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The Surrey Lake Park is best known for its sign on 152nd street that motorists zip past on their way somewhere else. Such was my experience for years! Never really giving it a thought as I made my way along. Well with Parks-on-the-air I now had a reason to visit and to see what there was hiding just off the pavement. We noticed the park on the list a few months back and today we finally were able to get out there and activate the park in the POTA program.
It was a lovely sunny day for being outdoors, I had a great walk with my dog in the morning at Campbell Valley Park and now after lunch Ralph joined me and we drove to see what we would find here. The entrance is gravel and a bit pot-holed; the parking area was a decent size and virtually empty when we arrived, I selected the spot closest to the pathway and we parked. As the path works its way alongside the lake it wasn’t possible to see much from the start so rather than drag the cart along, we decided to just head out on foot and scout the area to select our operating sites.
The path initially ascends a bridge over Bear Creek and then reaches the lake which was full of ducks. There was a huge number of them sunning themselves and calling as they watched us and a few others walking the path. Though not a large lake it was large enough to attract the birds. It also offered a number of scenic views that I found very pretty. The marsh grasses were still flattened by winter snows and were just starting to re-emerge so I had more view of the lake than one would later in the year.
As we walked along, we came by a few spots where the paths made their way to the lake, at one such spot there was a park bench and Ralph thought he could operate from there. We then continued along the trail to the loop section where the trail forks to create a loop around a boggy area. Taking the right-hand path, we followed it along for a couple hundred meters and spotted a series of benches alongside the walk. One looked perfect for my needs and it was far enough from Ralph that we would not bother each other. We then started back to the car to get or gear. After loading it we followed the path back to the spot for Ralph.
We dropped his gear off and I continued along the way to the bench I had spotted. It proved to be a decent spot. The path was behind me as the seat faced away from the path. I set up my mast a bit further into the grasses and then stretched out the wires to get the antenna set up. Soon I had my station operational and I dialed in the 15m band. I checked out a bit of the band and found a loud station, I moved a bit up frequency and settled in. I started calling and calling, not much action on the band. One station reported that it was pretty tough out there today. After 10 minutes I had only 4 stations logged so I knew it was time to move to 20m.
The 20m band was a bit better, I worked 9 stations in 15 minutes but then it dried up. I was reaching many states in the east and south, so I was being heard but signal quality was down and the exchanges were not easy. My friends from Alaska and California were missing so life was lonely in the grass. But I did mange 13 contacts in the half hour so it was enough. Just being in the sun and enjoying the mild breeze was very pleasant. The park deserves a return visit to take photos, but will I just want to do that any more?
Well, I chatted with Ralph with my 2m HT and we confirmed that we both had a tougher go of it but that we had enough to activate so it was time to pack up. That went fairly quickly and soon I was trudging down the path back to Ralph. A number of people walked the trail and passed by me while I was operating but as the bench was facing away no one stopped to ask about the activity. Ralph had a similar experience. Ralph was already packed by the time I reached him and we quickly loaded his stuff into the cart and continued along the path to the car. There were a few more cars parked when we got back but it was still quite empty.
The drive back along 152nd was getting busy as we were approaching rush hour. The traffic heading north seemed to be heavier than our direction though which seemed odd. I turn off the road at 40th and made for the Starbucks at Morgan Crossing. We had a pleasant chat in the sun and then I drove home where Ralph had his car. It was a nice day to be outside and we both enjoyed the park. Hopefully I can be back out tomorrow.