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Originally, I was going to hike Black Mountain on Saturday but the temperatures were climbing and I wasn’t feeling quite up to it. So rather than do nothing at all I accepted Ralph’s request to go and activate a park on Friday. Ralph had mentioned doing some more parks in the Fort Langley area so I selected this park in Fort Langley as neither of us had been there before and it gave us a bit of a drive to make it more of an adventure. Band conditions have been in poor shape but improved as the afternoon progressed so we thought going a couple hours later than normal would give us a better chance of reaching the needed 10 contacts.
Ralph arrived at my place at 2 pm and we packed the gear in my car and set out for the park. The navigation computer routed in a strange way as it had detected long delays along the normal highways. This allowed us to see some new sights and made good time to the park. Upon arriving we pulled into the large parking area behind the seniors building. There was only one other car in it! A quiet park indeed. South of the building and parking lot is a large rectangular area of cut grass. It had a paved pathway along its eastern side. Not a very pretty park but it could hold lots of tents and things for big events. At the far end were some trees that had been planted.
Ralph selected a spot near the car, I wandered the path to its end and then a bit further to where I could use one of the trees for an end of my dipole. The ground was hard and dry so it made for easy traversal as I cut across the grass for a place to set up my table. I soon had the location picked, using a tree on the south end and my pole on the north. When I went to stick my pole into the grass it was very hard. I was surprised at how hard grassy areas could be. I did get it placed and there sure was a very firm grip on the stake.
Done with the antenna set up, I got my table organized with the radio and turned on the system to scout for some park operators. I was already getting over heated in the sun, so I took out my umbrella and supported it with my wagon handle. The shade worked out nicely and I was now able to work in relative comfort. The first station I heard was from Slovenia, he was calling and making some contacts but when I tried him, he never heard me, a shame. I gave up on him and settled into a frequency and started calling. Soon I had my first contact in the log, Arizona. That was followed by California and Indiana. So, I was reaching some areas better than last time out.
Over the next hour I managed 19 contacts with the last two made by me dialing in two other park activators. It went fairly well for my efforts out there. I could see that Ralph was starting to pack up his gear and as I had more than enough contacts, I finished with the two park contacts and packed up the gear. Getting my pole out of the grass again proved a bit difficult. That grass really hung onto the stake. On review of the log, I see that I worked stations from Nova Scotia south to South Carolina and then west to California, it was a wide swath of the continent, a good activation. Upon reaching Ralph I learned his day had been far more problematic. He managed only 10 contacts on CW. He wasn’t sure he was going to make it but the final two finally came through for him after which he started to pack up. I guess the extra power I was using did make a big difference to being heard today.
Done with the park we set off for home. This time the Navcom selected the normal highway routes. I wasn’t sure why it being a Friday, I would have thought the traffic would be bad on the main routes. I almost decided against its suggested route but the left turn I was going to take ended up being backed up so I stayed on the planned route. It proved to be quite clear and we made excellent time along the route. With only two minor delays at two of the main crossings. It was a good afternoon out and we both added another unique park to our list.