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The Parks on the Air program has special awards for those who activate a park in the first week of January. This year it would be a pleasant day out in the fresh air. I have been visiting the same park repeatedly this fall in order to earn various POTA awards the first being a repeat offender which one gets at 20 visits. There is a second level at 40. Along with this goal is one for making 1000 contacts from a single park. At the end of December, I was at about 860 so not much further to go and as Campbell Valley has a nice covered picnic area with only light usage, choosing to go there was not hard.
On the morning of January 1, while many were fighting for recovery from their night adventures, I packed up my lunch and made for the park. The radio bands are best in the early afternoon so getting there for noon is ideal. Once at the park I gathered a few photos and then started operating. I worked on the 15m and 10m bands for this visit and by the time I was feeling a bit chilled I had made over 80 contacts. A new high record for me at a park. This left me with just 52 more needed to reach the Kilo award. I was motivated to get back there soon and finish off the rest. The weather for the rest of the week looked poor except for Thursday so I was hoping to head out then to complete the award.
Thursday morning arrived with heavy rain! Very disappointing. Ralph called to see if I was going out! I said no, he wasn’t so motivated either, instead we went for a coffee. Fortunately, by noon the weather had cleared and there were actually large blue patches in the sky. After a quick meal, I packed up my gear and made a dash for the park. All was as expected and I soon had the antenna in the air and my radio ready to go. I checked the band conditions and decided that 10m should work, it wasn’t as strong as on Monday but still decent. I started calling and soon had a good stream of contacts coming in. Things dried up after around 40 minutes and 30 contacts. I had expected 10m to close down early which is why I started there. I moved to the 15m band and started calling again.
The nice thing with switching bands is that you can accept a call from a station you worked on the earlier band and both would count. I did get a number of repeats but most were from new stations and spread out over a different region. After calling for 35 minutes things did slow down again but I had 68 in the log, well past the needed 52. I had reached the kilo level and felt good about that. Now I can relax a bit more when out at the park as I just need ten contacts on an activation for it to count towards the repeat offender progression. Of course, one could try for a kilo at another park! Perhaps Kwomais.
I was done with the radio part of my visit but the day was warm with broken clouds and so I felt like taking a walk and gather a few photos. The mild conditions were confusing the plants and I spotted fresh buds starting on the wild shrubs in the area! That would not be good should we get some cold weather later this winter. I wandered over to the main picnic area and noticed the trail marker pointing the way to the Ravine Trail. I have seen that one on the map but had never been on it. Truth be told, though I have been to the park 100’s of times, I haven’t seen all that much of it! I felt today was a good day to walk the Ravine Loop. It was indeed a pleasant walk and had a gentle drop and climb out of a side ravine that flows to the Little Campbell River. It would be a nice dog walk and was in fact being used by many today. Most were dragging their owners along to the next sight. The loop goes past the historic farmhouse where I was able to read a bit of the area’s history.
The walk was a pleasant one but as I got back to the car lot, the sun was getting low so I decided it was time to head home as I wanted to complete a few outside tasks before sun set.
The two visits to the park in the first week of January were very nice days to be outside. This year has been so warm. Now that I have completed this award, I can get back to visiting more new parks. Though that covered picnic area remains very tempting and there are still more awards possible.