Tuesday, October 4, 2016

National Parks on the Air (NPOTA) TR09 & TR11 Activation

Over the Labor Day weekend, I took a drive just north of Booneville, MO to activate the Santa Fe Trail in Missouri.  This trail runs from the north side of Booneville across the Missouri river all the way to Arizona.  It had been activated around 80 times before I activated, so I knew there wasn't going to be a lot of people wanting this unit.

Once I arrived on site, I noticed there was another marker there, just beside the Santa Fe Trail marker.  It was the Lewis and Clark trail marker.  I didn't realize, and didn't look on the map that Lewis and Clark also navigated their way through the area and used it for a staging area.  This was a twofer!  Both TR09 and TR11.

Santa Fe in the foreground, Lewis & Clark in the background

Here is a photosphere of the Lewis & Clark & Santa Fe trail head.

I choose my operating position under a large tree just off from the main parking lot.  The Katy Trail in Missouri runs along the Lewis & Clark trail, and is designated as a state park.  It use to be an old railroad, but is now converted into a bike and walking trail that runs the whole east/west length of the state.  This area seemed like this is a popular place to start or end on the Katy trail, as I was only there for about 3 hours, there must of been 30 or 40 bikers who came through the trail area.

I setup my portable dipole on my Packtenna mast and just supported it in the air with a branch as I didn't want to take the time to guy it.  I used bungie cords to wrap the dipole around the support mast so it wouldn't slide down and that seems to work well.

Yes, this is upside down, but it's rightside up!

I pulled the car into the shade, as it was still a little hot in the sun.  I brought my generator so I could run my 100W amp along with my KX3.  I'm glad I brought it, as I was calling CQ for around 3 hours to get my 10 contacts.  My A123 battery would of been dead in 30 to 45 mins trying to power my amp.  I've gotten a lot of use out of my generator, so I'm glad I've purchased it.  It's small, compact, quiet and provides enough power for all my gear for 8+ hours on a single tank.

Here was my operating position, the backseat of my car with the seat down.

I called CQ for at least 2 hours and gained around 7 contacts, three short for the 10 needed.  I then did some search and pounce around the band and found two other National Parks and then I worked some stations for the TN QSO party.  I ended up with 13 contacts for the activation.

Once I got back home, I emailed Sean from the ARRL regarding the twofer and was informed the deadline for submitting two NPOTA sites for one upload was back in March.  To solve this, I just uploaded two files as each contact was off by 1 min for the timestamp.  I read this was a no-no but I did it anyway to get credit for both NPOTA sites, as I didn't agree with the cut off date for submitting two-fers.

It was a great day, good weather, it wasn't too windy and as the sun went down, the temp dropped to the point where it felt cool.  I'm glad I drove across the state to activate those trails and put them into my log for NPOTA.  At this point, I might have more activatioins than I have chaser points!

I shot some video, but unsure if I'm going to put it together on YouTube.  Stay tuned.

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