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It has been three weeks since I was last out parking and you can imagine how desperate guy can be if after a big high he’s now left with nothing for three weeks. Now before you get carried away let me explain what I mean by parking. Well, of course it involves the car but only to get to a park where one can set up their radio to make contacts with other radio operators around the world. Three weeks ago, I finally reached the thousand contact level at Campbell Valley Park. Today was the last day to participate in the quarterly ‘support your parks’ event and I hadn’t been able to get out yet, so it was the last chance I would to be able to qualify for the winter event. So, despite the fact that the park was deep in snow, fortunately it was fairly mild outside, 6C, it was still cool, I decided I’d get out there and activate Campbell Valley one more time.
I had a coffee meeting coming up at three, so I needed to get done early, and since the event ended at 4 o’clock, I couldn’t go after the meeting. I had to get out at lunchtime and see what I could do. Well, with it now being 11:30am, I packed up the gear and got into the car to drive to the park. Once at the park I noticed that there were very few cars in the lots fortunately the roadway was clear of snow as was the main parking lot. However, once I got the cart loaded and started for the picnic area I soon ran out of plowed roadway. The snow was deep enough and heavy with melt water that it made it a bit of a chore getting from the road to the covered table area but I eventually got there feeling a bit heated from the exertion! The covered area was fairly dry with only a few wet patches under the roof and generally fairly pleasant, it sure was better than being out in the snow somewhere. I walked to the far end, to the normal table I use, and moved my gear to the table and then started to survey the grassy field where I would normally go to set up the antenna. It was still about 4 to 6 inches deep in snow and covering my landmarks. I knew the general area where I placed the tripod and I walked in that direction and placed the tripod.
Well, that was the easy part with the ground having been frozen for probably over a week it was now hard. When I was started to drive in the stakes, they weren’t going in very far nor easily. It’s good thing one had a hammer to get them through the ice but even so they only went in maybe an inch and a half maybe two, but they were in solid in spite the fact they weren’t in very far - probably were more secure than they normally would be. It did not take long to get the rest of the antenna set up though the end posts were again hard to get seated. Attaching the antenna feed line to the radio got me on the air in short order.
My goal was to get at least 10 to 12 contacts as a minimum. You never know what you’re going to get. I did review the propagation before heading out and it looked very good for 10m. So once ready, I dialed in the 10 m band and scanned for a operator. I quickly found a station who was strong and I worked him. He was also just starting out for his activation and I was his first contact. The guy was doing a double park so I now had two out of the 10 in the log. I moved up band a little bit and posted myself and started calling.
Wow, it didn’t take long and soon I had an almost continuous pileup of people trying to reach me it was great working so many such a short time, I didn’t even have time to check and validate the call signs with people who were re-posting me on the site but that’s not essential. I was able to do that after I closed down. In a half hour I had 43 contacts in the log and it felt good. I reached a pause in the responses so I shutdown my station. Being well over the needed 10 contacts I decided I would pack it up at that point rather than start up on a second band.
As I was starting to pack up, a young family came by, they were enjoying the snow. After I had finished packing up, we started chatting. They were new immigrants from Mexico, they had moved into central Surrey and they were out exploring the park and likely the snow for the first time. I welcomed them to Canada. It was nice to see some people getting out there and enjoying the countryside with their children.
The drive home went smoothly as usual and now I’m here warming up and trying this dictation mode for writing the story rather than waiting for later and typing it. The text seems a lot wordier when I’m dictating it that I am when I’m typing it but I’ll go back and edit it later. So that’s my story for parking today. Sorry if that’s a bit of a letdown to those that we’re hoping for some other kind of story, but there we are until next time.