Operate Outside POTA

Mushroom Rocks State Park, K-2346

What Kansas doesn’t have in forests or mountains, it makes up for in geographical oddities. Mushroom Rocks State Park is only five acres in area and is littered with a collection of sandstone formations that look like eggs on top of pedestals.

For a day in February, it was warm so there were lots of people out and about. My son and I decided to take the trip as well. He’s still really young, only a year and a half old, but I figured that we’d run around together, and he’d get tired, eat a snack, then fall asleep while I activated the park.

It was a good plan and it kinda worked. After running around for an hour or so, he got tired, ate, then fell asleep.

The real star of this show was the QRPGuys Tri-Band Vertical. It was quick to setup, especially since there was no wind, an unusual occurrence in Kansas. All I had to do drive three stakes into the ground, cinch my mast down, then send the wire up the sections. After attaching the ground plane, hooking up the coax, and verifying the antenna was set for 20m, I got to work finding a clear frequency.

It wasn’t too hard to find a clear spot and I called CQ. The Reverse Beacon Network picked me up on the first try and after the second CQ, I had a small pileup. 20 meters was in great shape and most of the stations I was working were booming in. At times, there were too many stations to make out any one of them in particular, so I started getting the ones calling slowly and just off frequency so I could hear them better. In the future, I need to explore if I can work split, not by much, maybe only 50 or 100 kHz, just enough to work the edges of my pile.

Remember how I said the plan kinda worked? Well, the boy only slept for 25 minutes, so he was awake by the seventh contact and becoming cranky by the ninth. I only had one contact to go so I went ahead and made it then sent QRT. I feel bad leaving a big pileup but it would have been more unfair to my son to leave him there crying as I played radio.

The antenna packed up equally quickly and we were soon back in the car and on our way home. It was a nice day to take a walk around outside with my boy and make a contact or two.

Stations Worked

  • N2MA
  • N5WC
  • W0KKR
  • KJ7DT
  • K2UPD
  • W4KLY
  • KC5F
  • N9EAJ
  • N6KZ
  • W8AJF

2 replies on “Mushroom Rocks State Park, K-2346”

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