The day after

Well its Sunday am and I’ve finally thawed out…. Strange thing this Canadian Weather…..

I got on the bus at 130pm Eastern and the weather was nice and sunny….. Got off the bus close to the Murney Tower at 230 pm eastern and the weather was nice and sunny…..

Walked from the bus stop to the Murney Tower and the weather was nice and sunny….Started to set up and the weather was starting to cloud over…. Called CQ POTA and the sun gave up and hid beside the clouds and the wind from Lake Ontario picked up….

The working conditions was my Xiegu X5101 with a Sota Beams Bandspringer antenna. My Shakesphere 20 foot Wonder Pole was being supported by the Heavy Duty Tripod I mentioned a few posts back….

As you probally noticed the graphics above have for the most part been recycled from my library. I did have my IPhone with me but the pics for the most part did not turn out…..

I started out on 40m and had managed to contact about 5(or so) parks when Martin VA3SIE arrived and set up his KX3 along with his ALEXLOOP antenna. He started calling on 20m CW and I kept on with 40SSB.

Martin posted an excellent Video (link below) on his part of the activation so check it out….

After a while I switched over to 20ssb and managed a contact before jumping back to 40m ssb

As the sun turned into sunset it really got cold and the wind really picked up. We packed up and moved closer to the Murney Tower to escape the wind but it still was goshdarn cold…. Martin continued to operate and I decided to leave the gear packed up….

I managed to give out Murney Tower VE4877 and the Kingston Fortifications VE4872 to 14 hunters making it a successful Two Park activation day.

Just before 6pm eastern I got my bus ride home and called it a day…. Martin decided to stay (those youngsters just don’t feel the cold) and he was making SSB contacts on 40m and 20m….. I was actually impressed seeing how easy he was pulling in the stations with the KX3 and the loop…

This will most likely be my last activation for a while. The sheer pleasure of operating portable was negated by the reality of freezing (ok the coldest I have been in quite a while) and at a certain time it just is no longer fun…. I’ll keep on hunting till things change a bit….. and if we get a warm afternoon who knows…

A Bit of POTA News….

On Friday evening the Pota Gawds determined that I had been confirmed and had make contacts with 2000 individual parks. BIG THANKYOU to the activators that made this possible. This was one of my goals and it happened earlier than I had expected….

More News

As of the time of this post my attempts to complete the “Park A Day Challenge” continue and since Jan 1 2022 I have made at least 1 confirmed contact a day with a POTA Park. As of the end of October there were 24 of us still in the Challenge…

48 Days to go….Will I make it???

Thats it for now…. I’ll post more when I have something to talk about


(this)Saturday in the Park

Starting around 3pm Eastern (2000 UTC if I did the math right) a few of us hearty souls will be trying to activate the following POTA parks:

VE 4877 Murney Tower

VE4872 Kingston Fortifications

The operators will be Martin VA3SIE (KX1 or KX3) and Bob VA3QV(Xiegu X5105). It is hoped that Bill VE3FI (KX3)will be with us as well if his earlier activation allows him to make it here. The activation was also talked about on our local QRP/POTA groups (VHF and HF) weekly net so I’m not really sure how many operators will show up.

We will be spotting ourselves on POTA Spots and hope to get you in the log.

This is also fitting with the Polar Bear Moonlight Madness (PBMME) event. The event takes place on the Saturday closest to a Full Moon and is a fairly popular event for the QRP Types

This will be the first time that my XIEGU X5105 will be playing outside with other radios in close proximity. Lets hope the little rig does not get overloaded

Hope to get you in the Log


Changes in the #hamradio shack

Its not really spring cleaning or adding to the collection but more aiming my Amateur Radio gear towards a goal….

That goal is to prepare for the eventual move that we are planning in about a years time. We are not sure where we will end up but…. We need a place that is “Senior Friendly” which loosely translates to no stairs… The Condo Garden home we are renting is the right size (in sq feet) but that is shared between 4 floors and the stairs are killing us… Also having to be a bit “stealthy and creative” in my antenna systems here is making me believe a move would mostly be a good thing… With any luck we will find a small bungalow that has a yard that’s antenna friendly at a price that’s pension friendly. Failing that then I guess it will be Seniors Apartment (top floor please) with balcony antennas.

VHF/UHF on the left with the loop in the center

I was thinking that Mag Loop for the HF bands and the existing Arrow GP would be acceptable if I had some altitude…

So getting back to the big change… Where the Yaesu FT950 and the FT7250d used to sit on my desk has been now given over to my new Yaesu FT991A.

My Yaesu FT991a

It has a much smaller footprint and the radio can operate on 70CM, 2M ,6m and the full HF bands of 10m to 160m including 60m. Its modes are FM,C4FM,SSB and CW with provisions for the various Digital Modes

So far its working fine with the SGC237 autotuner I have mounted outside on my fence. I do have an Arrow dual band (70cm/2m) groundplane outside as well but I would prefer at least a couple of horizontal loops for 2m and 6m SSB but they will have to wait for now.

Its really a radio that you should read the manual for so for now its working fine for me and once I actually RTFM it will be even better. So far my received signal reports are almost identical to those I received when using the FT950 so I am more than pleased.

I am still active on HF and C4FM (PiStar Hotspot) so its all good…

A much better review of the FT991a will be posted once I RTFM and figure out what I am doing


ps…. and IF I have the urge to activate a POTA Park or just work the world from my neighborhood park I do have my XIEGU X5105 along with my choices of the EFHW antenna or the SOTA Beams 6-60m antenna

POTA-What’s easier Hunting vs Activating?

Now remember I did not ask “what’s more important”. I am asking what’s easier… Now I must admit I have only hunted POTA (so far) but over the last 20 years I have operated portable a good deal of the time. Activating Parks is not new. The level of organization that the current POTA team has is new and very well done.

We were operating from Parks because we could not get a decent antenna up at home, we operated from parks because the noise was usually less from the park and we also operated from parks because once you got set up it seemed to attract other amateurs which also turned into a social event.

And more importantly we did it because we could….

So here are my thoughts (my opinions) and feel free to agree or disagree just be nice about it…


Has to find a place to operate (has to do their homework to find a site that is clear for antennas, no or low noise floor, and most importantly close to a bathroom, but sheltered from the elements would be good as well….

VA3QV/vy2 2017 RAC Canada Day Contest

Has to calculate how much battery power they need and bring twice what they think… Has to bring at least 2 hf antennas, and all the rope needed to get the antennas in the air, along with coax runs….

The SOTA Activation was catered

Has to take into account the band conditions as they don’t want to drive to a distant park to find the band is crap… But they can pick and choose who to contact as they control the pile up


Already set up… Stronger equipment… Higher Power…Better antenna…. normally higher noise floor… has to hear the usually QRP Signals coming from the activators through the loud pileups…. More distractions from family and noises coming into the shack…. Does not get much of a choice as they can only contact who they can hear and who can hear them.

So in my humble opinion:

Both are equally important in the process. Take away the hunters and you have a bunch of activators calling “CQ POTA” with no one answering. Take away the activators and you have a bunch of hunters listening to dead air….

But there are some days hunting is easier or at least warmer

Personally I think that its would be easier to Activate as everyone is looking for you and then control the pile up than be the one trying to break into the pile up.

And that my friends is the view from the cheap seats…


I was POTA before POTA was cool

Yes seriously,

The above picture was taken in Feb 2006 when I operated for the FYBO event as CF3RCS (Canadians Freezing 3 Real Cold Spot. The Canadian Regulating Authority had allowed VA stations to use the special Prefix CF and my call at the time was VA3RCS( I still hold it) I became CF3RCS which worked out quite well in a contest that for operating in the cold…

Over the years with VA3PCJ Jose and other operators we did play radio in the great outdoors quite a few times and weather did not matter.

VA3PCJ KX3 and Alexloop antenna at Brewer Park in Ottawa
Sometimes the weather not so good
Just another day in the park

Some others joined us as well

The above pic was taken at the end of the RAC Canada Winter Contest when we operated outdoors in late December for 24 hours

And we always had fun

There were a couple of SOTA events as well but its hard to find anyplace with altitude near Ottawa.

Now we have POTA and there so much activity that you can’t not have fun…. all bands …. mostly all modes and with the bulk of the operations happening in North America its not hard to stay pumped about making contacts…

So just remember when you make all your contacts…. There’s a large group of old hams out there that was doing it before we knew POTA… but we did know QRP, we did know Portable operating and we did (and still) know fun.

Remember that Amateur Radio can be an outdoor sport…