It’s becoming a new pastime of mine to break up long trips by getting out of the car and finding a park to activate along the way. A quick search revealed that Ripgut Prairie Natural Area wasn’t too far off the beaten path of I-49.
At the end of some two miles of gravel, you’ll find a small parking lot and a sign that details some basic rules for the park. Since I was just using this as a way to stretch my legs a bit, I didn’t venture too far from the truck. After a quick setup of the QRPGuys Tri-Band Vertical and a SWR test using the NanoVNA, I called CQ on the MTR3b.
Conditions were just fine that afternoon. It was no trouble at all logging eleven contacts on 20m. All it took was thirty minutes in the bright afternoon sun at the tail end of winter. My copying skills were not too bad that afternoon either. The only hairy part was when an op would break in before a QSO was completely over, but it all went well overall.
Across I-49 lies the community of Rich Hill, MO. In it’s own way, it is also a town of parks. While none are POTA entities, they merit a drive down into town to check them out. The main city park has a unique layout, sporting a circular road that encompasses four town blocks.
Before leaving town, I stopped by the local dairy bar to get a hamburger and some fries. They had a pretty good clientele out front that afternoon and it was clear to see why after I got my food. The burger was handmade; no preformed frozen patty here.
Finding some gravel breaks up the monotonous hum of tires on concrete and I’m glad that I stumbled into Rich Hill and K-8301.