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It had been some time since our last joint activation and Ralph was hoping to get out to a park at Buntzen Lake unfortunately the parking lot reservations were all taken for Thursday. So, I found an interesting alternative in north Abbottsford. Neither of us had been to this park before and so it would be a new adventure for us. The day was expected to be fairly hot so finding shade to operate our radios in would be essential. Fortunately, the satellite images showed that Glen Valley Park has some open grassy areas surrounded by large trees – ideal for our needs.
Having selected our destination, I waited for Ralph to come by my place and then we set off for the park, the navcom indicated a 37-minute drive. We followed its route and made good time to the park. The drive took us through some interesting areas neither of had been at before which that added a bit of fun to the drive. Upon reaching the park I drove in and selected a parking stall, most were empty. We then then went for a short walk around the grassy areas and picked operating locations for the two of us at opposite ends of the clear area.
I selected a nicely shaded picnic table that was in the midst of a grass area. Setting up the antenna went quickly though the grass was very hard packed. I then listened across the band and heard a very loud station from Saint Petersburg in Russia. I tried calling it but they couldn’t hear me. I moved on and worked another park activator then I settled into a frequency and started calling, finding an open frequency however, took longer than expected. I could hear many stations across the band but they couldn’t hear me. From the start of my calling, I had no responses for over 20 minutes, so I decided to move up the band to a higher frequency. There I worked 2 stations fairly quickly but then it dried up again.
I scanned the band again and managed to work another park activator and then settled into a new frequency and started calling again. Another 20 minutes passed with nothing. By now Ralph had made 13 contacts and had packed up. Soon he wandered over to my location. Soon after he arrived, I got 4 in quick succession including a station in Spain. I still needed 1 more and so I called Carolyn at home to get on the VHF unit and call me. While I was waiting for her to get home and call, I managed to work two more stations. Then with her in the log as a 2m contact I ended with 12 contacts for the day. I was out there for an hour 45. One of the other park activators told me they had a very tough go as well. Having made only 3 ssb contacts over three hours though they had made enough digital contacts. So, I guess I wasn’t doing too bad.
Well with 12 in the log and Ralph done, I called an end. Ralph helped pack up the gear and we were soon on our way home. Traffic was a bit heavier on the return route but we still made good time. It seemed like a tough go but it looks like all the activators were having a harder time unless they had high power and some better antennas.