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:

My full kit:

Dusty X6100

Operating FT8

TennTenna and 24AWG transformer wire antenna

Overview of the setup

Pepper sleeping on the way back