Friday 21 June 2024

Eastbound - Day 5 & 6...

Neys Provincial Park is a beautiful spot, and I was lucky enough to get a site right by the beach for the night.  The only downside to the site was the billions (and I do mean BILLIONS) of flying critters that insisted on visiting me.

Neys is POTA site CA-0316.  I had a good evening activating the park and put 36 contacts in the log....before the bugs won the war, and drove me back into cover.

The next morning I started the long drive to Chutes Provincial Park.  It was a beautiful day, with brilliant blue skies, and really enjoyable.  It was a 620 km day and it took a little over 7 hours to do, thanks to the roadworks I had to navigate.

Once I arrived a Chutes I was surprised to get the very same campsite I had for my first night on the trip, so setup was a breeze as I knew how everything fit there.

It didn't take long to get on the air, and soon had CA-0181 on the air before supper.  The campsite was very quiet, I don't think very many people were staying there.

After supper I did a POTA late shift and got many contacts in the log before the inevitable rain hit, and it didn't stop for the rest of the night.

Tomorrow I have another 7 hour day on the road, but at the end of the day I'll be back home.

Stay Safe Out There!!

Monday 17 June 2024

ARRL Field Day 2024...

This year's ARRL Field Day is coming up this weekend, June 22/23....are you ready?

The rules can be found HERE.

I'll be on the air as part of the Upper Canada QRP Clubs team, operating as VE3UCC.  

I'm hoping the propagation, and the weather, both decide to behave themselves and allow us all to have a great weekend, in the field, and on the bands!

Stay Safe Out There!!

Saturday 15 June 2024

Eastbound - Day 3 & 4...


I did not get an activation done at Gull Lake last night as the campsite had a S9+20 noise floor and I couldn't hear a thing. This means that I have not managed to do a POTA activation in Alberta, west bound or east bound.

Today will be a short day, only 630 km, ending up in Deleau, Manitoba.  This is a fantastic little campground that the regional municipality looks after.  Well worth a stay, and they ask just a small donation to stay there!

Just before noon I arrived at the small village of Pontiex, this is the home of CA-1138, Notukeu Regional Park, and it had never been activated before.  Well, it's activated now!  I managed to put 21 contacts in my log in a little over 20 minutes.  Propagation was still not the best, but with 10 screaming watts out of the was on the air.

Instead of going straight to the campground at Deleau, I went north about 15 km and activated CA-1061, Oak Lake Provincial Park,  in fact I had so much fun here activating, I ate my supper there and did the late shift from the park as well.  

After my two activations I drove back to Deleau and set up camp for the night.

Tomorrow I'm off to Arron Provincial Park, just 20 km west of Dryden, Ontario.

The next morning was pretty chilly, with the temperature being only 5C at 0630 in the morning when I climbed out of my sleeping bag, and began another 600 km drive east.

Just past Winnipeg the highway enters the Boreal Forest, where kilometres of pine and spruce trees are mixed with the granite outcroppings of the Canadian Shield.  

After a quick lunch in Nipigon, Ontario, I arrived at the trailhead for CA-0245, Kama Hills Provincial Park.  This was another park that had never been activated before, and it wasn't long before you realize why that was.  The trail goes almost straight up, almost a scramble than a hike.  It takes about an hour to reach the park boundary, and that was as far as I went.  

Once I was set up I realized my battery was nearly out of power and I had to restrict my output to 5w SSB.  To be honest I didn't think I would get a completed activation here, but was I wrong.  Among my contacts that day were Larry F5PYI in France, and Jose EA1BUL in Spain....they made my day!

That evening I ended the day at Neys Provincial Park, and had a successful activation of CA-0316.

Tomorrow night I should make it to Chutes Provincial Park in Massey, Ontario.

Eastbound - Day 1 & 2...

The first day back on the road again today....heading home! I have a 703 km drive over Highway 3 to do, and suspect it will take about 8 hours through the mountains.  

I find Highway 3 East is a terrible highway to drive, multiple steep grades and descents, and many tourists on the road who have no idea about how to safely drive in the mountains!  Make sure you have good breaks to do this route!

No radio work was done during the day, as the propagation was not very good at all, the propagation numbers were: SFI=184, SN=150, A Index=28, and the K Index=3.  This gave us some very deep QSB. 

My stop tonight will be at Yahk Provincial Park, about 40 km east of Creston.

It was an early start from Yahk to start day 2, and it was a chilly 7C (44F) under blue skies.  I did manage to get in a POTA activation last evening after the propagation numbers improved, so CA-0750 was activated.

Just outside of Cranbrook I managed to get a solid 2m simplex contact with Don WR7DW, in Eureka, Montana, about 20 km south of my location on Hwy 3.  It's always great to get a contact on .52 simplex!

It was another 700 km day and tonights stop will be at Gull Lake, Saskatchewan.  Getting a bit tired already as two 700 km days is pretty exhausting at best.

Thursday 6 June 2024

West Coast Update...

Tomorrow is my last day here on the West Coast, so I thought it was time to bring you all up-to-date on what has been happening here.  The first five days it rained...typical Vancouver weather!  It's only been the last 2 days the weather has become warm and decent.

I had planned to activate 10 parks in and around Vancouver, I've managed to do 8.  There does not seen to be very many Hunters in this part of the country.  Here there is nowhere near the response to our POTA CQ's as we get in Ontario.  

Over the last 18 days I have witnessed some of the worst propagation I have seen in my last 20 years in the that certainly hasn't helped.  

In the end I finally got fed-up calling CQ on SSB, and switched to CW only.  I ended up doing my first CW only activation.  It was a bit nervous, and I believe there's a station in New Mexico who won't get credit for hunting me as I screwed up his callsign, but apart from that it went well.

I'm not sure what route I'm taking home yet, but both routes I'm looking at have many parks to activate....and a couple of ATNO's each.

Hopefully I'll be packed and out of here by 0700 tomorrow morning.

Stay tuned for more adventures across Canada!

Stay Safe Out There!!

Tuesday 28 May 2024

Day 10...

Last night was spent at CA-3921, Okanagan Lake Provincial Park.  It's a small park, tucked in below the main highway.

Amazingly, the last park of this portion of the trip, I made several contacts back home to Ontario, including a QRP to QRP contact with Chris, VE3CBK.   Chris was out activating the Armitage Marina Light (CAN-1342) for Lighthouses on the Air, when he saw my spot.  I'd love to know what antenna he was using!

I made 10 contacts at this park, and then it was off down the Highway 97 to Osoyoos and my brother's summer home.

I'm taking a couple of days off and then I'll be back activating some of the local parks, before I head. into Vancouver on Friday.

Day 8 & 9...

It was a very wet night at Gull Lake, and the band conditions made activating the park quite difficult.  I got absolutely soaked taking camp down the next morning, and was glad to start driving and warm up.  Today I'm off on a trip through the Canadian Rockies.

My first POTA stop today was at CA-0005, Banff National Park.  I made zero contacts in Banff as the noise floor was S9+20 at every spot I tried.  So I gave up and moved on down the road.  I was really looking forward to operating in Banff, perhaps next time!

Second stop today was CA-0117, Yoho National Park.  What a beautiful spot!!!  But of course it was cloudy and raining.

The band conditions, once again, were not the best.  The propagation was: SFI=162, SN=74, A Index=9, and the K Index=2.  Lot's of deep QSB on the bands as well.

I managed to get 11 contacts in an hour before I had to leave and move on to the next park, CA-0028, Glacier National Park.  This was my first failed activation.  I managed to get one contact, Ken N5HA, in Leesville, LA.  That was it, despite calling for an hour, I had no other hunters.

Two hours later I arrived at CA-0061, Mount Revelstoke National Park, another beautiful location. At this park I managed to get the bare 10 required contacts, and it only took 34 minutes.

Personally I'm finding that POTA is very different out west from what I'm used to in the Eastern part of our country.  There does not seem to be as many operators doing POTA here.  Perhaps SOTA is more active here given the mountains around this part of the country.

It's also quite difficult getting a signal out of these deep mountain valleys, which certainly isn't helping my activation count.

Day 6 & 7...

Heading north from Brandon I drove up the beautiful Qu'appelle Valley and really enjoyed the great views.  My destination today was Gull Lake, Saskatchewan.

My first activation of the day was at CA-0628, Touchwood Hills Post Provincial Park.  The park is quite small, and has no facilities at all, but is a great spot to stop and have lunch and play POTA.  

I managed to put 12 in the log while I was there, but conditions on the bands were not the greatest.  Todays propagation was:

SFI=176, SN=97, A Index=10, and the K Index=2.

A short distance down the road was the town of Raymore, Saskatchewan, where I activated CA-2816.  This was an All Time New One, never activated before and I was determined to be the first to activate it.  You see, the number 2816 has a special connotation to me, it was my Dad's WW2 RAF Squadron number, "2816 Squadron, RAF Regiment" you just know I had to get this one!!  

This "park" is a bit of a joke.  I'm not sure how it ever became a POTA Park.  Its official name is: "Raymore Recreational Site"....but is simply a 45 meter by 18 meter gravel parking lot where they allow RV's to stop and spend the night.

Twelve contacts went into the log at CA-2816, including my first contact from back home, Steve VE3PTA.  Surprisingly I also worked Jose, EA1BUL, from Spain, who I work a lot from my home parks around Kingston.

The rest of the day was spent driving towards Gull Lake, Saskatchewan, and my next nights camping.