vertical,

Powerwerx/Bioenno Battery box


Icom IC-7300,

Elecraft KX-3,

Elecraft KX-1,

Pac12 vertical,

AB5SS 72AH custom Battery box



Kenwood TS-440S,

Reel POTA-ble EFHW antenna,

AB5SS 32AH custom Battery box



Elecraft KX2

K5ARK EFHW antenna



David KG5URA was trying out his updated balun configuration with his new Eagle One Vertical.

He initially found issue with his setup but later discovered an RF gain setting was incorrect.  He made the correction and began his ops.  He reported that the mounting configutation of his large vertical to his trailer hitch was not very robust and began tipping at times with wind.  So the next experiment will be to either strengthen the mount or possible deploy it on the ground using a tripod.  However, his new tiny CW paddle successfully made it’s first trip out to POTA.

Jayant KG5LJZ brought his new custom portable battery box, custome built by John AB5SS.  It worked great alongside his TS-440S.  Initially Jayant setup his Reel POTA-ble pretty low to the ground, only able to hang it from low hanging tree branches.  John later gave him an assist with some spooled cord which was thrown high into the trees, and used to elevate the Reel POTA-ble end wire much higher.  I’m guessing Jayant will likley add an extra spool of “throw” cord into his next POTA toolbox.

Once John helped others get setup (I took a bunch of his time, too, peppering him with VHF Rover Contesting questions …), he didn’t have much joy due to RFI from the adjacent radios.  Much like a Field Day challenge, when operating radios in close proximity, the induced power and consequent intermodulation noise, makes operating difficult, if not impossible.  At the end of the day, when we all left, John hung around to finally get a chance to operate under a quiet environment.  Note, during his first observation of RFI, he attempted to move his Pac12 vertical to a location behind the adjacent building.  No joy.  the building didn’t provide any shielding from the RF coming from the others.

For me, to avoid the RFI, I drove out about 800′ past the Zavala cemetary and setup close to the dock area where the USS Texas used to be docked.  I brought my mini-backback which held my KX2 radio along with a Sotabeams Carbon 6 lightweight 20′ mast.  This time, I also brought my newly acquired super lightweight Helinox Chair Zero- weighing less than a whopping 1.2 lbs.  This was bought after my experience at a previous SOTA (Summits On The Air) and POTA loaction required me to sit on the ground.  Operating while sitting on the ground is very uncomfy, especially with the bugs crawling up your pants leg (yes it happened).  So my new setup will always have a portable chair.  The Helinox was a present that I gifted myself- it worked out great!  Oddly, I only was able to make one 20m CW QSO, but made 11 contacts on 15m in only after a few minutes.  Note:  I also “test drove” a foldable metal clipboard which nicely balanced my KX2 in my lap with enough remaining space for my log notebook and mini-paddle.

I didn’t have any RFI problems at all, but perhaps, the guys were shutting down for the day already.

Dale KG5U had driven out to say hello.  He was very intrigued with John’s KX1 mini QRP CW radio with build in paddle.  This particular multiband Elecraft radio is CW only and arguably began the innovation push for many other mini-sized QRP radios to become fashionable for hams.  Though it’s no longer in production, it remains a highly desireable radio whenever it on rare occasions appears online for sale.


I had a long winded soapbox but I think this sums it up.  Beautiful sunny but cool day (at least in the morning), only 2 mosquitos, lots of fun had by all that showed up (KG5LJZ, KG5URA, AB5SS, W5OC, KG5U).  Jayant’s still super excited about learning CW and is already making a few CW QSO’s on his own.  My PAC-12 vertical still works amazingly well and is my goto portable antenna. Elecraft makes the world’s best portable radios for CW (e.g. KX1, KX2, KX3).  I wish I would have brought the Hardrock-50 amp for my KX3 and left the IC-7300 at home. Thanks to Dave Lee for continuing to organize the POTA outings for our club!  73 de John, AB5SS

1 thought on “POTA #18 at San Jacinto Park”

  1. I finally was able to correct the trailer hitch mounting bracket by shimming the post adapter which had too much slack and was allowing the antenna to rock back and forth on its mounting bolt. Now it’s solid as a rock and secure in the vertical position.


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