I got up early, texted a friend who was planning on doing POTA (Parks on the Air) and – after a quick Bojangles breakfast (I am NOT a barbarian!) – joined her at K-2883 – Andrew Jackson State Park, just outside of my city.
It was a beautiful morning – not cold, but very comfortable – and she had parked in the shade. We got there just as the park was opening up, and we ‘activated’ the park.
What activation is:
– You set up your HF radio (meant for long-distance communication) with a portable antenna. Vicki had a magnetic-mounted antenna, and it was working wonderfully.
– You sign onto the POTA site, and ‘claim’ your location with your call sign. We used our club call sign – N4YTZ – found a vacant frequency, and started calling CQ. CQ lets people know you are open for contacts.
– We quickly got some responses, from all over the USA. It’s a popular weekend activity; some activate their own site, and call Park-to-Park. Others call in from their home base. All call are welcome.
In between calls, we had time to chat and discuss techniques that would make for a better POTA experience – Vicki’s the one with more experience (well, she’s been on several POTA activations). So I learned a lot, and am eager to get a traveling antenna and do my own POTA sites.
The best part, however, was being in the fresh air, shooting the breeze with a friend, and just enjoying the early morning.
We had fun with the experience – at one point, we mentioned that we were two women in the park – boy, did that get a quick response! Even more when I mentioned my nickname, Foxy.