Monday, 10 May 2021 first!!

The day didn't start very well today radio-wise.  I had decided to try another POTA activation and do the Great Trail of Canada, better known to many people as the "Trans-Canada Trail", which is VE-5082.  It crosses Highway 38 about 15 km north of the city, so it's pretty easy to get to.

I arrived at the nearly empty parking lot, and set up for 40m.  Wow!  What a surprise.  Both 40m and 20m had a S9+20 noise floor.  I couldn't hear a thing across both bands, and the other bands were the same.  There are no power lines or building near the trail, so I have no idea where the noise is coming from.

The propagation numbers this morning were: SFI=73, SN=18, A Index=4, and K Index=2.

I gave up, packed up, and went home defeated......but not for long.  Later in the afternoon I decided to activate, again, VE-0023, the Frontenac Biosphere.  This is an easy drive from home and this will be the third or fourth time I done this site.

To be honest I wasn't expecting much after the mornings disappointment, and once again I was surprised.  

Over 60 minutes I put 26 contacts in the log, including EA1AF in Spain, DJ4POT in South Germany, and NP3MR in Puerto Rico.  I also had contacts in Newfoundland, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan....places I haven't worked in months. 

I was using my KX3 at 10w with a 20m Hamstick with a mag-mount on my van roof....nothing fancy, but it works.

So it turned out to be a pretty good day after all.

Saturday, 8 May 2021

A Quick Activation...

It was raining and 8C this morning.....sounds just like last weekend!!  So I decided to go to the Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve - VE-0023, just to the north of Kingston to do an activation.

This site has been activated before a couple of times, so I didn't think it would cause too much excitement if it came up on the air this morning, and I didn't think with the propagation we've had over the past few days I would get many contacts either.  Wrong on both counts.

I put 19 contacts in the log in 19 minutes using the KX3 with 10w and  20m and 40m hamsticks. 

Propagation at 0900 local was - SFI=72, SN=15, A Index=3, and K Index=2.

Contacts were made in FL NJ, SC, ON, NH, IN, MI, MA, IL, OH, NY, WV, and MD on 20m and 40m.

The highlight of this mornings activation was doing my very first Park to Park on CW.  I heard Bill, K4NYM, calling CQ on 20m from a park in Florida and I threw out my call and he came back to me.  Now what I thought!  Well, I won't say it was a perfect QSO, but we did manage to complete it and get the information past.  I hope he forgives me for my terrible CW.

Sunday, 2 May 2021

A New Day...

It was 8C and raining when I woke up today, not the best way to start a day.  The daily propagation wasn't any better either, the SFI=71, SN=11, A Index=5, and the K Index=3.  Not exactly the best of conditions to be outside playing QRP portable radio!

But, outside I went, and within a few minutes I was at the first of three POTA Parks I activated this morning.  All three of the parks were added to the POTA system only this week, and had never been activated before.

The first location, VE-5143, Marshland Conservation Area, was pretty much deserted which was a good thing as the parking lot isn't very big.  Amazingly it took exactly 12 minutes to get the ten contacts necessary for a good activation.  Within minutes of being spotted I had a huge pileup coming at me.

I then moved on to VE-5141, Lemoine Point Conservation Area.  The road into this spot had to be seen to be believed.  The pot holes were huge, you could have lost a large car in them!  

It took 15 minutes to get 16 contacts in my log at this location.   This is a huge parking lot with plenty of room to spread out.  It was busy though today with families getting some much needed exercise during the Covid-19 restrictions we're currently living under.

Nobody bothered me at this location, a few people walked past and had a look to see what all the noise was about, but that was it.

The final location was VE-5142, Parrott's Bay Conservation Area.  The rain had decided to stop the downpour by now and was just a light drizzle which eventually stopped.  In 20 minutes I put another 19 contacts in the log.  

I had a great view from the open door of my van at this last location.  It made up for the other two muddy parking lots.

The equipment I used today was my Elecraft KX3 at 10 watts, and a 40m Hamstick mounted on a mag-mount on the roof of the van.  I did try 80m and 20m but didn't have any luck on those bands, so 40m was the go-to spot.

I received mostly very good signal reports, but I also got a couple of not so good reports.  Overall I was very happy with the results and am planning my next POTA adventure.

Stay safe out there!

Saturday, 1 May 2021

Spring... ??

Will we finally get a warm spring weather day so we can go and operate POTA?? It doesn't look like it for the for the next 10 days as the forecast is rain, followed by rain, followed by more rain with the occasional downpour of really heavy rain.

Of course coupled with the rainy weather the propagation has not been much good either. There have been many POTA stations spotted, but I haven't heard them.

Today, May 1st, I mowed my lawn for the first time this year, wearing a coat, hat, and gloves. That's a first!

My plans to get out and activate a few local POTA spots have been thwarted recently by both the weather and the Covid-19 Stay at Home Order. However, it seems solo activations in the local area are acceptable to do - according to the local Police, so stay tuned for some local activations in the very near future....rain or shine.

Saturday, 17 April 2021

Rough Day...

Wow, the propagation today was pretty bad, I wasn't hearing a lot of stations at all.   Today is the Ontario QSO Party as well as several more QSO Parties and other contests, and probably all of them will suffer because of the SFI numbers.

These numbers are expected to get worse over night as a G2 solar storm is in the forecast for tomorrow.

It seems that the propagation has been very poor over the past two weeks, so hopefully it will start to improve early next week.  

Of course it doesn't really bother me as I have no activations planned.  Here in Ontario we are currently under a "stay at home" order to help reduce and control the third-wave outbreak of Covid-19, which seems to be getting worse instead of better due to the different variants which are popping up.

Watch out for the idiots, and stay safe out there!!

Monday, 12 April 2021

Looking for things to do this weekend??? ...

While looking for things to do radio wise while we are under this provincially mandated Covid-19 "Stay at Home Order", I actually managed to come up with a couple for this coming weekend.

As I have said before, I no longer seriously contest, but I will sit in the chair for a few hours and give out a few points, but nothing too serious.

So the big event this weekend is the Ontario QSO Party.  It takes place from 1800Z April 17 to 0500Z April 18, and again from 1200Z to 1800Z April 18.

The Rules for this event can be found HERE.  

I actually just found out I won a certificate for last years event. The other good thing about this weekend is that it is also the Michigan QSO Party, and most operators hand out points for both events at the same you can double your fun.  

The second event going on this weekend is the "Support Your POTA" activity. These are held 4 times a year and are designed to encourage individuals to get out into the parks and make contacts.  

The standard POTA Rules can be found HERE.

I'm hoping to get out on my own and activate a local park.  I guess if I'm by myself, I will be sufficiently socially distanced enough to keep everyone happy.  

If you can't get out and do an activation, do some Park Hunting from home, we can't have a successful activation without the hunters out there looking for us.

Stay Safe Out There!! 

Thursday, 8 April 2021

Well, life is on hold yet again...

So yesterday our Provincial Government announced another 30 day stay at home order, which means no POTA or SOTA activations from VE3 land.

Bugger!!!  It's 23C here today, under a cloudless, beautiful blue clear sky.  I even had todays POTA activation spot picked out and had done a drive by to check it out.   

It looks like the next 30 days will be spent as a hunter instead of doing the activations that were planned.  

I suppose in the long game it doesn't matter, the activation spots will still be there in a month, and hopefully then the propagation will have significantly improved over what we have had, or not had to be honest, over the past week.

Stay safe everyone, hopefully this pandemic will disappear sooner, rather than later!

Sunday, 4 April 2021

QRP To The Field...

One of my favourite events happens this month, QRP To The Field.  It takes place April 24th, 0800-1800 local EDT time.

Rules can be found HERE.

This year I'm hoping to be able to combine this event with a POTA activation...which would double the fun.  

Don't forget that the event also allows for the use of SOTA summits, so there are lots of excuses to get out of the shack. and play radio outside.

After the long Covid-19 winter it will be great to be able to get outside and operate again, even within the current lockdown rules we are currently under.

Stay safe out there!!