Beautiful weather and cool temps gave me all the excuse I needed to break away from the contest and activate K-4417. Actually, dual activations of the same park - Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning.
Saturday was a fiasco.
Thanks to George Washington and Abe Lincoln, this is a 3-day weekend. As I mentioned, the weather is fantastic and the park was full of campers and day trippers. My activations usually begin early, but honey-do's took precedence, making for a late start so, upon my arrival, there was only one picnic table left - and no trees of any significance around it.
Without boring you with the details, my antenna (end-fed dipole) for that day was 15 feet high.Thomas K4SWL.
Thomas was one of the few contacts I made who weren't in 9-Land. How he divined my signal out of the uptherosphere, I have no idea.
Sunday - different story. I arrived early. More horses than cars or people.
Every year in March, Houston has a big rodeo and participants ride in from towns within 150 miles or so, camping in parks and on private property of accommodating ranchers along the way.
Otherwise, the park was empty and I had my pick of locations. This time the antenna was almost completely vertical and signals filled the headphones, regardless of which band I was on.
A lot of familiar calls went into the log and it was fun to give a park to people who've given me numerous parks over the months.
The TR-35 performed well. I do wish it had some indication - just an LED would work - of reflected power. I had my manual ZM-2 tuner along for 17m operation. It works by adjusting for minimum illumination of an LED. I'd gladly trade the TR-35's signal strength LED for a reflected power LED.
Whenever operating QRP with batteries, I always keep track of how much power was used. This helps me to gauge battery size required for a given length of time with any particular radio. The two day's of POTA activations (64 contacts total) used 430mAH from the battery.
I'm gonna stop lugging that big ole 12AH monster around!