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The Bands are Improving!

I took advantage of the unusually warm November weather yesterday (9th Nov 2020) and drove up to Black Creek Provincial Park with my HF field pack. The park is located right on the Huron shore near Stokes Bay. I set up in the parking lot near the beautiful sandy beach and "activated" the park for the Parks On The Air (POTA) program.

I usually do POTA activations while camping and connected to the campground 110V. That gives me enough juice to transmit at 100W. Yesterday was different. No shore power, just my 15Ah Sealed Lead Acid Battery (SLAB) for power. SLABs are cheap (just like me) but their voltage drops after about half their rated capacity has been used. I figured I had about 7 amp-hours to work with so I dropped my transmit power to 30 watts CW.

At camp I usually throw a nice long wire high up into the trees but yesterday's operating session was short so my hitch-mounted vertical antenna was deployed. The antenna is a MFJ-1979 telescoping whip for 20m. But since I was operating on 40m I used a homebrew loading coil at the base of the antenna. Two counterpoise wires were added, each 26.5ft long laying directly on the ground.

The planned activation was posted on the POTA website earlier in the day. As soon as I started calling CQ the POTA website matched up Reverse Beacon Network (RBN) reports with my activation plan details and within a couple of minutes I had a pileup! RBN gave me 46 spots, many of which showed very strong signal/noise ratios so I quickly obtained the required 10 QSOs for the activation.

The bands have been improving lately. The solar flux index has been in the 90s and sunspots are back. Hopefully we are on our way back to a strong new solar peak!

John, VA3KOT
Volunteer GBARC Net Manager
SKCC #11989T NAQCC #7155 FISTS #19777
May the Morse be with you.

Link to report from Space Weather Prediction Center - shows sunspot# & solar flux starting to trend upwards:

Dave, VE3WI

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