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The day looked sunny and warm and the radio bands were doing well, it was a good day to head out and visit a new park. There was only one left in Langley that I hadn’t visited yet. So McClughan park was our destination for the day. Ralph arrived for our 12:45 departure and we set out on the 20-minute drive to the park. Most of the nearby parks had recently been removed from the list so it was odd that this one remained. I was glad though as it wasn’t a long drive from home.
We arrived in good order and parked in one of the two parking areas. There were a number of city vehicles there and we noticed that they were doing trail work in the ravine. We went for a walk along the trail to the ravine which travelled along the north edge of the park separating the park from the school next door. AT the top of the ravine the trail forks, we followed the trail south the edge of the baseball field and the ravine. Once up to the end of the field, we walked across its south edge to where we had spotted some nice shade. Ralph thought it was a good place for him – lots of shade and an open field to spread-out in. We continued our walk back to the car and loaded the gear in the cart.
We then wandered back along the trail we walked earlier to the far side of the fields near the ravine. During this time a construction carryall was busy hauling pavement chunks from the ravine to the trucks parked at the entrance. On our walk earlier we noticed a shaded area near the fork at the top of the ravine that I thought would be good for me to use. Once there we unloaded my gear and Ralph continued on to the shaded area he had selected. My area was nestled between two paved walkways that fork just out from the bush. I was able to erect my mast in the middle on the grass. As I worked with my mast the small rope I used to hold the inner sections of the mast broke allowing the sections to slide out. Not a big issue just a bit of an annoyance when placing it. With the mast extended, I next set up the radio and turned it on.
There was a station on the 17m band that I was able to hear and I quickly worked the station that was in Pennsylvania. I then moved to 20m and heard a station in Nebraska that came back to me where I called, that was followed by a north Dakota activator and then I spotted a regular activator in California that I often talk to, he had his friend with him today and I was able to get both in the log. I then heard a local in Golden Ears Park who was very strong and I logged him. I had 6 in my log already and I hadn’t even placed my own calls yet. I found an open spot just up from the local chap and began calling. A few minutes later I had a chap from Louisiana respond followed by Texas and Georgia. Then the tenth came from a chap in Texas. I had enough in a half hour of operating.
The bands were good so I wanted to get more. About this time a big grass cutter started up on the schoolyard field just a few meters from me. It was putting out so much RF interference I couldn’t hear anything on the band. I decided to attach my noise cancelling unit an see how it helped. It reduced the local noise quite a bit and I was able to keep going. A few minutes later I received a response from a local ham I had had coffee with earlier this morning. He was doing a group of parks in Surrey today so we managed a park to park contact as well as a coffee.
After an hour of operating Ralph had finally reached enough contacts and we packed up. I had 9 park-to-park contacts which was very good out of a total of 19 contacts. I found the bands to be in good shape and despite the 10 minutes of local interference by the mower it was a great day to be on the radio. Ralph packed up his gear and made his way to me with my cart. I was just finishing my clean-up when he arrived and we were able to load things up very quickly and get back to the airconditioned car. The drive home was only a minute or two slower than on the way out. A lovely day out in the sun at a park, but now all the close ones have been visited and we will need to drive