Click on image to view gallery
It had been a couple of weeks without doing any park visits and I was getting a bit antsy. The weather had been wet and then very cold but today it was expected to be around 11C with clear blue skies. So, when Ralph called to see if I wanted to go visit a park, I had the nudge I needed to get out. I had operated at the park next to Settlers Park in the summer and planned a return, well today seemed to be a good one for that location. We left my house at 12:30 as we often do for the closer parks and then we made straight for Mary Hill in PoCo where the park is located. I have done the drive to the area a number of times now and know the route well. We made good time and soon I was driving alongside the park searching out a bit of roadway where I could park. There were many choices.
Once parked we loaded my cart with our gear and we started across the well-maintained grassy area of the upper park area. We were next to the washroom facility where there are a number of round stone picnic tables. I claimed the first one. Ralph then continued on to the further side of the park where he would set up his station. I quickly decided how I would put up my antenna – using a large tree to the south-west end, the mast near me and my portable electric fence post at the far end. It was up in five minutes and then I started on the radio gear.
Once connected I turned on the radio, the 15m band was fairly quiet for noise but the 20m was very noisy. In light of the noise, I decided to try using my new noise cancellation unit. It seemed to quiet the noise by 1 to 2 S-Units which was nice but it needed some adjustments on transmit which required a small screwdriver, which I didn’t have and so I wasn’t able to make any improvements there. This meant I didn’t use it much but since 15m was where I planned to operate and the noise was low it didn’t matter.
Once ready to operate, I did a cursorily scan of the band but I decided to just start calling on my own frequency. I soon had my first station respond, they were in Arizona, followed by Oklahoma, New York and California. It was going well and fast. After 30 minutes I had 18 contacts logged from Halifax on the east coast to North Pole Alaska! I noticed Ralph seemed to be taking down his set up so I stopped calling and walked around to gather some photos. After a few minutes of picture taking, I saw that he was back on his radio. I decided to start up again but this time on the 10m band.
On 10m I soon had my first contact from a Kentucky station followed by Missouri, Alabama, Virginia … 10m was also doing very well this afternoon. By the time Ralph had finished I had logged 30 contacts between the two bands. It was a lovely time out in the sun but it was quite windy and by the time I had finished the sun had moved behind some trees which left me a bit chilled. Even though the sun is low in the sky it still warms you nicely when exposed. A few minutes to pack up and we were ready for the drive home. We finished early and were ahead of the traffic so the drive went quickly.
The park was well suited for radio activity but also for many other pursuits, it has a nice kid’s area and skate board ramp, walking paths around a small pond, a large covered picnic area available for booking by groups and rolling grassy areas to romp over. It even sports a lovely view of Mount Baker, where the sunrise on the winter solstice would appear right behind the mountain from this park – truly a spectacular view to enjoy.