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The reserve was another ‘park’ on our list that neither Ralph nor I had been to before. It being a lovely sunny day, we felt it was the ideal time to visit this park which was open to all winds off the Ocean. The map showed parking alongside the road to within 750m of the park and so we thought it would be a nice easy activation. The bands were not in great shape but I have found that it is not always a good indicator of the continent-wide coverage we need. Come 12:30 Ralph arrived at my place and we set out for the dyke along the edge of the park.
We made good time along the highways as we were between rush hours and soon, we were driving into the final section of road where we were to park. However, there were now signs everywhere saying no parking, get lost, no U-turns in this driveway and all sorts of get the F out of here! But there was a nice newly made parking area about a kilometer from the end of the road. It was labeled as the parking spot for those walking to Brunswick Point which was where we were going. Well, not nice as that added about a 2km walk to our adventure. At least it was flat ground.
I parked the car in the almost empty lot and we loaded the cart. We then walked along the road for a way until we could follow a path to the gravel walkway along the top of the dyke. It wasn’t a hard walk but was not planned for and so we were a bit irritated by it. We dragged the cart along and soon passed the road end and then we reached the start of the reserve. Ralph spotted a tree a bit further along the walk where he decided to set up. We arrived by the tree and he unloaded his gear from the cart. I continued along and stopped at Brunswick Point.
There were a couple of benches there which seemed ideal for my set up. I picked the one where my back would be to the sun and placed my collapsible table in front of it. I then looked over the area to choose the best location for my antenna. Looking up, I could see the Roberts Bank Port facility across the water. It looked so close and huge from this point. The area around Brunswick point was quite wide open and flat. The dyke was firm and solid and the ground beside it wet and marshy. I decided to stretch the antenna from the marshy area up to the bench and then over the walkway. Foot traffic was very light so I didn’t think it would cause any inconvenience to others. I then set up the rest of the station and dialed in the 20m band.
Though the reports said the band was closed, I could hear stations all up the band. I heard another park activator in Wisconsin and gave him a call. He quickly picked me up and I had my first contact. This location had good cell coverage and I was able to spot myself. I soon had a continual stream of hunters responding to my hails and by 12 minutes I had 9 contacts, one short of the required number for an activation. Unfortunately, by this time I was hearing interference on my frequency from a station a few kilohertz down band from me. It should have bee far enough down frequency to not bother me, but they were so strong it was overloading my radio. After calling a bit more with that noise, I decided to move up band a short way.
Once relocated I re-spotted myself at the new frequency and soon I had then 10th contact which was followed by nine more over the next 20 minutes. Things had slowed down by this point but I kept trying. Ralph called on the handheld and we decided to go for a few more minutes and then pack up since we both had sufficient. I called a bit longer and then went hunting for another park I could hear. I found another park in Wisconsin and called him. After the second attempt he picked me up as I was weak into his station. We completed the call and I closed down the station having achieved 20 contacts over a 45-minute activation. It was a much better day on the air waves than last time out. Once the cart was loaded, I began the journey back to Ralph and then the car. On the return we decided to go down to the road at the first opportunity and avoid dragging the car over the gravel, the paved road made life a bit easier. Back at the car we decided to head for Starbucks in Ladner to get some cool liquid to drink and then set out for home. We arrived a bit after 4pm having had some traffic congestion slowing us down on the highway. It was a lovely day out in the sun enjoying the fresh breeze of salt air.