Tag Archives: POTA

POTA Activation – Muskegon State Park

Date: July 26 2021
Park : K-1525 Muskegon State Park

After my first POTA activation, I decided to give another park a try! I had to decide between activating the same park again, or going to a new park. I saw that there was another park nearby, called Muskegon State Park and it was only 10 minutes further away.

Since I wasn’t aware of how this park was arranged, I had to do a little exploring, and discovered it was really a hidden gem. There is tons of parking, beach space, and felt pretty quiet everywhere I explored. I did notice that there was an old lookout fort that was up on a hill. I decided to use a small parking lot near there, as there was shade, picnic benches, and no one else in the parking area.

Buddistick Pro antenna with the lookout fort in the far background.
Buddistick Pro antenna with the lookout fort in the far background.

My Gear for this adventure :
Radio : Xiegu G90
Audio Interface: DigiRig Mobile
Antenna : Buddistick Pro

Station setup on the picnic table.
Station setup on the picnic table.

I had planned to activate the park with FT8 again, but it was apparently not meant to be! As I was setting up the station, I discovered that the CAT side of the DigiRig audio-interface had somehow broken since I last used it! (DigiRig was awesome and replaced it with great ease) I wasn’t emotionally prepared for that. I tried to setup VOX on the G90, to handle the PTT side of things, but just couldn’t get it going in the field. I wasted a fair bit of time on that, but eventually gave up.

I came to the realization I needed to give-up or switch to SSB. Having not done much SSB on HF, this was more daunting than it would be today. I was able to launch HAMRS, spot myself on the POTA site, and start making contacts. In the end, I made 13 QSOs before packing up to head home. There was a lot of noise on the bands that day, and I ended up having to move around a lot. Thankfully, the hunters followed me and I was able to make it successful!

First POTA activation – Duck Lake State Park

Date : July 22 2021
Park : K-1496 – Duck Lake State Park

After trying my first Summit on the Air (SOTA) activation, I was excited try try doing a Parks on the Air (POTA) activation as well! I was going to be traveling to Michigan and have some free time. Taking a look at the POTA website, it was clear that Duck Lake State Park was going to be the closest park to visit.

Driving into the park, I didn’t have a great sense of where would be good to activate. I knew that the beach area would be VERY busy, and would not have much shade. When you first arrive, there is a large parking lot, but it seemed pretty busy around there as well.

The first decent option looked to be an empty park bench at the boat launch parking. There was low traffic, open space, and an available bench. The biggest problem with this spot was the lack of shade.

View of Duck Lake from the operating station.
View of Duck Lake from the operating station.

I kept going down the road and found that there was a pavilion that could be rented out. Unfortunately, the pavilion was in use, but there was a path that went down toward the lake. there were open benches, lots of space, and little foot traffic. So, setup on a bench in the shade and got started.

My Gear for this adventure :
Radio : Xiegu G90
Audio Interface: DigiRig Mobile
Antenna : Buddistick Pro

Station Setup on the Picnic Table
Station Setup on the Picnic Table
Buddistick Pro
Buddistick Pro

I decided to make this activation with mostly FT8. I had 10 FT8 contacts, followed by 2 P2P SSB contacts. This was hardly an amazing number of contacts, but was more than sufficient to fully “activate” the park! It was largely an experiment for me and a learning experiment.

This was also my first time using the Buddistick Pro. The antenna only barely arrived in time for my trip, so I hadn’t had any time to test it out before flying to Michigan. It performed really well, and was perfect for my situation. I had heard from multiple people that Michigan doesn’t allow you to hang anything from trees, so my normal KM4ACK EFHW wasn’t going to be an option. I needed something self-supporting and this seemed to be a great option. So far, I’m quite happy with the antenna and would easily recommend it.