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My next park would be my 100th park in the parks-on-the air program. It is a special achievement level and I wanted to go to a ‘better’ park to mark the occasion. I looked over the list of parks and found a few that would be a good choice for the day. I settled on Deer Lake as it was relatively close and had good access and facilities for me to use. The down side was that the main parking area was still fairly close to residential Wi-Fi areas. Checking the map, the drive would take 40 minutes so I planned my departure for 12:30.
Before leaving I checked the band conditions and they looked quite decent, I was hopeful for a good activation. I left a bit before 12:30 and made good time along the roads and highways, I was soon pulling into the Deer Lake parking lot. It is a fairly big one and had a lot of cars parked in it though it was likely only half full. The place was busy with groups standing on the shore staring at the ducks, others were getting their paddle boards launched. There were a number of groups of school kids on walks. Of course, there were many dog walkers taking the trail. The park boasts a lot of walking trails, they make their way completely around the lake for a round trip of 3.5km. there are many boardwalks over the softer ground.
Once I arrived, I went for a walk along the eastern end of the lake on either side of the parking lot. I saw a number of suitable grassy areas that I could set up in but I settled on a picnic table near the boat rental area. This table was in the shade and next to a nice grassy area. The only negative of the spot was that it was fairly close to the residential power lines running along the road next to the park. I decided I could put up with the noise in favour of a nice table in the shade. It was almost a mistake.
Once scouting and taking photos was done, I returned to the car and loaded up my gear into the cart and made for the table. I soon had things set up and I turned on the radio. The 20m band had a S7 noise level. It would be a challenge hearing stations with that level. I decided to try 15m. The noise here was much reduced, only S5. So, I decided I would start on 15 and see how it went. There was one other station on 15m but I couldn’t hear them, I moved up band a bit from them and started calling.
It took only a couple of minutes to get my first contact, a chap in Arkansas, I next had Kansas, Ontario and even Florida. 15m was working well for me. In less than 20 minutes I had my tenth contact logged. The tenth chap was in Florida and that marked me successfully activating this park which earned me the 100 parks certificate! Things just stopped after that contact. I did want a few more in the log before quitting but no one else seemed to be out there.
I changed bands scanning for other activators I could hear. I eventually found one on 20m, a chap in California. I then went back to my frequency on 15m and started calling again. I soon had a few more contacts. I now had 15 in my log, so I decided to call it enough. I did a final pass through the 20m band where the bulk of activators were located and managed to work a chap in Wisconsin. I finished off with 16 contacts in around 50 minutes of activating. Not too bad a number for the time. The day was a success. I packed up and set off for home. Having the HOV decal made the drive go quickly and soon I was in Cloverdale picking up a cool drink. A lovely outing and a great location for my 100th park.