July 29th, 2023 Pawnee Grassland POTA Activation
I’ve done a successful POTA activation! Earlier this morning I visited Pawnee National Grassland and set up some QRP to do some SSB and FT8.
It was a warm day but got out early enough that it stayed cool. Pepper and I parked along the side of the road near a shooting area and tossed my 24 AWG transformer wire EFHW up a pole in an inverted V with a paint pole. The air conditioner kept us pretty cool and parking with our back to the sun helped.
I opted to run the Xiegu X6100 with an external LiFePo battery and started off with SSB on the 20 meter band. It was hopping! It actually took me a while to find a quiet spot on the band to get started - the super low noise floor certainly helped.
About four contacts in however, the band dropped off and I wasn’t hearing anyone coming back. After ten or so minutes of hearing nothing I hopped over to FT8 and made some good contacts. At this point my battery was showing 12.4V and I was seeing some strange noise coming in and reception dropping off. Not knowing if it was a power issue or the band, I decided to pack things up. I’d been on the air for an hour and after the 45 minutes it took me to get situated, Pepper was getting quite bored.
I learned a couple things with this set up:
- The transformer wire antenna worked quite well
- I should hang some flags on the wire since it’s very hard to see
- Parking with the back to the sun worked very well
- My handwriting is not good, I have QSO I couldn’t read a few minutes later
My full kit:
- Xiegu X6100
- 9Ah LiFePo battery
- Custom EFHW Antenna
- TennTenna POTA base
- 66 feet of 24 AWG transformer wire
- 25 foot RG316 with BNC connectors
- DJ Lighting/Stage Lighting tripod stand
- 25 foot telescoping painter pole
- Handful of “Nite Ize S-Biner”s
- MSR Ground Hog ultralite tent stakes
TennTenna and 24AWG transformer wire antenna
Overview of the setup
Pepper sleeping on the way back