We held our second series of National Parks On The Air Activations this past week. The weather was beautiful and we have the pleasure of activating two different parks this time.
On Saturday, Aron W1AKI and Merle W1MSI Insinga, Anita AB1QB and Fred AB1OC activated Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park (NPOTA HP26) in Vermont, USA. We used our Mobile HF station for this activation which was an SSB operation on 20m and 40m using 500w.
We took turns operating as two person teams with an operator and a logger. The IC-7000 radio which we use in our Mobile HF station is easily accessible for connection and we brought a laptop running N1MM+ which we connected to the radio. This made logging accurate and easy. We made a little over 210 QSOs in about 2 1/2 hours in Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller on Saturday.
On Sunday, we activated Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site (NPOTA NS60) for the second time. In addition to the gang from Saturday, Joe KB1RLC and Jill Gordon, Jeff Millar WA1HCO, Ira Brand KC1EMJ and Mike Ryan K1WVO joined us for the Sunday activation.
We arrived early on Sunday and began our operation by setting up and tuning a 20m Inverted-V antenna for our portable station. We were able to get the feed point of this antenna up higher (about 35 feet) this time and the antenna performed better as a result.
We setup our 20m portable station in a shady spot at the bottom of the park’s meadow. This gave us a nice view while operating.
The 20m portable station tent was our main “hang out” during our NPOTA activation on Sunday.
We also had our Mobile HF station at Saint-Gaudens and we operated it on 40m. We were QRO at 500w from the Mobile.
We used the new bandpass filters from DXEngineering on both the 40m Mobile HF and 20m Portable stations. These filters have very low passband loss and very good filtering characteristics. We had no problems with interference between our 20m and 40m stations during our activations.
The park staff rolled out the red carpet for us during both of our NPOTA activations. They displayed our signage and shared the information that we provided about the NPOTA program and our club. They really made us feel at home in the park.
There was a large crowd of visitors at the park during our activation. The combination of great weather and live music was a huge draw for folks. This gave our club and our NPOTA activation some nice public exposure.
Saint-Gaudens was a renowned culture in his time and there are many impressive pieces of sculpture on the park grounds. The park recently commissioned this impressive sculpture of Abraham Lincoln which has become one of their centerpiece works in the park.
The park has many beautiful gardens and they offer a wonderful set of surroundings for the sculptures in the park.
This is my personal favorite spot in the park – a Birch tree-lined walkway!
Our NPOTA operations kept us pretty busy all afternoon on Sunday. We operated as two person teams – an operator and a logger. This gave more of us a chance to operate and the teamwork made it easier to handle the steady stream of callers.
I got a chance to operate both the mobile and portable stations. It was great fun handling our contacts with NS60!
It seems that every Amateur Radio operation that I have the pleasure to be part of manages to hand our a nice surprise or two. This one was not an exception. I worked a local HAM, Jeff Katchen WB2NWR, in Cornish, NH which is very near the park. He came by afterward to visit and share his QSL card and a nice eyeball QSO!
Our operation was a lot of fun – a success by all measures. We made a total of 570+ QSOs between our activations on Friday and Saturday.
There was some discussion at the end of the day on Sunday about doing one more NPOTA activation this year. Our final one would be a high-power operation with both stations running QRO 500w! We will discuss this at an upcoming club meeting and we’ll certainly do a third activation if there are enough interest and support.
We took a lot of nice pictures between this last and our previous activations. You can look at them in the gallery which follows.