Well it was only an experiment… I managed to get to a park today to try a POTA activation. First off, parking. I was warned that the car park I was aiming at was a no-go so stayed in another, smaller car park, still in the park though. Surrounded by trees I was not expecting much of my 2.5W but I did managed to have 5 QSOs accepted by the POTA.app. Not sure how many will actually count yet. Although a minimum of 10 QSOs are needed for an activation it was only an experiment due to our current location being only 20 miles from the park in question an having some spare time today.
Lessons learned include:
- being careful where to park even apparently in the middle of nowhere. At one stage I moved the car to make it easier for a motorhome that was trying to turn round and then the band was messed up with some regular pulsing. The only likely culprit was a telephone line but I had ended up right under it. That killed off any further QSOs.
- making a platform so the rig isn’t leaning over when placed on the passenger seat.
- not getting confused by wsjtx’s method of POTA CQs. This caught me out the first couple of times.
- coupled to the above making sure there is enough room with the laptop on your lap to move the mouse pad quickly while preventing a door-elbow interface event!
I shall return, wiser! There is one other downside of our trip though. I had also planned a bit of /A from the hotel room but no matter what I try the bands are all completely dead. I reckon there is too much steel and the glass is metallised.
On the positive side of things the LiFePO4 battery I bought works really well and managed the full hour plus as well as experiments in the hotel room with very little drop. It should manage a good few hours.
Update: it seems all 5 QSOs were accepted and one was a park-to-park which also counts as one hunter QSO. I must add the POTA.app site is neat and well thought out. Logging was easy, just clip the relevant QSOs out of the wsjt-x ADIF file to a new file and submit that file. Note that I do it that way because I have simply always done file work at that level my whole working life so it is second nature – others may find easier to create a new wsjt-x log file each time and submit that. Or any other method. YMMV.