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I suppose to the workers in the buildings alongside the park, the green space and picnic tables might be a nice place to get away from the factory, but it wasn’t a pleasant spot to visit. I noticed a number of people walking dogs and one chap enjoying the sun, so I guess it works as a park for some. The main attraction is the boat launch which provides access to the Fraser River. For me it was a park on my list and I wanted to get it activated.
I was looking for a new park to visit and was choosing between two parks, Maquabeak was the winner even though I knew it would be a challenge. The band was in good shape so that would reduce the challenges of the activation, this meant that it might be a good day to do a noisy location. Maqubeak is sited alongside the Fraser River and underneath the Port Mann Bridge. The road traffic on the highway was loud and continuous It made it hard to hear any audio from my radio even when I had my headphones on.
When I arrived at the park, I noticed that the parking lot was conveniently placed along the length of the narrow park, there were a number of benches facing the river with the paved path in front of them. Though they faced the river the underbrush had grown up and the view of the river was almost obliterated. There were a couple of picnic tables and I selected one for my activation. I parked near it and then went for a stroll along the park. It didn’t take long as it isn’t a big park. It did continue right under the bridge but that was the boat launch area and I wasn’t interested in that. Returning to the car I got my gear and carried it to the table. I soon had the mast in the air and was ready to try the bands.
An older chap was sitting in the nearby bench and we started up a conversation. He was interesting to talk with and we ended up talking quite a bit before and after my session. Once the radio was ready, I dialed in the 20m band but the S4 noise and the background sound level made it very hard to hear the park activators out there. Though I could hear a number of them they were weak and very hard to hear. I decided to not bother and I moved to the 15m band which was quieter and I was hopeful I would be able to decipher any conversations easier.
It didn’t take long to get my first responses and they also were hard to hear even though I had my headphone volume set to maximum! My first contact was in Texas and then North Carolina and Florida. I could see I was getting out, I just couldn’t hear the responses. My friend Ralph who was at home sick respnded and I had him in the log for a change. Shortly after his call a person running a leaf blower started up behind me! Now I really couldn’t hear much at all but I kept trying. I squeezed out an Ontario station but the park was not done trying to get rid of me, I was obviously still succeeding so a second leaf blower started up. The two were operating together!
I kept going and managed an Arkansas contact followed by Texas again. Eventually the blowers had finished their task and the place was back to the initial noise level. I soon heard a very weak station and after several minutes of trying, I managed to complete hearing their entire call sign. The operator was calling from Queensland Australia! So despite the challenges of the site, I managed an exotic contact. It was very hard to hear him but worth the effort. I now had 11 contacts and I thought I would go for one more and then shutdown as the spot was not worth the effort to keep going. I heard a very loud solid audio station from Montana which was a nice finish for the day. I had twelve which was more than what I needed and so I shutdown after only around 25 minutes of operating. A short and difficult session but it got the park done and I will likely appreciate the quieter parks more. I guess for the locals who come here the noise isn’t too bad for them, after all, some do choose to live next to highways. Certainly not me.