Monday, March 19, 2018

POTA activation of Devil's River State Natural Area (KFF-3498)

This trip was a trial run for a future camping trip to a true dark sky site and sufficed as "dark enough" to learn what needed learnin' when pointing camera skyward at night.

Also known as KFF-3498

The fact that it qualified as a POTA park gave the 8-hour drive extra justification and provided a way of occupying my time while the camera's intervalometer clicked away - a total of 400 raw still images over a period of four hours produced a short video of those hours compressed into a few seconds.

Monday, March 12, 2018


Two DXpeditions were operating within 100 Hz of each other this morning on 80 meters. Overlapping pile-ups resulted along with people logging one station but working another.

3D2EU was stronger and, for me, the only station I could initially hear at my sunrise. He went into the log quickly and easily.

At exactly sunrise, I started hearing 9M0W 100 Hz lower than 3D2EU - just a whisper. After 10 minutes he was solid copy here though still weak. 3D2EU had QSY'ed or QRT'ed and most of the pile-up participants did likewise. A quick call to 9M0W resulted in "X? X?". Could he mean me? I sent my call again twice and back came "AE5X 5NN".

First new one on 80m in a lonnnnngggg time.


Saturday, March 10, 2018

Activation of Davis Hill State Park (TX) KFF-3496

Although the infrastructure is not yet in place for public use, the property for Davis Hill State Park is currently owned by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. That qualifies it as a POTA candidate as it is listed as such on official POTA and WWFF websites.

Since the park property is not yet open to the public, WFF/POTA rules prohibit any contacts from there as being valid unless specific permission is obtained from official sources. That official source was Justin Rhodes, Director of Parks for southeast Texas.

We had an interesting phone conversation, discussing access, easements and other issues with opening this area to the public. That conversation ended with an official "I have no problem with you operating there".

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

HF Voyager: an ocean-going drone with a KX3

There is currently a chance to work some really rare grids. HF Voyager is an ocean-going drone currently making its way from Hawaii to California. Its current location can be seen here. Onboard in a waterproof container is an Elecraft KX3 and a Raspberry Pi computer enabling a variety of digital modes to be used.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Portable 3-band antenna and KFF-3056

Operating from KFF-3056 (TX)
My quest for a compact multi-band antenna that can be mounted anywhere has ended. The components in the photo below were used earlier today to activate KFF-3056 (Sheldon Lake SP just east of Houston TX) with results that were better than I'd hoped for.

On past outdoor QRP excursions, I've had to select operating positions that were convenient to suitable trees, then heave a line over a suitable branch, haul up the wire and try to keep any of it from getting tangled on anything.

But no more!