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The parks-on-the-air program has a number of achievements one can work towards. One of them is called the ‘Repeat Offender Award’. It is given to those who activate a park twenty times. I thought that would be a fun award to obtain and so over the Spring and Summer I visited Kwomais on a repeated basis activating it for the award. The numbers slowly climbed and today I completed the final 20th activation. There are more levels for this award but I decided to move my main park over to Campbell Valley going forward. Both parks are about the same distance but getting to Campbell Valley crosses two traffic lights, Kwomais upwards of 20! Needless to say, I don’t like traffic so the change was not hard to make. Campbell is also more rural so the noise interference is lower making fainter stations easier to hear.
So, today would be my last visit for some time, I will likely be back occasionally. I set up at my usual park bench and turned on the radio. The bands were in good condition though hearing stations on 20m was noisy and I only worked a single park. I decided to just go up to 15m and see what was there. I heard two very strong stations doing the annual Route 66 special event, I was able to work two of the stations one in Kansas, he other in San Bernadino California. I couldn’t hear any others. I then picked my own frequency and began calling it only took a minute and I had my first response. It was another park activator and from New Brunswick, the band was quiet and working well. Seven minutes later I had the needed 10th contact and my award was in the bag. As conditions were good, I kept going and managed another 10 in the next 10 minutes.
After a few more contacts things slowed down so I decided to change bands and I moved up to the 12m band. It was a slow start but eventually I heard a repeat station, being a different band, it would count as a separate contact. He reported that signal strength was weaker here on 12m but still workable. I kept calling and though it was a slower pace than on 15m I managed six contacts. I now had 29 in the log and felt one more would be a nice number to finish at, so I moved down to the 20m band where the majority of other park activators were located and hunted for one I could hear.
I soon found a chap in California, I called, he answered and I had my thirtieth contact but I was just starting the pass over the band so I kept going and by the end of the band I had four 20m park to park contacts. It was a fun time on the radio with lots of contacts and decent signal reports. A very pleasant send off from the park.
As I hadn’t made a write up for each of my earlier visits, I decided this last one was worth the effort, so I brought my camera along for this visit. Once I had the radio gear packed up I went for a stroll through the park. For a change, I decided to go only with my wide-angle lens and work at taking a less common set of images. This worked out well as the park for the most park is full of confined areas so the wide-angle lens gave me lots of new ways of seeing the area. The view point was particularly pleasant with the wide aspect today, though a few clouds could have enhanced the sky’s look. It was a nice wander through the park but it was time for a cool coffee and the nearby Starbucks was calling. I walked back to the car and set out for a drink and then home. That is one thing I will miss at Campbell – a close-by Starbucks!